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William J. Dyer

William Dyer’s Answers

911 total


  • How to deal with a customer who put a false review on the BBB that could cost us loss of revenue and reputation.

    The customer never called or said anything to us and just went to the BBB and posted a negative review. When customer called us for service she gave us her credit card number, exp date and cid# so we can charge her for the service appointment. We ...

    William’s Answer

    In most consumer transactions, the cost of trying to get any legal remedy in your circumstances will vastly exceed the likely benefits. You could spend thousands, or tens of thousands, fighting about this in court under a "commercial disparagement" sort of libel (defamation) claim, but you'd be pouring money down the rathole.

    Unless the person who's disparaging you is judgment-worthy -- meaning they have non-homestead assets that a sheriff could readily seize and auction, or bank accounts you can garnish, or the like -- you'll never get economic satisfaction.

    And there's the problem of the "Streisand Effect" (google it): Fighting about this in court may bring you more bad publicity that you'd otherwise have avoided.

    Most companies are finding that their best remedies for this kind of situation is to fight back in the marketplace of ideas and information, not in court.

    Many online reviewing services permit businesses to make succinct, noninflammatory factual responses to complaints that have been posted online. Use those resources, and any other means available to you to get your competing version of events "out there." If necessary, for example, you could post the customer's complaint -- and your response -- on your OWN website somewhere. Fight half-truths or distortions with the whole truth.

    Even though your actual court remedies aren't likely to be cost-effective to pursue, you could perhaps get some traction by hiring a lawyer to write you a cease-and-desist letter. (You'll likely have to pay him or her on a flat-fee or hourly rate basis, very few Texas lawyers are foolish enough to take any but the most exceptional defamation case on a contingent fee basis.) But it would basically be a bluff, unless you're potentially willing to follow up by throwing many thousands of dollars in legal fees and expenses into this fight, which you probably shouldn't be. If you do go that route, be sure your counsel is aware of the new Texas Defamation Mitigation Act, codified at Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code §§ 73.051 to .062, which include new requirements that before suing, you first demand a retraction.

    http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/CP/htm/CP.73.htm

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  • Withdrew claim for fear of fraud

    So about a month ago I got into an accident with a car lost my headlight, bumper, Fender and hood damage, long story short I was able to get a friend to fix it for me. After all this i immediately got an insurance so i can be covered in case of ne...

    William’s Answer

    In terms of criminal consequences, it's very unusual and highly unlikely for an insurance company to report to law enforcement authorities every time they deny a claim. Your claim didn't even make it to the "claim denial" stage because you withdrew it. Since the insurer didn't pay anything, its suffered no civil damages, nor has anyone else, so there's no reason for anyone to sue you.

    Bully for you for being so thoughtful. But don't lose any sleep over this; it's unlikely to have any consequences at all, and in the tiny chance it does, they are probably manageable then.

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  • How can I receive a structured payment early?

    I have lost my job and have fallen on hard times. I need to the money to pay off current debit and keep vehicle from getting repossessed.

    William’s Answer

    The answer to your question depends entirely on the documents -- beginning with the annuity policy or other instrument that contractually obligates the company making the regular payments. There may also be language in the court papers, if any, which could affect the answer to your question. And of course, I'm assuming from the context of your question ("hard times") that you're 18 or above, and that you don't have any sort of guardian or conservator.

    That said: I agree with other lawyers' comments that it's foolish to take pennies now for dollars later. There is an EXTREMELY UNETHICAL AND PREDATORY INDUSTRY whose sole purpose and reason for existing is to take unfair advantage, on terrible financial terms, of people in exactly your situation. (The TV commercials often say things like, "It's my money, I want it NOW!" They seem righteous.

    They aren't. Almost always, there was a very good reason to set up structured future payments.

    If you are bound and determined to do this, there are many lawyers -- you can find them on Avvo.com -- who would be happy, in exchange for a small flat or hourly-rate fee, to review your paperwork and give you specific answers about your legal rights.

