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The firm has broad experience in general civil litigation. The firm's experience includes civil litigation in both the federal district courts and the Texas state courts. Attorneys in the firm are admitted to federal district courts in Texas and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The firm's financial institution litigation experience includes commercial disposition of collateral, lender liability defense, collection litigation with their attendant counterclaims, contract disputes, Deceptive Trade Practices Act and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act claims. Michael J. Smith is responsible for this practice area.
The firm regularly represents financial institutions in United States Bankruptcy Court in recovering collateral for secured lenders, litigating confirmation, exemption, preference and fraudulent transfer issues as well as preventing the discharge of clients' loans. The firm's experience includes creditor representation in Chapter 7 and 11 bankruptcies, as well as some Chapter 13 bankruptcies. Michael J. Smith is responsible for bankruptcy matters.
COLLECTION AND WORKOUT
The firm has assisted in the negotiation and settlement of a vast number of loans for its financial institution clients. The efficiency of experience has enabled the firm to pursue litigation and recover judgments in both state and federal court at reasonable cost to its clients. Over 98% of the firm's collection cases are concluded through default or summary judgment proceedings and rarely is a trial necessary. On occasions where the borrowers are not residents of the State of Texas, and the amount of the debt is sufficient to confer jurisdiction in federal court, the firm has obtained judgments against non-resident borrowers through the federal court system thereby expediting enforcement and collection of judgments in foreign jurisdictions. The firm is keenly aware of the need for low cost prosecution of collection litigation, and works closely with clients to streamline the communication of necessary information to pursue such matters efficiently. All of the firms attorneys have collection and workout experience, but Michael J. Smith maintains responsibility for collection and workout services.
The firm offers comprehensive representation of financial institution clients in real estate, commercial, and corporate lending, real estate acquisitions, and construction financing. The firm represents both major regional and national banks, together with smaller community banks and finance companies in lending and workout transactions. R. Stephen Ressling, Andrew Raish and Marvin E. Chernosky, Jr. are primarily responsible for this practice area.
The firm regularly conducts foreclosures on behalf of its clients. While the vast majority of such foreclosures are conducted in Harris County, the firm completes foreclosures in all Texas counties for no discernible difference in cost. The firm shuns the "mill foreclosure" process so that each matter receives the requisite attention to ensure a prompt and valid foreclosure. Michael J. Smith manages this practice area.