Wagstaff LLP serves a wide variety of business, professional, and individual clients and offers a broad spectrum of legal services.
The firm's practice includes emphasis in energy and utility representation, civil litigation, financial institution and regulatory representation, health law, real estate, oil and gas, insurance, bankruptcy, corporate/business, employment, family, governmental, probate and criminal law.
In the mid-1920's, a principal in the firm founded what was later to become West Texas Utilities Company (WTU), and since that time, the firm has performed general electric utility-related legal work for WTU (now AEP Texas North Company, a subsidiary of American Electric Power Company), as well as many other regulated utilities. The firm has also performed legal work in non-regulated utility business, including independent power production (exempt wholesale generation, as well as qualifying facility cogeneration projects), and in renewable energy projects (wind and solar projects).
The firm’s experience in electric utility/energy projects includes the preparation of partnership and stockholders' memoranda of understanding and agreements; energy sales agreements and the agreements ancillary thereto; EPC contracts; purchase contracts for plant components; purchase contracts for existing facilities; O&M agreements; thermal energy sales agreements; real estate purchases; title issues; leases; easements and right-of-way acquisition relating to facilities; fuel contracts; management agreements; wheeling and interconnection agreements; telecommunication agreements; facilities development agreements, delivery point agreements, interconnection and local delivery services agreements; water supply agreements; confidentiality agreements; and thermal host arrangements. The firm has an extremely active practice in the area of condemnation/eminent domain on behalf of its electric utility and gas pipeline clients. The firm has extensive experience in project financing, particularly to the extent such financing relates to plant construction, operation, and maintenance, and has reviewed and provided legal opinions regarding various agreements and other transactional documents executed as part of financial closing for various projects. The firm has represented its energy clients in claims, litigation, arbitration, mediation, and regulatory matters related to their projects.
In connection with the firm's representation of its energy clients, the firm has worked on projects and potential projects in many states and six foreign countries.
Over the past 15 years, the firm has provided legal services relating to the development, construction, financing, and operation of multiple Texas wind farm projects (wind-powered electric generating facilities), and has also assisted with construction contracts for the development and construction of a wind project in Colorado.
As Texas counsel for developers, the firm has provided representation with respect to all aspects of wind projects – land, lease and easement acquisition, land use and environmental permitting, title curative work, title policy and survey review, project entity formation, regulatory filings and compliance, turbine supply agreements, EPC contracts, supply contracts, interconnection agreements, power purchase agreements, O&M agreements, assistance in financing, and providing legal opinions. As counsel for the lenders and equity participants, the firm was responsible for title, survey and title policy review, land use and environmental permitting review, regulatory compliance review, providing assistance with Texas related matters in financing documents, and reviewing Texas law documents, including interconnection agreements and power sale agreements.
The firm has also acted as counsel for sellers and buyers of wind development assets, providing real estate and permitting due diligence and review, and has represented landowners in connection with the preparation and negotiation of wind leases and related land rights in numerous proposed wind developments.
Although commercial solar energy production is relatively new in Texas, the firm has assisted lenders with the financing of solar projects in Texas, including title, survey and title policy review, land use and environmental permitting review, regulatory compliance review, and providing assistance with Texas related matters in financing documents, and reviewing Texas law documents, including interconnection agreements.
BANKING AND FINANCE
The firm has engaged in a wide variety of transactions involving the lender-borrower relationship, including bank representation, commercial lending transactions, bank holding company organization, bank charter applications and federal regulatory representation. The firm routinely acts as counsel to lenders in transactions that involve substantial commercial and real estate loans, energy and construction loans, oil and gas loans, agricultural loans and asset based loans, and forms and regulations applicable to consumer loans. Additionally, the firm provides representation to borrowers in processing financing for various development projects.
Representation in major workouts and reorganizations, both in and out of bankruptcy, has historically been an active area of practice for the firm. The firm has broad experience as counsel for lenders, secured and unsecured creditor's committees, trustees and debtors in bankruptcy proceedings. The firm has also represented lenders in various lender liability lawsuits.