    But I suggest instead that you look to someone for financial planning advice, to be very, very sure that you don't have any better options. And if you MUST trade the family cow for a handful of beans, then get financial advice to help you get the BEST RATE and to avoid the worst of the industry predators.

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  • Do i need to be seriously worried or is this a scam?

    i met a girl on an online dating service, claiming she was 22 there, we exchanged numbers to text, after a few pictures were sent back and fourth. shortly after i get a call claiming that its her father and she's 16 and i'm going to be turned in ...

    William’s Answer

    There are two parts to the answer to your question.

    It's probably a scam -- this is popular now.

    But the reason it's such an effective scam is because the criminal laws regarding child pornography are indeed very, very robust. And there are indeed true stories of lives suddenly, spectacularly ruined by marginal or bogus child porn charges. It's becoming a tactic of spiteful choice in divorce cases for the least ethical clients and their lawyers to make these charges just for the joy of seeing the FBI seize the other spouse's computer.

    You're also pretty vague about what was *in* the pix. So the other part of the answer to your question is: What actually did you DO? On the very small chance that this ISN'T a scam, what would the FBI find if they seized your computer at dawn tomorrow? And what are the rest of the circumstances which would help a jury decide if you were knowingly involved with someone underage, or that you at least "should" have known? Every case is going to be slightly different; to evaluate your actual prospective criminal liability, a lawyer would have to know a lot more than you've said here. (Or than you should say, anywhere on the internet, even semi-anonymously through a service like Avvo.com.)

    Most of us reading your question here are probably assuming you either sent or received something that would, at least, make you blush if it were made public. If what you did was much worse than that, and it's giving you serious worries even after allowing for the probability that this is a scam, then consult with a qualified criminal defense lawyer, with whom you can share all the details under cloak of attorney client privilege. It might be worth the money for your peace of mind.

    I'm also going to bump this question to the Criminal Defense Law forum -- this is really more about that area of law than the internet per se, since you can get in this same kind of situation offline.

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  • Is there any way I can force the minority shareholder to sell his share of the company?

    I am a 90% shareholder in an C-Corporation with no buy-sell agreement. I have been running the day to day operations of the business for 2 years and make all decisions. The other 10% partner has not been involved in the business for the last 2 yea...

    William’s Answer

    Exactly what you can and can't do is impossible to answer without reviewing the operative documents, including the certificate of incorporation and bylaws.

    If those documents don't specify what must happen if there's a conflict among shareholders on an issue like this, then there are a default set of provisions built in the Texas law governing corporations.

    Even if you can't compel a buyout, there may be other ways to reach the same end result. You may, for example, be able to compel the dissolution of the corporation and sale of all its assets to a new company (which you would then own 100% of). But you're likely to face complaints, and possibly litigation, if you don't do that in exactly the right way.

    So you need to hire a qualified lawyer who's experienced in both business formation and in business dissolution and/or restructuring. You need to review all the operative documents with him or her under the cloak of attorney-client privilege. And then your lawyer can give you detailed advice as to your rights and remedies, and help you plan appropriate business and, if necessary, litigation strategies.

    You're not going to find useful advice on anything this complicated for free on the internet. Avvo.com is a good resource for identifying and locating a qualified lawyer who could help you with this. Good luck!

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  • Do I have legal recourse for problems I'm now having from an ankle surgery that was done back in 2010?

    I had surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon back in 2010 while I lived in Seattle. I now live in Austin, TX and the sutures that were left in my ankle are now presenting me problems (2015). One of the sutures actually made it's way out of m...

    William’s Answer

    The fact that you have medical problems whose source traces back to prior surgery does NOT mean that you have a malpractice case. You would have to show that there was negligence committed by the doctors or other professionals who treated you -- meaning a deviation from the standards of care normally used by physicians in your area for your kind of case. With the new post-tort-reform legislation, you need to get a firm medical opinion in hand from a qualified doctor who's willing to go on record pointing the finger at another doctor as having been negligent -- and who'll also testify that your current problems were proximately (directly) caused by that negligence.

