(713)574-9044
800 Bering Drive, Suite 220
Houston, TX 77057

Our Areas of Practice

Click on one of the links below to go directly to that area of practice.

 

Employment Law     |      Personal Injury      |      Wrongful Death      |      Business Law      |      Aviation      |      Real Estate Litigation     |      Military Veterans

Click on one of the links below to go directly to that area of practice.

 

Employment Law

When you meet someone, the first question you get is “What do you do for a living?” We often define ourselves by the work we do. Loss of that job hits to the very heart of our self-worth, our feeling of belonging. It is traumatic.

Worse still, is when that loss of job or promotion has nothing to do with how good you are at what you do. If you are discriminated against – treated unfairly because of race, national origin, religion, age or disability – it makes you want to scream in frustration because of the injustice. It just is not fair! It may be illegal.

If you are subjected to sexual advances or sexual harassment, it hurts your ability to make a living – to provide for your family. It is just not right! It may be illegal.

If you are working long hours and not being paid overtime, or being told that you must work off of the clock, it is just not fair! It too may be illegal.

YOU MUST MOVE QUICKLY!

In discrimination law, there are very short time limits for you to complain, to bring your complaint to the attention of the EEOC, and to file suit. In overtime claims, there are also short deadlines.

You need counsel now. There are administrative complaints that often need to be made. In some cases, suit must be filed to stop the clock – to preserve your ability to complain and receive damages.

Charles H. Peckham is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He has received an AV Preeminent Rating under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review RatingTM system and is AVVO rated as a 10 (Superb). Charles H. Peckham serves on the Texas Pattern Jury Charge Committee for Business, Consumer, Insurance and Employment by appointment of the President of the State Bar of Texas.

Charles H. Peckham is respected by other lawyers and trusted by clients. He has handled many high profile cases that have been reported in the press through the United States, Europe and as far away as Australia. He has appeared on multiple occasions on CNN, TruTV, MSNBC, Fox, PBS radio and local television stations and radio on employment-related matters.

In discrimination law, there are very short time limits to complain, to bring a complaint to the attention of the EEOC, and to file suit.

Discrimination is about control; trying to belittle or push employees down based upon improper and illegal reasons.  There is no place in the workplace for this kind of activity.  It keeps employees from doing what gives them purpose in life, from feeling motivated and good about their work.  It causes employees to lose morale, and productivity to go down which puts the entire company and all employees and their families at risk.

Federal and Texas discrimination law affords employees protection from several main types of discrimination:

  • Age discrimination (40 or older)
  • Sex discrimination
  • Gender discrimination
  • Pregnancy discrimination
  • Race and color discrimination
  • National origin discrimination
  • Religious discrimination
  • Disability discrimination
  • Discrimination based upon Genetic information, and
  • Discrimination against membership in the Armed Services.

A strong discrimination case generally includes proof that the employer did not fire or demote because of performance, but instead made derogatory comments directed at protected class status.  If those comments come from co-workers, it may or may not mean the employer had discriminated.  However, if the supervisor or decision maker makes racial comments or improper comments due to the protected class, it could be a strong case.

We handle cases all over the United States in team-approach coordination with other lawyers.  We have been involved in or litigated cases in Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, North Dakota and Texas among other states.

In harassment law, there are very short time limits to complain, to bring a complaint to the attention of the EEOC, and to file suit.

Harassment, like other forms of discrimination, is about control; trying to belittle or push employees down based upon improper and illegal reasons.  There is no place in the workplace for this kind of activity.  It is destructive to the employees and can severely impact them; it is destructive to the company as it puts all employees at risk of harm.

Federal and Texas anti-harassment law affords employees protection from several main types of harassment:

  • Hostile environment based upon
    • Age (40 or older)
    • Sex
    • Gender
    • Pregnancy
    • Race
    • Color
    • National origin
    • Religion
    • Disability
    • Genetic information, and
    • Membership in the Armed Services.
  • Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
    • Threat of Termination or Disciplinary Action if Employee does not submit to Sexual Activity
    • Promises of employment benefits if Employee will engage in Sexual Activity
  • Sexual Threats
  • Sexual Assaults
  • Sexual Touching, Groping, Kissing or Placing in Fear

A strong harassment case may include video or photographic proof, or even tape recordings.

Strong cases also often have proof that the employer did not fire or demote because of performance or conducted disciplinary activity only after the employer was aware that the employee was complaining about harassment.  This can also lead to a claim of retaliation.

