PREMISES LIABILITYAggressively defending premises liability cases

Business Risk Mitigation & Premises Liability

Representing both national and local restaurant, hospitality and retailer clients in the Southwest region, aggressively defending premises liability cases.

Business Risk Mitigation

Accidents happen. If you own or manage a business, you know that one small accident quickly can become a crippling legal claim. At Fee Smith, our attorneys represent commercial clients throughout their entire business lifecycle, preparing them for a variety of issues, including premises liability incidents. While our attorneys never shy away from a tough fight and we appreciate a strong offense, we’d rather see our clients stay out of court, thereby saving time and money. Fee Smith attorneys arm our clients with effective defense-oriented policies and procedures that result in safer business operations while mitigating litigation risk.

Premises Liability Defense

Should you need trial counsel, Fee Smith has a track record of aggressively defending premises liability matters, routinely defending a variety of national and local entities including fitness clubs, commercial buildings, apartment complex owners and managers, hotels, retail stores, and restaurants (including dram shop allegations). In addition to understanding the facts and circumstances of each case, in complex commercial settings, our attorneys conduct a thorough review of contracts to identify responsible parties obligated to share or assume defense costs. If you are faced with a premises liability claim, contact us for a free consultation.

Dangerous Conditions


Premises liability cases are among the hardest for plaintiffs to pursue in Texas because of the multiple statutory defenses for commercial business owners. Recovery for parties injured on someone else’s property largely depends on the injured person’s status as a social visitor, a business patron, or a trespasser. Unlike many jurisdictions, Texas maintains the “open and obvious” defense to allegations of premises liability. A condition is “open and obvious” if a reasonable person should have seen the condition and avoided it. Regardless of a property’s condition, trespassers on your property cannot file a premises liability claim unless you or your business injured the trespasser intentionally or through gross negligence.

Sexual Assault


If a person is sexually assaulted at a business or on business property or residence, they may be entitled to monetary damages if the business or property owner or property manager could have foreseen the assault. Whether you and your business are entitled to certain defenses will depend on a careful investigation of the circumstances. Fee Smith attorneys routinely defend business owners in these matters which often involves an assessment of safety precautions taken at the establishment such as installing cameras, employing key card safety procedures, ensuring adequate lighting in common areas, employing security guards, and conducting background checks on all employees.

Human Trafficking


Human trafficking is a growing problem in the United States, especially in border states such as Texas. Often business owners have no knowledge of these kinds of activities taking place on their properties or in and around their businesses. Unfortunately, many of the penalties related to human trafficking are statutory and are not dependent on actual knowledge of any illegal activity. Fee Smith defends business owners and property managers who find themselves entangled in these sad matters. We have experience defending these allegations and have had success in reducing penalties and/or earning dismissals related to mandatory restitution, property forfeiture, and other civil actions brought to recover monetary and other damages.

Third-party Criminal Acts


Under Texas state case law, if a business owner is aware of a potential risk from criminal conduct, the owner may be liable for any injuries incurred by the visitor or patron. While the circumstances of every case vary, in general, for a plaintiff to prevail they must prove that the owner had direct knowledge of pending criminal actions on the property or that the alleged crime was foreseeable due to similar actions at or near the property. Fee Smith attorneys defend 3rd Party Criminal Act claims and understand the defenses to liability as well as the importance of limiting reputational damage in these matters.

Frequently Asked Questions

What steps should my company take to prepare for potential litigation in Texas?

If your company is facing the possibility of litigation in Texas, it’s essential to take certain steps to prepare. First, gather and organize all relevant documents, contracts, and communications related to the dispute. Consult with your in-house legal team or engage outside counsel to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case. It’s crucial to preserve any electronic or physical evidence that may be relevant to the litigation. Finally, communicate openly and regularly with your trial lawyer to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the situation and develop an effective legal strategy.

Can my company be sued in multiple jurisdictions in Texas?

Yes, it’s possible for a company to be sued in multiple jurisdictions within Texas. This can occur if the company has operations, employees, or significant contacts in different counties or cities across the state. In such cases, it’s crucial to work with an experienced trial lawyer who understands the complexities of multi-jurisdictional litigation. They can help you navigate the various procedural rules and strategize the most effective approach to handle the litigation in each jurisdiction.

How long does the litigation process typically take for a company in Texas?

The duration of litigation can vary widely depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Complex commercial disputes involving companies often take longer than simple personal injury cases. The litigation process in Texas generally involves several stages, including pleadings, discovery, pre-trial motions, trial, and potentially an appeal. It’s challenging to provide an exact timeline, as each case is unique. However, your trial lawyer can provide a rough estimate based on their experience and knowledge of the specific court where the case is being litigated.

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