What We Do Best

Practice Groups

The Firm has experience in handling matters involving business formation and operation with respect to corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies and other business associations. Included in this area of practice are: contract review, preparation, and negotiation; business acquisitions; employment law and risk management; maintenance of legal entity requirements; and intellectual property protection.

The familiar term “Human Resource” is a recognition that the most valuable assets of every organization are its employees. Thus, the ultimate goal of every employment relationship should be to have a safe and mutually beneficial workplace. However, the challenge of fulfilling business goals, meeting employee needs and complying with an ever growing body of employment laws and policies generated by state and federal authorities requires constant attention by employers to avoid costly missteps. The same attention is required by individual employees and their labor representatives, where applicable, to keep abreast of their own rights and obligations. The need to keep abreast of the changes in human resource regulation and policy extends also to those in civil government service. Both employees and management must follow many of the requirements imposed on private employers, but also must comply with strict state and federal constitutional restrictions regarding civil service issues, “name clearing” hearings, restrictions on random drug testing in the workplace and open government laws which may impact the privacy of individual employees and the ability of governmental employers to effectively manage their workforce. And of course, there are specialized rules and provisions regarding government sponsored employee benefit and retirement plans which both management and employees may require assistance in interpreting. The Firm strongly believes that much litigation can be eliminated through the use of properly formulated policies and procedures, proper education of supervisors and implementation of litigation prevention strategies. Our attorneys provide counsel to employers and employees on issues related to preparation and implementation of employee policy manuals, employment contracts, development of and compliance with anti-discrimination policies, drafting and application of drug testing policies and employee assistance programs, issues related to workplace privacy, implementing employee benefit plans and ERISA interpretation, negotiation and preparation of work separation agreements and severance plans, compliance with federal and state wage laws, and internal investigation of employee complaints or of employees suspected of theft or violating company sexual harassment and substance abuse policies. Our attorneys also have extensive experience in the development of governmental employee benefit plans, including insurance risk pools and self-funded insurance trusts, and in the development and implementation of governmental pension plans and savings plans. When litigation cannot be avoided, our attorneys rely on years of experience in the litigation of issues related to private and governmental employers and employees. Such suits have involved both the prosecution and defense of Age Discrimination Claims, Pregnancy Discrimination Claims, quid pro quo and “hostile environment” gender discrimination claims, wage, overtime and Pay Day Act claims, whistleblower claims, “name clearing” hearings involving governmental employees, libel and slander claims relating to the workplace, as well as suits involving breaches of employment contracts and breaches of restrictive employment covenants. The Firm has also handled suits between employer and employee based on conversion of corporate opportunity, enforcement of non-competition agreements between employers, theft of trade secrets, managerial misconduct and claims relating to employee benefits.

Human Resources and Employment Links

Property Tax & Appraisal of Special Use Facilities   Taxes are a fact of life. Property taxes are as well and the ultimate issue for any tax dispute will center on the value of the property, real or personal, to be taxed. Certain types of special use facilities, such as oil refineries or chemical companies, involved sophisticated appraisal reviews that often lead to litigation. Issues can include the ultimate determination of intangible value, which is not taxable, associated with such facilities which can significantly reduce the taxable value of a facility. MAPA has been involved in ad valorem litigation for over thirty years working extensively with the Galveston Central Appraisal District and private clients in other areas. MAPA has handled tax valuation suits of virtually every type of property from raw land to chemical and oil refineries.

Our Firm’s real estate attorneys have experience in a wide variety of matters, such as sales and acquisitions, leasing, financing, construction, port and harbor development, foreclosures, condominium and other property owner association representation, zoning, and subdivision development. Our clients have included developers, financial institutions, investors, property management firms, owners associations, and governmental entities. We have extensive experience in land use issues involving the Texas Open Beaches Act as well as other laws and regulations specifically relating to the ownership and development of waterfront property, including port and harbor facilities. Our representation has included matters involving appearances, procedures, and actions in front of the Texas General Land Office, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Maritime Commission, and other federal, state, and local land use administrative agencies and governmental bodies. In addition, we have handled numerous civil suits relating to such matters.

McLeod, Alexander, Powel & Apffel, P.C. represents various local and state governmental bodies, and serves as general counsel for the Galveston Central Appraisal District and the Port of Galveston (Galveston Wharves). Areas of particular importance include the public’s right to services, public information, open meetings, and restrictions on acquiring or disposing of property. the Firm has developed expertise in land-use regulation, obtaining and complying with U.S. Army Corps of Engineer permits, and open-beach laws and restrictions.