We handle cases all over the United States in team-approach coordination with other lawyers.  We have been involved in or litigated cases in Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, North Dakota and Texas among other states.

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In retaliation law, there are very short time limits to complain, to bring a complaint to the attention of the EEOC, and to file suit.

Federal and Texas anti-retaliation law affords employees protection unlawful retaliation.  Retaliation is one of the fasting growing forms of wrongful termination and, because it’s easier to prove than unlawful discrimination, one of the biggest concerns for Texas employers.

Under federal and Texas law, an employer may not discharge or otherwise retaliate against an employee for, filing an EEOC or TWC charge of discrimination; participating in an EEOC or TWC investigation; reporting unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation to an employer; participating in an employer’s workplace discrimination or sexual harassment investigation; filing an unpaid overtime complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor; filing an unpaid overtime complaint with an employer; filing for or receiving Workers Compensation benefits; taking or intending to take maternity leave or other FMLA leave and refusing to perform an illegal act among some other limited matters.

Strong retaliation cases usually include evidence that the employer did not treat everyone equally, failed to observe its own company policies, or made derogatory or offensive comments directed at the employee’s actions to protect themselves.

We handle cases all over the United States in team-approach coordination with other lawyers.  We have been involved in or litigated cases in Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, North Dakota and Texas among other states.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the federal law that governs the payment of the minimum wage and overtime pay.  All employees * including salaried employees * and often “independent contractors” are entitled to overtime pay equal to at least 1.5 times their regular rate for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek, unless specifically “exempt.”

Some employers try to cut costs trying to narrowly interpret the law on overtime pay.  This can be very dangerous for employers.

The penalties for violating an employee’s overtime rights, even if by accident, are tough.  If an employee regularly works more than 40 hours per week and does not get overtime pay, he or she may be owed thousands of dollars in unpaid overtime plus penalties.

An employee who brings a successful overtime pay lawsuit can recover his/her unpaid wages and liquidated damages.  Liquidated damages are defined by the FLSA as being double the unpaid wages due to the employee. Thus, if awarded $5,000 in unpaid overtime wages, the employee may be entitled to get an additional $5,000 as liquidated damages, bringing the total recovery to $10,000.  These damages essentially are awarded instead of lost interest.

If the employee wins the case, the FLSA also requires the employer to reimburse for out-of-pocket litigation expenses and pay an additional attorneys’ fee award.

We have successfully litigated these cases in court and with the United States Department of Labor both for employees and employers and have handled numerous investigations as well as wage and hour audits.

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As an employer, you responsible to not only your family but the families of all your employees.  What to do to protect your business and your employees?

 

You should start early.  Establishment of a good structure is key.  That structure should be strong enough to comply with the law and flexible enough to deal with all of the varied circumstances you and your company may face.  A pregnancy?  Employee injury?  A complaint of discrimination?

 

You must plan for the everyday and for the crisis.

 

How to screen potential employees?

Job requirements and essential functions?

Exempt vs. Non-Exempt?

Salaried vs. Hourly?

Contract vs. Employment at Will?

Protecting Trade Secrets?

Non-Competition?

Non-Solicitation to Protect Current Staff?

Polies and Procedures?

A discrimination hotline?

Training of Employees?

Vacation and Leave?

Investigations of Complaints?

Disabilities, Interactive Process and Reasonable Accommodations?

Avoiding Retaliation?

Termination?

Unemployment Compensation and Chargebacks?

 

As an employer, are you prepared?

 

Peckham Martin, PLLC works with medium-sized and regional employers to address the challenges of managing their most expensive asset – their people.  The array of federal and state employment laws and regulations are increasingly confusing.
You do not want to get that letter from the Texas Workforce Commission, U.S. Department of Labor, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or even a plaintiff lawyer.
Peckham Martin, PLLC works with business owners and managers to help minimize the difficulties of managing their employees.  We assist in handbooks, policies and procedures, internal investigations and if it gets to that point, handling administrative actions, arbitrations and litigation.

 

Employers want to be fair.  Employers take seriously the responsibility of their employee’s families’ well-being.  They key is to avoid costly employment law mistakes; to be thoughtful and to be fair.  Peckham Martin, PLLC can help.

