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Karen L. Hart
Biography

Karen Hart is a business attorney with over a decade of experience litigating commercial disputes.

Karen counsels clients on real estate and landlord-tenant matters as well as various contract and business disputes. She is a tireless advocate for her clients, providing guidance on business legal matters, such as lease, purchase and sale, brokerage and property management disputes, specific performance claims, commercial evictions, lis pendens, lien and bond claims, lien priority disputes, promissory note claims, commercial foreclosures, bankruptcy claims, professional ethics and liability matters,  bills of review, confidentiality, non-competition and non-solicitation agreements and related disputes and injunctive proceedings, and business tort claims, including tortious interference with contracts and business relationships, civil theft, fraud, and misappropriation of trade secret claims.   


With a growing global client base, Karen also handles international dispute resolution, including international litigation, arbitration, and mediation. Karen uses creative pre-litigation negotiation and risk management techniques to keep her clients out of court. She also employs innovative asset investigation and preservation and judgment enforcement tactics, including domestications and international enforcement of judgments and arbitral awards.

Education

  • J.D., with honors, The University of Texas School of Law, 2001
  • B.A., English Literature/Political Science, with highest honors, The University of Texas at El Paso, 1997

Related Industry

Representative Matters
  • Obtained declaratory judgment of priority of receiver’s lis pendens claim to $1 million dollar property, quieting title in receiver over competing lien claimant, prevailing at every level of appeal, including the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Obtained judgment in a breach of lease case and litigated hotly contested, complex garnishment of connected parent and subsidiary accounts.
  • Obtained judgment for supplier in suit on account and to foreclose construction lien and bond claims in Louisiana state court, creatively domesticating judgment in Texas for collection.
  • Obtained judgment for Canadian broadcasting company against organization in broadcast dispute, garnished multiple accounts post-judgment, and secured settlement and payment.
  • Litigated complex, subordinated promissory note claims for Canadian production company, resulting in settlement and payment.
  • Defended South American pharmacy chain in employment and trade secret misappropriation case in federal court, resulting in settlement and dismissal of claims.
  • Resolved national restaurant chain’s constructive eviction claims.
  • Resolved breach of restrictive use covenant at regional shopping center. 
  • Litigated negligence claims arising from international shipment stolen from Customs Centralized Examination Station.
  • Defended medical clinic against competitor asserting tortious interference, civil theft, and misappropriation of trade secrets claims arising from physician non-competition agreements, achieving settlement and dismissal of claims.
  • Obtained judgment on promissory note and order of foreclosure on luxury house boat involved in dealer fraud.
  • Secured injunctive relief protecting small business from larger competitor’s wrongful interference with customer contracts/relationships through business disparagement campaign arising from a software ownership dispute.
  • Obtained award against French distributor of surgical lenses manufactured in U.S. in international commercial arbitration.
Noteworthy
  • 2017 Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Fellow
  • Selected by attorney peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America®, 2017
  • American Bar Association Section of Litigation Outstanding Subcommittee Chair Award for the Real Estate, Condemnation & Trust Litigation Committee, 2016
  • Serves as Bell Nunnally’s Risk Management Counsel
  • Texas Lawyer, Winning Women Award Honoree, 2014
  • Dallas Business Journal, Women in Business Award Honoree, 2012
  • Selected by attorney peers as a Texas Monthly Rising Star®, Texas Monthly, 2006, 2007, 2011 - 2014.
  • Member of the Year, North Texas District Export Council, 2013
  • CREW Dallas Outstanding New Member Award Recipient, 2011
  • Law clerk, Hon. Hayden Head, Jr., U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, Corpus Christi, 2001-02
  • Law clerk extern, Texas Court of Appeals, Third Judicial District, Austin, 2001
  • National American Inns of Court Outstanding Program Award, “Separation of Church & State,” 2005
  • National Champion, Pace National Environmental Moot Court Competition, 2000
  • National Semifinalist and Best Appellee Brief, Pace National Environmental Moot Court Competition (brief published in 2001 Winter Pace Environmental Law Review), 2001
  • National Quarterfinalist, Duberstein National Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition, 2001
Activities & Memberships
  • Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) – Dallas, Board of Directors (2014-present); Director of Programs, 2016; Director of Marketing & Communications, 2015; Chair, Marketing & Communications Committee, 2014; Chair of Programs Committee, 2013; Nominating Committee, 2013 and 2015; Co-Chair of Member Services Committee, 2012
  • Co-Chair, Landlord-Tenant Subcommittee (2014-present), Real Estate Litigation Committee, American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Litigation
  • North Texas District Export Council (NTDEC), Chair, 2013-2015; Vice Chair, 2012; Chair of Education Committee, 2011; Appointed Member of the NTDEC by the U.S. Department of Commerce, 2010
  • National Association of Credit Management (NACM), NACM Southwest
  • International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)
  • Texas, Dallas, and American Bar Associations
  • Dallas Young Lawyers Association - Foundation Life Fellow
  • Patrick E. Higginbotham American Inn of Court, Former Associate
  • Texas Winds Musical Outreach, Board of Directors (Past-President)
Publications & Presentations