After the numerous bank failures in the 1980's, the firm represented the FDIC and RTC, as well as to groups purchasing assets from failed banks and savings and loans.
LITIGATION AND RELATED AREAS
The firm’s trial lawyers vigorously represent the firm's clients in a variety of litigation matters, including, but not limited to the following:
- Personal Injury:
Several of the firm's lawyers have active trial dockets involving personal injury claims. The firm represents plaintiffs, people seeking compensation for injuries received due to another person's negligence, products liability, medical malpractice, or other misconduct. The firm also represents several major insurance companies and corporations in defending against personal injury claims. The firm believes that its experience representing both plaintiffs and defendants gives the firm a unique perspective to evaluate its clients' positions and aggressively pursue or defend its clients' claims.
- Professional Malpractice:
The firm’s trial lawyers have experience in both the prosecution and defense of legal and medical malpractice claims. The firm has defended health care providers against claims asserted by their patients and has represented its clients against hospitals, nursing homes and doctors in cases claiming that their misconduct caused harm to their patients. The firm has also represented attorneys in malpractice litigation, as well as clients with claims against attorneys.
- Commercial Claims:
The firm has represented several major corporations, including utilities and construction companies, in commercial litigation involving contract disputes, collection matters, libel and slander suits, employment claims and other commercial disputes and claims.
- Alternate Dispute Resolution:
While the firm has a track record of success in the courtroom, it also provides expertise in the area of alternate dispute resolution. The firm's trial lawyers have extensive experience in both mediations and arbitrations, and make every reasonable attempt to settle matters without resorting to litigation. The firm includes credentialed mediators.
- Administrative Proceedings:
The firm provides representation in administrative proceedings to clients involved in actions with governmental agencies.
The firm has an extremely active practice in representing several electric utilities, gas pipeline companies and landowners in condemnation/eminent domain proceedings.
As part of its active trial practice, the firm also handles appeals. The trial lawyers in the firm have prosecuted and defended cases at several levels of both state and federal appeals, including cases before the U.S. Fifth Circuit and the Texas Supreme Court.
The firm represents both commercial clients and individuals in all proceedings and transactions that deal with real property - land and the structures attached to it - including purchase and sale contracts, construction, mortgages and foreclosures, leases, zoning, title examinations, quiet title actions, closings and management.
WILLS, ESTATES AND PROBATE
In addition to the preparation of wills and trusts, the firm offers advice on many matters pertaining to estate planning, estate and trust administration and contested matters in the probate courts. Such advice includes planning for charitable gifts and other dispositions of assets during lifetime and upon death.
The firm has experience in interpreting and applying State and Federal statutes and case law in areas such as employment discrimination, affirmative action, sexual harassment, employee benefits, whistleblower litigation, wrongful discharge, employment contracts, the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, the Federal Employer's Liability Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and special laws governing municipal and federal employment. Included in the firm's representation of employers is the developing of policies and procedures and the training of management and supervisory staff with the objective of preventing employment law problems.
The firm handles a full range of family law matters, including adoption, divorce, separation, premarital and marital property agreements, paternity, custody and support. The firm represents clients in family law litigation, as well as in negotiating settlements and participating in alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation. The firm’s family law attorneys are experienced in providing thorough representation in both simple and complex cases, while being responsive to clients’ needs in the resolution of what are frequently stressful situations.
The firm provides representation for, and has served as general counsel to, a number of local governmental entities, including municipalities, water, school districts and local agencies. The firm has provided the full spectrum of legal services to such entities, including representation in contracting, real estate and other property transactions, regulatory actions, employee policies and actions, client/citizen/student disputes and complaints, Open Meetings and Public Information issues and litigation.
The firm offers representation in criminal matters limited to misdemeanor and felonies (excluding serious felonies such as murder, robbery and rape) in both state and federal courts. The firm offers experienced criminal trial counsel with over twenty-five years experience as both a criminal defense attorney and a criminal trial judge.