 

Charles H. Peckham is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  He has received an AV Preeminent Rating under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review RatingTM system and is AVVO rated as a 10 (Superb). Charles H. Peckham serves on the Texas Pattern Jury Charge Committee for Business, Consumer, Insurance and Employment by appointment of the President of the State Bar of Texas.

Personal Injury

Helping those who have been harmed and aggressively pursuing the ones who hurt them.

Personal injuries that result in severe trauma, permanent disabilities or wrongful death are never anticipated. Yet, they occur every day due to, dangerous and defective products, negligent drivers, inadequate security, medical malpractice and a host of other reasons. The bottom line is that when you or your family have been the victim of someone else’s negligence, you have a right to be compensated.

Dangerous and defective products such as all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), fire safety equipment, household appliances, toys, car seats, highchairs, motor vehicles, tools and numerous other products fail every day due to defective design, manufacturing and sellers or distributors failing to warn of known defects.

Truck, car and motorcycle crashes are the most common form of personal injury suffered. They can be the result of distracted driving, texting while driving, drunk driving, defective vehicle parts and more. Personal injury incidents can also involve pedestrians, bicycle riders and recreational vehicles.

Inadequate security can lead to terrible crimes being committed against innocent residents of apartment complexes or office workers. Both apartment owners and business/property owners can be held liable when they have knowledge of a high crime rate or risk and fail to provide adequate security on the premises.

Our team will carefully review you or your loved one’s medical records in confidence and provide an evaluation as to any potential medical malpractice cause of action.

The lawyers at Peckham Martin, PLLC have been very successful in obtaining substantial judgments and awards for our clients. We can help you.

Wrongful Death

The emotional pain and grief from dealing with the wrongful death of a loved one can feel overwhelming. You deserve justice, but a lengthy and complex litigation process may seem like the last straw right now.

Our job is to ensure you’re never alone on the road to justice. We have been purposefully helping the families and loved ones of those who died find justice in the courts. And, just as importantly, our attorneys and team members help our clients through some of the most difficult times of their lives.

We work to become partners in our clients’ search for justice and seek to become a stable and welcomed presence in their lives.

We Take the Complex Cases

Defense lawyers are skilled at downplaying the events of a wrongful death in order to keep a jury verdict low, and they are even likely to cast some or all of the fault back on your loved one. Don’t let them convince you that your loved one was responsible for something he/she wasn’t. Peckham Martin, PLLC has over 50 years of combined experience and we believe that one of the most important steps on your journey to justice comes from the jury’s declaration that your loved one was not responsible for his/her death.

Even if other attorneys tell you that you don’t have a case or that it’s just too difficult, contact us. We have experience handling complex litigation that other attorneys decline to handle.

Contingency-Fee Based Representation

Our contingency-fee based representation allows us to share your burden and the financial risks of your case. Our clients are more than just cases; they are a part of our team and our family.

The lawyers at Peckham Martin, PLLC have been very successful in obtaining substantial judgments and awards for our clients and for their loved ones. We can help.

Business Law

Does a handshake or an oral agreement mean anything anymore? Does a partner really owe you a duty to be honest and transparent in fiduciary matters?

Do you have to pay additional insurance premiums after an audit? Do you have to respond to an unemployment claim?

These questions involve money and as a business owner can tell you, cash flow is critical in running any business and especially a small business. You need our legal help.

We specialize in representing small business owners and their unique legal needs. Attorneys can charge high hourly rates and many small businesses don’t have much, if any, extra capital with which to pay lawyers.

• local, state, or federal government entities filing complaints or investigating your business for violation of any laws.
• former, current, or prospective employees suing on the grounds of discrimination in hiring, firing, or hostile work environment
• negotiating for the sale or your company or for the acquisition of another company or its assets
• Vendor contracts
• Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) issues
• Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issues
• General forms preparation.
• Insurance issues.

Peckham Martin, PLLC has over 50 years of combined experience representing individuals and businesses. We can help.

Aviation

Airplane and Helicopter crashes may be caused by a variety of reasons, such as:

• Pilot error
• Weather conditions
• Sabotage
• Mechanical failure
• Defective design

Proper, thorough investigation, coupled with legal analysis, will find those who are at fault, factually and legally, for a particular accident. Each analysis will depend on the facts of a particular helicopter accident. Generally speaking, experience shows that the following entities are potential defendants:

• Operator—Company or individual pilot
• Designer—Aircraft or component
• Manufacturer—Aircraft or component
• Seller—Aircraft or component
• Flight School/Flight Instructor
• Owner
• Lease holder
• Maintenance
• Air Traffic Control
• Control Tower Operator
• Airport Owner and Operator
• Obstruction (cell phone tower, vegetation, building) owner, maintenance personnel or operator)
• Person issuing NOTAMS – Notices to Airmen
• Weather information provider

The rules and regulations which apply to commercial planes and private planes are quite different and should be handled by an aviation accident attorney who is qualified to handle such cases.