Publications

Presentations

  • 2016: "Welcome to the Jungle: Judgment Enforcement," NACM 2016 National Credit Congress, Las Vegas Nevada
  • 2015: "Art of Arbitration - Painting Your Way to Payment," NACM 2015 National Credit Congress, St. Louis, Missouri
  • 2015: Collections Executive Exchange, Panel Moderator, National Association of Credit Management, 2015 National Credit Congress, St. Louis, Missouri
  • 2015: Mediating to Win, National Association of Credit Management, Webinar
  • 2014: "Leggo My Alter Ego! What You Need to Know About Piercing the Corporate Veil," National Association of Credit Management, 2014 National Credit Congress, Orlando, Florida
  • 2014: Performance Metrics Executive Exchange, Panel Moderator, National Association of Credit Management, 2014 National Credit Congress, Orlando, Florida
  • 2014: “Alter Ego & Piercing the Corporate Veil,” National Association of Credit Management, Webinar
  • 2014: “Are you Perfected? Perfecting UCC Lien Rights,” National Association of Credit Management, Webinar
  • 2013: “ESQ’ing Minds Want to Know – CREW Lawyers Tell (Almost) All,” Panelist, Commercial Real Estate Women, Monthly Luncheon, Dallas, Texas.
  • 2013: “Enforcing Security Interests,” National Association of Credit Management, 2013 National Credit Congress, Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • 2013: Construction Executive Session, Panel Moderator, National Association of Credit Management, 2013 National Credit Congress, Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • 2013: “Effective Demand Letters:  Securing Payment & Avoiding Liability," National Association of Credit Management, Webinar.
  • 2013: “Judgment Enforcement Options – What is in Your Collection Arsenal?” National Association of Credit Management, Webinar.
  • 2013: “Protecting What’s at the Heart of Your Business – Employment Agreements, Non-compete Agreements, Trade Secrets, Nondisclosure & Confidentiality Agreements,” Hillcrest Bank, Dallas, and the Exit Planning Institute, Webinar.
  • 2013: “Risk Management – Conflicts and Waivers,” Bell Nunnally.
  • 2012: “Avoiding & Managing Tenant Defaults,” CBRE, Dallas, Texas.
  • 2012:  "Ethical and Liability Issues Arising from Representing Multiple Parties," State Bar of Texas, John Huffaker Agricultural Law Course, Lubbock, Texas.
  • 2012: “Liens and Bonds Through the Lens of Litigation,” National Association of Credit Management, 2012 National Credit Congress, Grapevine, Texas.
  • 2012:  International Executive Credit Panel, National Association of Credit Management, 2012 National Credit Congress, Grapevine, Texas.
  • 2012: “Writing Effective Demand Letters that Get You Paid and Keep You Out of Trouble,” Lorman Education Services.
  • 2012: Coordinator of Exporting with the Experts at Richland College and University of Texas at Dallas , a five week educational program focused on business of exporting products and services abroad (2010-2012).
  • 2012: “Intellectual Property Considerations for Exporters,” University of Texas at Dallas.
  • 2012: “Business Civil Law: Knowing Your Rights and Responsibilities," Dallas Association of Chinese Professionals.
  • 2012:  “Savvy Business Communication and Negotiation Tactics for Women,”  Women’s Business Council Southwest.
  • 2011: “Documenting the Deal and Customer Disputes,” NACM Southwest.
  • 2011: “Credit Applications – Getting it Right from the Start,” Gas Compressor Association.
  • 2011: “Commercial Evictions and the Judicial Process,”  Annual Commercial Landlord-Tenant Law & Lease Negotiations Seminar, Sterling Education Services.
  • 2011: “Structuring Your Business to Avoid Personal Liability,” CBD Team Networking.
  • 2011: “Managing Global Credit Risk For Exporters,” Exporting with the Experts, University of Texas at Dallas.
  • 2011: “Unpaid Internships: Navigating U.S. Labor Laws," DFW Mentor Program, Southern Methodist University.
  • 2011: “Pros and Cons of the Proposed Amendments to the Texas Disciplinary Rules,” Bell Nunnally.
  • 2011: “Getting the Most Out of CREW,” Panel Moderator, Commercial Real Estate Woman Dallas.
  • 2011:  “Managing Credit Issues in International Trade,” Dallas African Chamber of Commerce Annual Conference.
  • 2011: “International Dispute Resolution: What the Business Executives of Today and Tomorrow Need to Know,” University of Texas at Dallas, Global MBA Program.
  • 2011: “Writing Effective Demand Letters that Get You Paid and Keep You Out of Trouble,” Lorman Education  Services.
Reported Cases
  • Long Beach Mortg. Co. v. Evans, 284 S.W.3d 406 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2009, pet. denied), cert. denied by Long Beach Mortg. Co. v. Evans, 130 S.Ct.3470 (2010)
  • Site Work Group, Inc. v. Chemical Lime Ltd, 171 S.W.3d 512 (Tex. App. –Waco 2005, no pet.)
  • Cadle Co. v. LaCroix, NO. CIV.A. 1:07-CV-183, 2008 WL 576991 (E.D. Tex. Feb 28, 2008) (unpublished)
  • In re Aluotto, NO. 08-32970, ADV. 08-3250, 2009 WL 1231988 (Bankr. S.D. Tex. Apr 29, 2009) (unpublished)