McLeod, Alexander, Powel & Apffel, P.C. has been recognized for its defense of railroads for more than 40 years. One of the Firm’s major clients, BNSF Railway Company, is represented by the Firm throughout Texas. Firm clients also include Union Pacific Railroad Company, Amtrak, Texas City Terminal Railway Company and Galveston Railway, Inc. A team of attorneys and staff has developed expertise in all aspects of railroad operations and litigation. Our attorneys have defended thousands of FELA cases involving all manner of claims, including claims for cumulative trauma and occupational injury from toxic exposure. The Firm regularly defends claims involving grade crossing accidents, trespassers, business invitees, freight charges, freight damage, blocked crossings, environmental damages, and an assortment of other claims. In addition, the Firm prosecutes damage claims on behalf of the railroad involving contracts, derailments, collisions, and environmental cleanup.

McLeod, Alexander, Powel & Apffel, P.C. represents a number of state, national, and international insurance companies on a wide variety of insurance matters in both state and federal courts.  The Firm has significant experience in successfully defending insurance carriers against claims arising from a variety of matters, including:

  • Windstorm & Hail Claims
  • Property, Fire & Casualty Claims
  • Insured Liability Disputes
  • Medical Malpractice Claims
  • Insurance Coverage Disputes
  • Bad-Faith Litigation
  • Premises Liability Claims
  • Products Liability Claims
  • Motor Vehicle Accidents
  • General Liability Claims
  • Personal Injury Claims

The Firm is knowledgeable and experienced in mediation, arbitration, negotiation, trial, appeals, and appraisal of a wide range of insurance matters.

McLeod, Alexander, Powel & Apffel, P.C. provides transactional and litigation services to owners, developers, contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers and their insurers in relation to construction project.  The scope of the Firm’s representation includes advising and assisting clients in the prevention, prosecution, defense, and resolution of a wide variety of construction matters, including:

  • Contract drafting and negotiation;
  • Construction defect claims;
  • Change order and scope claims;
  • Differing site conditions;
  • Performance and warranty disputes;
  • Defaults and termination;
  • Surety claims;
  • Environmental claims;
  • Personal injury and property damage claims;
  • Residential Construction Liability Act claims;
  • Mechanic’s liens and payment bond claims

Environmental Cleanups and Cost Recovery Litigation

The discovery of historical contamination by a client typically leads to two interrelated events. First, current environmental laws place the initial liability for cleaning up historical contamination on the current owner of contaminated property. Once discovered, the law mandates a response. Commensurate with that response, however, is the need to determine if others, both historically and currently, may be responsible for all or some of the costs of the cleanup. These laws allow persons who are required to cleanup these properties the opportunity to seek reimbursement or contribution for the cleanup from historical owners and operators who may have contributed to the contamination, as well as a myriad of persons who may have either transported the material to the location or who may have arranged for disposal of the wastes on the land. However, the failure to properly follow strict rules and guidelines on preserving the right to sue can prove fatal to any such claim.

McLeod, Alexander, Powel & Apffel, P.C. has extensive experience in both prosecuting and defending against claims involving the cleanup of environmentally impacted properties. The Firm, typically in conjunction with responses to agency demands to cleanup a site, assists owners and operators in navigating the statutory requirements to preserve their contribution claims. Further, the Firm conducts extensive research of the ownership and operational history of an impacted property to identify potentially responsible parties.

Environmental Compliance and Defense of State Agency Enforcement Actions

The best protection against litigation is prevention and compliance with existing environmental laws and statutes. Our attorneys routinely counsel clients and environmental consultants in compliance issues, including interfacing with state and federal agencies to seek practical solutions to compliance problems. Further, our attorneys have developed a negotiating relationship with state and federal agencies over environmental enforcement actions.

Land Use Planning and Real Property Environmental Issues

The reality of environmental laws and regulations impacts every phase of an owner’s use, planning and development of real property. The Firm attorneys in this practice area coordinate with members of the Real Estate Practice Group of the Firm to devise strategies to deal with environmental issues and concerns that relate to the development and use of real property.

Toxic Tort and Personal Injury Law

Environmental Law and Toxic Tort claims are intertwined. The Firm is invariably called upon to assist in complex multi-plaintiff litigation relating to alleged exposure by current and historical operations relating to industrial facilities. Our attorneys are directly involved in toxic tort litigation that concerns environmentally impacted sites and areas.

Major Environmental Laws

State and Federal Agency Links

Other Useful Environmental Links

Disclaimer

These summaries are general comments only and may not be applicable to all situations. They are not to be considered legal advice. Consultation with an attorney is needed if legal advice is sought.  