Our experience includes virtually every type of accident involving virtually every type of cause: Notice to Airmen failures, mechanical failure, design flaws, material failures, pilot errors, and maintenance failures. In addition to the legal concepts of negligence, products liability, failure of the duty to warn, and breach of express and implied warranty, we are also experienced in the challenging and complex areas of the Warsaw Convention, the Federal Tort Claims Act, the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act, the Government Contractor Defense, and numerous state-specific hurdles such as statutes of repose and contributory negligence.

Regardless of the cause of an accident, they do not occur unless something goes terribly wrong, and this inevitably means that someone did something they should not have done or they failed to do something they should have done.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is the primary government agency responsible for investigating aviation accidents. Although the NTSB does a commendable job, often they tend to find pilot error instead of delving deeper into the mechanics of crashes. There is an inherent conflict that many investigators have, because while good persons, they often seek work with private-sector manufacturers after their time with the NTSB is complete. Those investigators who find too often that mechanical errors occur, likely do not find jobs with those same manufacturers.

Often the truth about what really happened, the full and complete picture, does not come out until skilled, experienced and dedicated attorneys, technically knowledgeable in their own right and aided by trained, educated and experienced technical experts, through the litigation process, obtain documents, information and testimony that the NTSB simply did not have the time or the will to gather.

In our Aviation cases, we put together a team of experts on sequencing, avionics, mechanics, piloting and other areas so make certain that we find the real cause of an aircraft crash to get real justice for our clients.

The lawyers with and associated with Peckham Martin, PLLC have been involved in the Valujet Flight 592 litigation, American Airlines Flight 587, incidents involving Continental Airlines, Continental Express, and crashes involving various general aviation aircraft including the Piper Cherokee, Piper Apache, Cessna 210L and T210 and Robinson Helicopter R22 among others. Suits have included avionics manufacturers, mechanics, engine manufactures such as Teledyne Continental, Lycoming and many others.

Do not let evidence disappear. Call us so we can get experts on scene immediately to preserve evidence and protect your rights and those of your loved ones.

Real Estate Litigation

Real estate transactions involve so much money, that it is sometimes too tempting for the greedy to take advantage. You need legal help.

For individuals, your home is likely the single largest investment you will ever make. Too often homeowners like you can be a target for unscrupulous contractors, real estate agents and sellers.

For small businesses, your livelihood depends on being paid for the good work you perform. In times of economic uncertainty, cash flow is a requirement that you cannot allow a difficult project to interrupt.

Disputes over purchase price or construction that result in litigation can cause significant personal financial damage and even business failure.

You need legal help, and you need it now. Call Peckham Martin, PLLC at 713-574-9044.

Experience:

Mary A. Martin and Charles H. Peckham have over 50 combined years’ experience in handling real estate disputes for individuals and small business owners*. They have handled everything from the sale and purchase of multi-million dollar hotels in Houston and Dallas, and ADA accessibility disputes for commercial buildings to mortgage fraud and contract for deed disputes, and much in between. Charles is AV rated as a Preeminent lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell Peer ReviewTM rating system.

This experience includes matters such as:

• Construction litigation
• Collections disputes,
• Mechanics liens
• Title dispute lawsuits
• Mortgage Fraud
• Contract for Deed disputes
• Lease negotiation between landlord and tenant
• Deed restriction violations
• Property line disputes
• Vendor contracts
• Evictions
• Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) issues
• Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issues
• General forms preparation.

Mechanics and Materialmen’s Liens:

One of the most confusing and convoluted areas of law in Texas is M&M Lien Law. It was designed by the Texas Legislature to ensure property owners notice of disputes and to give workers an easy and fool-proof way to get paid for their work. What a mess they created. You need a lawyer to guide you through the M&M laws.

For the unprepared, there are severe consequences. Wrongfully filing a mechanic’s lien against someone else’s property may subject you to civil penalties, and more.