    As for timeliness and statute of limitations concerns: Normally there is a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including malpractice, in Texas. And that clock started running when you knew (or should have known) that you had a claim. There are a few situations in which you can avoid the two-year statute of limitations if the defendant has actively prevented you from learning of the scope of your problems and their source (i.e., if the defendant effectively HID the injuries from you). Without knowing all the facts and circumstances, no lawyer can evaluate your odds of overcoming the defendants' likely statute of limitations defense, but you'd be facing an uphill fight.

    I'm not optimistic that you have a viable legal claim at this point, but the only way to know for sure would be to consult directly, under cloak of attorney-client privilege -- with an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can go over your medical records and history with you in more detail than is possible on a general Q&A forum like this one.

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  • It this a fair assumption? No point in pursuing a defendant who is not wealthy and no chance of recovering any money?

    Suppose if you have to go after a defendant for possible civil issues and though you have stronger points of winning, if the defendant does not have any money or assets, is it worth going after them? Even if you win a default or judgemen...

    William’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Lawyers use the term "judgment-worthy" to refer to the concept you're asking about. If you're seeking money damages -- in contrast to, say, an injunction forbidding someone from doing something in the future, or the division of real estate, or the winding up of a business -- then regardless of the strength of your lawsuit, you must consider whether you'll actually be able to COLLECT when and if you actually win and get an enforceable final judgment awarding you that money, As a practical matter, you only collect by being able to identify assets (bank accounts, business equipment, real estate, etc.) that are non-exempt (not part of the defendant's homestead exemption) and that can be auctioned.

    But there are some kinds of litigation where the plaintiff is seeking other sorts of relief (like an injunction), and some other kinds where there's an important legal or moral principle to be vindicated regardless of cost. Those cases are VERY RARE, but it's ultimately up to the client to decide whether spending money on legal fees and expenses is cost-justified.

    Every case is different. A good lawyer can help you identify your potential claims, distinguish among the various types of relief, and set your strategic goals -- and your litigation budget -- accordingly.

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  • Appearance at motion hearing in Texas?

    My husband and I are pro se plaintiffs in a civil suit. We have a discovery motion hearing upcoming. My husband cannot get off from work. Must we both attend the hearing or can I can attend alone?

    William’s Answer

    It's very hard to generalize about this, without knowing what court you're in and the entire context of the case. The consequences may be different, for example, if you and your husband are plaintiffs than if you're defendants.

    If you happen to be in Justice of the Peace court, the rules regarding representation are somewhat relaxed. But in general, and in all other courts in actual daily practice, the judge MUST permit any individual who's without counsel to appear to represent himself or herself. However, he may NOT permit any nonlawyer to represent another litigant. Technically, you can't be acting as your husband's lawyer or vice versa.

    If you're there representing your own interests, though, and if you politely explain to the judge that your husband very much wanted to be there, but couldn't, you'll likely get the practical benefit as if you were representing the both of you. In other words, unless it's a hearing on a motion for sanctions or a motion to compel (or something else complaining about each of you, such that the judge is going to want to hear separately from you both), the judge will probably give your husband the benefit of whatever relief or consideration he gives you.

    Most judges will give you at least one clear warning -- probably with a stern admonition that you should hire a lawyer -- before imposing any really nasty consequences. But don't push it!

    If the case is really important, though, or if there's a history of missed appearances or no-shows, it may be better to risk losing some wages -- or perhaps even losing a job! -- if the judge is unhappy about your husband's absence.

    And of course -- as every lawyer will tell you, because it's true -- you'd be far, far better off with even a young pup fresh out of law school than trying to represent yourself. Texas is CRAWLING with underemployed lawyers. You can and should negotiate hard on your own behalf in trying to hire one whom you can afford.

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