Since its founding, McLeod, Alexander, Powel & Apffel, P.C. has defended clients in litigation arising from acute or chronic illness and injury from allegedly hazardous substances. The Firm has developed expertise in both premise and product liability suits, from the “one plaintiff, one defendant” variety to claims involving literally thousands of plaintiffs and scores of defendants. Either way, we are organized and prepared to efficiently and aggressively protect the interest of our clients. The Firm has experience with alleged workplace injury from acids and acid fumes, asbestos, benzene, diesel fumes/particulates, industrial catalysts, creosote and other preservatives, heavy metals, petrochemical process stream components and intermediates of all sorts, pesticides, silica, and welding fumes, to mention but a few of the many exposures claimed in suits defended by the Firm. We also have past experience in non-occupational toxic injury claims, such as silicon breast implant, household chemicals, and claims as “unique” as the short-lived claim of a young woman who died of lung disease following some years of deliberate “snorting” of an unadulterated household scouring powder. Our attorneys are well grounded through their past experience in the medical, scientific, and legal issues specific to this type of litigation and relish the intellectual challenge often presented in such cases on issues related to causation. Current representative clients include BNSF Railway Company, BP America Inc., CITGO Petroleum Corporation, Crown Central Petroleum Corporation, Exxon Mobil Corporation, South Jersey Industries, Inc., and Unimin Corporation, in addition to other transporters and manufacturers/suppliers of products alleged to cause harm, whose defense is assigned by insurers.

Family Law is an area of law which covers all aspects family relationships. Generally, Family Law attorneys assist people with the making and breaking of family relationships. Family Law issues require a thoughtful balance between advocating for the rights of a client and protecting children of the marriage. When you are faced with an important life decision regarding a key family relationship, the advice and assistance of an experienced attorney is pivotal to your understanding of the issues and legal consequences involved. The Family Law attorneys at McLeod, Alexander, Powel & Apffel, P.C. have extensive experience in divorce suits, including child custody matters, child support, conservatorship, adoptions, guardianships, restraining orders, division of the marital estate, and paternity suits.

Family Law Links

Rather than being defined by technical legal distinctions, Elder Law is defined by the client to be served. Our attorneys practicing Elder Law keenly focus their attention on the The Greatest Generation, advocating for a wide array of issues relating to seniors, such as nursing home abuse/neglect, estate planning, social security disability law, Medicare, Medicaid, disability planning, and health issues, among others. Legal problems that affect the elderly are becoming more complex. Actions taken by older people with regard to a single matter may have unintended legal consequences. McLeod, Alexander, Powel & Apffel, P.C. has a broad appreciation of the laws that may have an impact on a given situation.

Elder Law Links

McLeod, Alexander, Powel & Apffel, P.C. represents individuals in the preparation of wills and trusts and the development of other gift planning strategies, as well as financial and health care powers of attorney and health care directives (also known as living wills). The Firm is well experienced in estate, trust, and guardianship administration, and has provided representation in will contests and interpretation actions, contested guardianship proceedings, and fiduciary litigation.

In Texas, probating a Last Will and Testament can be a simple, routine matter. However, many times disputes arise as to the validity of that will which can delay the probate of an Estate for years. Sometimes, even when a will is valid other issues may arise by competing claims or creditors. Guardianships are not a pleasant matter for any family. They typically involve either a loved one who no longer has the capacity to take care of themselves and did not adequately put into place the means to have assistance, or a loved one who has lost that capacity but refuses help when needed. Guardianships take many forms from complete guardianships over a person and his or her financial affairs to more limited guardianships to handle medical or financial affairs of an incapacitated person or minor. In its decades of existence MAPA has handled numerous disputes regarding these issues with sensitivity and professionalism.

McLeod, Alexander, Powel & Apffel, P.C. offers alternative dispute resolution services as an effective and affordable means to resolve legal disputes. Through mediation, parties meet with a neutral mediator in a confidential and informal setting to resolve conflicts. Our attorneys act as resilient facilitators with the ability to navigate through complex legal issues and assisting clients and lawyers in reaching an amenable resolution.

Because of resulting legislation requirements for the mandatory filing of I-9 declarations by both employers and new employees, immigration law has become an additional factor of every employment relationship.  MAPA Law has now added the practice of immigration and nationality law as an additional benefit and part of our scope of timely and helpful services to our client base. Our attorneys help start-ups, small to medium-size enterprises, and public companies to address U.S. immigration challenges, carefully weighing all of the legal and business factors at play.  It is our challenge to guide our clients through either employment-based, family based, or naturalization matters to achieve their individual objectives. Our U.S. immigration services include:

  • Worksite enforcement, I-9 and E-Verify requirements, ICE audits and raids;
  • Nonimmigrant visas including:
    • L-1A and L-1B visas for managers, executives and specialized knowledge personnel; and L-1 blanket petitions;
    • E-1 and E-2 investment visas for executives, supervisors and essential skill workers;
    • TN NAFTA visas;
    • H-1B, H1B1 and E-3 specialty occupation workers, J-1 work visas;
    • O-1 visas for workers of extraordinary ability in the sciences, art, education, business or athletics;
    • B-1/B-2 visas for business visitor/visitors for pleasure;
  • Employment-based green cards (lawful permanent resident), including Department of Labor (LCA) Labor Certification filings:
    • EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, EB-4, EB-5 filing for permanent residency
  • Family-based immigration matters;
  • Complex naturalization and derivative citizenship matters; and
  • Assisting in the strategic planning concerning immigration consequences of formation, disposition and reorganization of U.S. businesses.