Call Peckham Martin, PLLC at 713-574-9044 – we can help.

* Charles and Mary have chosen not to seek certification in these areas and are not Board Certified in either Residential or Commercial Real Estate Law.

Military Veterans

You need access to the appropriate medical and legal services that will assist you in obtaining the disability benefits you need and deserve. Hundreds of thousands of men and women who have served in the U.S. military make sacrifices every day for our country. All wars, including the Vietnam War, Korean War, Iraq War, and the War in Afghanistan, produce a large number of the visible wounded, military men and women who have injuries outwardly obvious to anyone. But wars also produce a large number of military men and women who may seem healthy and able, but who are suffering from health issues tied to their service. These conditions can make it difficult to work or complete daily tasks of living. There are so many things about veterans benefits that you likely do not know. For instance, for some benefits you need just one day of service while for others you have to serve a minimum amount of time. Here are just a few of the most common injuries, symptoms, and illnesses suffered by U.S. Veterans:
• Complications from Agent Orange exposure
• Complications from radiation exposure
• Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
• Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and other head injuries
• Eye injuries and visual impairment
• Inner ear injuries and hearing loss
• Back, neck, and spinal cord injuries
• Joint problems
• Gulf War Syndrome
• Hypertension (high blood pressure)
• Mental disorders
It is the job of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide support to our solders. However, unfair disability denials happen all the time. We work as a team to obtain the benefits you deserve. Contact us for help.

WHY DID I GET FIRED? IT IS NOT FAIR!

For a United States’ Military Veteran who has served our country and sacrificed for all of us, including the person that has fired him or her, it is a gut-wrenching experience.

Veterans are protected under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), a federal law which prohibits employment discrimination due to military service and protects reemployment rights to those who have returned to the private sector after concluding military service.

Under this law, if you leave a civilian job to serve in the military you may be entitled to return to the same job providing you meet the USERRA eligibility requirements. USERRA protects those who have served in the armed forces, Army or Air National Guard, commissioned corps of the Public Health Services, and other service categories designated by the President.

As a returning service member, you are eligible for reemployment under the following guidelines: you held a job with a civilian employer, you gave advance notice of your impending military service to your employer before leaving, your service was not longer than 5 years (in most cases), you received an honorable discharge, and you applied for reemployment with your civilian employer upon returning. You will then be eligible for the same status, seniority, and pay that you would have gotten if you had not served in the military.

Under USERRA, employers are also required to help disabled employees returning from military service to become qualified to hold the jobs they would otherwise have held if they had not left.

Charles H. Peckham is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He has received an AV Preeminent Rating under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review RatingTM system and is AVVO rated as a 10 (Superb). Charles H. Peckham serves on the Texas Pattern Jury Charge Committee for Business, Consumer, Insurance and Employment by appointment of the President of the State Bar of Texas.

Charles H. Peckham is respected by other lawyers and trusted by clients. He has handled many high profile cases that have been reported in the press through the United States, Europe and as far away as Australia. He has appeared on multiple occasions on CNN, TruTV, MSNBC, Fox, PBS radio and local television stations and radio on employment-related matters.

Call today if you need legal assistance in any of the following areas:
• USERRA (The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994)
• Discrimination due to Race, Sex, Age, Disability, Religion or National Origin
• Sexual Harassment
• Employment Contracts
• Retaliation
• Employment Law
• Wrongful Termination
• Overtime Compensation
• Severance Agreements
• Trade Secret Agreements
• Non-Competition Agreements
• Administrative Law
YOU MUST MOVE QUICKLY!

In discrimination law, there are very short time limits for you to complain, to bring your complaint to the attention of the EEOC, and to file suit. In overtime claims, there are also short deadlines.

You need counsel now. There are administrative complaints that often need to be made. In some cases, suit must be filed to stop the clock – to preserve your ability to complain and receive damages.

As a veteran, you have unique civil legal needs. When a veteran returns to the civilian life, internal scars and prior injuries often affect their reactions and needs when injured. We handle personal injury claims for veterans with special attention to their treatment and care from the injuries received. Additionally, veterans medical records and federal medical liens require experience in handling. We have that specialized experience. Contact us today. We protect and fight for you and your family when you are injured:
• 18 Wheeler and Car Wrecks;
• Fire and fire related injuries;
• Chemical Exposure;
• Jail Death and other Civil Rights Actions