Month: March 2015

Do I Need an Architect or an Engineer?

texas architecture engineering cast of charactersDo you need to hire an architect, an engineer, or both? These two professionals hold different licenses. (What is architecture? What is engineering?) Generally speaking, an architect is the primary design professional for projects whose end products are intended for human occupancy. Engineers are often the lead design professionals for projects whose end products are not intended to be occupied by people, such as highways, bridges, water and waste-water facilities, dams, canals, and the like. When in doubt, just ask!

Our Tips & Resources posts are intended to provide general educational information. Like all other material on this blog, it is not a substitute for legal advice.

Design-Build Projects in Three Sentences

A design-build approach is one type of project delivery system. In this system, the owner of a construction project contracts directly with one entity that performs both the design and the construction work. Sometimes the design and construction work is actually performed by this one entity; sometimes the entity actually subcontracts out some or all of this work.assorted_tools

In our Law 101 posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.

Trespass – Civil Liability

texas civil trespassA car jumped a roadway, curb, and sidewalk and ran into a tree, shrubs, and a brick wall owned by the plaintiff. There were erratic tire marks back on the roadway and curb. The driver was found unconscious behind the wheel. Turns out he had a heart attack and died. So the plaintiff sued his estate.

In earlier post, we discussed criminal trespass. One may also maintain a civil claim for trespass on realty.

A plaintiff proves civil trespass if the s/he owned or had a lawful right to possess property; the defendant entered that land; the entry was physical, voluntary, and intentional; and the trespass caused some injury to the plaintiff’s right of possession.

The trial judge ruled that the plaintiff should win the case as a matter of law without any need for the jury to consider the issue of the driver’s consciousness before the incident. The driver’s estate appealed. The appellate court returned the case to the trial court for another trial. The appellate court stated, “If [the driver] was unconscious or dead prior to leaving the roadway and entering upon [plaintiff’s] property, his act of entering [plaintiff’s] property could not have been voluntary.” In such an event, the plaintiff couldn’t win a civil trespass claim.

What if the driver was rendered unconscious before the accident due to intoxication?

In our Just for Fun posts, we underscore certain construction and real estate topics just for the fun of it.

Texas Agricultural Landlord’s Lien

This is the fourth and final article covering Texas landlord’s liens. The previous three posts are here, here, and here.

texas agricultural landlord's lienWhat is an agricultural landlord’s lien? One who leases land has a lien “for rent that becomes due and for the money and the value of property that the landlord furnishes…to the tenant to grow a crop on the [land] and to gather, store, and prepare the crop for marketing.”

To what does the lien attach? With notable exceptions not discussed here, the lien generally attaches to the (a) property on the leased premises that the landlord furnishes to the tenant to grow a crop; and (b) crop grown on the land in the year that the rent accrues or the land is furnished.

Does the agricultural lien always arise or exist? No. The lien may or may not arise depending on (a) whether the landlord or tenant furnishes the labor and materials to grow the crop; and (b) how much rent is charged by the landlord in proportion to the value of the grain and cotton grown on the land.

How long does the lien exist? Generally, “the lien exists while the property to which it is attached remains on the leased premises and until one month after the day that the property is removed from the premises.”

May a delinquent, agricultural tenant remove the crop subjected to the lien? No, not without the landlord’s consent.

What if the delinquent tenant removes the crop without the landlord’s consent? If the crop is removed by the tenant in preparation for market, the landlord’s lien will continue to exist on the removed crop.

What can a landlord do if s/he has good cause to believe that the delinquent tenant is about to remove the crop or abandon the premises? The landlord can ask a Justice of the Peace to order law enforcement to seize the property.

In our Law 101 posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.