Business Litigation

Tech Giants Apple and Nokia Announce Settlement in Lengthy Business Dispute

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Last month, global tech giants Apple and Nokia announced that they had settled all litigation involving their lengthy intellectual property dispute, and that they had agreed to ink a new multi-year patent license.

Back in December 2016, Nokia filed a lawsuit against Apple in the United States, alleging that the company had infringed on several existing patents when developing technology for the iPhone, specifically mobile device displays and user interfaces. However, this was not the first time that the companies had discussed patents.

Apple previously licensed Nokia patents back in 2011, before turning down Nokia’s licensing offers in subsequent years. Despite this, Nokia alleged that many Apple products continued to use Nokia’s patented inventions.

Under the terms of the settlement, Nokia will receive a chunk of cash from Apple, in additional to any revenue from the new patent license. In announcing the settlement, both companies affirmed their commitment to the renewed partnership, citing increased benefit to customers in the United States and abroad.

Litigating Complex Business Matters

In the business world, it is not uncommon for disputes to arise. In fact, some of the most common disputes involve everyday facets of business, such as:

  • Partnerships
  • Business negotiations
  • Business dissolutions
  • Employment agreements
  • Employment agreement enforcement

While some of these issues are straightforward and easy to address, many are much more complex, especially those involving Limited Liability Companies (LLC), Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP), corporations, partnerships, trusts, agencies, and/or franchises.

How Do Business Disputes Occur?

While the structure of business entities may vary, most business partnerships are fundamentally similar – one individual creates the idea or concept, while the other provides any necessary financial collateral.

Unfortunately, many business relationships eventually reach a point where they sour. For example, a partner providing the financing might become comfortable with managing all facets of the business without the other party, and elects to cut the other out. When this occurs, it creates a far from amicable situation that might lead to a legal dispute, depending on the existing partnership agreement.

When it reaches that point, it is always wise to consult with an attorney specializing in commercial law.

Are you or someone you know currently dealing with a business dispute? If so, you should not delay in contacting a qualified attorney, especially if your situation requires litigation to reach a resolution.

Business Litigation Lawyers in Oklahoma

For those residing in Norman, Oklahoma, the attorneys at Rick Dane Moore & Associates Law Firm, P.L.L.C. have the experience you need when dealing with complex business issues.

Our firm has helped clients with a wide variety of business litigation matters, including contracts, patents, and partnerships, and has the skills and legal acumen necessary to navigate your case to a successful end result. If necessary, our attorneys are prepared to litigate your case in a court setting.

To explore your legal options with one of our business litigation attorneys, we invite you to contact Rick Dane Moore & Associates Law Firm, P.L.L.C. today at (405) 366-0373.

How to Navigate an HOA Dispute

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In Oklahoma, Homeowners’ Associations are becoming more common and we’d like to help anyone who is a member to fully understand their obligations and options.

The Basics

The Homeowners’ Association, or “HOA,” is the governing body of a subdivision or complex.

When you buy real estate in an area governed by the association (in the subdivision or complex), you automatically become a member of the association. This usually entails paying fees or dues to the HOA. These fees will typically cover maintenance for shared common areas to the community, including swimming pools, golf courses, rec centers, and sidewalks. There will also be some rules that each homeowner must abide by, which may include regulations regarding acceptable exterior paint colors, pet rules, noise pollution rules, and other such provisions regarding the homeowner’s enjoyment of the property.

The HOA Board

Most Homeowners’ Associations are comprised of a governing board. Some may operate more like a democracy, in which each person has a vote when an issue arises. The HOA manages the properties and also the fees that are paid in by homeowners. In the event of a dispute, it may also help to resolve issues between neighbors by acting as a mediator. An advantage of having an HOA in your area is that it can help stabilize property values by preventing property value decline due to the appearance of an unsightly neighboring home.

What Happens If There Is a Dispute?

There are a number of different issues that can arise when members don’t agree with the HOA’s action.

If a homeowner paints their house a non-permitted color, doesn’t maintain their lawn, or has political signs that violate the HOA rules, then that homeowner may receive a citation for the violation and a fine.

Disputes may also arise if the HOA tries to impose rules that are not included in the HOA covenants or if it treats certain members more favorably than others. Members may also feel that the association is not properly managing the HOA funds if they are required to pay additional expenses and collectively raise a complaint. Most of these issues and disputes can be resolved either by the HOA or settled between neighbors without the need for legal action.

When Is a Legal Resolution Required?

In the HOA covenants, the homeowners may be required to participate in mediation in good faith in order to resolve any disputes. Arbitration is always encouraged before legal action as the parties will normally have to continue some sort of relationship after the dispute is resolved. However, in some situations, the homeowner may feel that they have no alternative but to seek resolution in the courts. The aggrieved property owner may sue the HOA, (a separate legal entity) for breaching their own regulations and seek compensation. If successful, the court might order the HOA to perform a specific action, usually to obey the HOA regulations. In some instances, it may impose an injunction which would prohibit the HOA in participating in certain HOA related activity.

Taking on the HOA via legal action can seem like an overwhelming and daunting prospect, which is why seeking the advice of an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer is always recommended. At Rick Dane Moore & Associates Law Firm, P.L.L.C. we will always meet with you to discuss the various options available when dealing with an HOA dispute. We welcome your call today at (405) 366-0373 to discuss your particular case.

Knowing When to Pursue Action after a Breach of Contract

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You have recently come across an issue and realized that there has been a breach of contract, either from negligence or faulty work. You want to seek compensation through the courts, however the contract was completed a number of years ago. Can you still sue?

The Statute of Limitations

When determining if you are able to pursue action through the courts, your lawyer will turn to the Statute of Limitations to see if you are within the filing deadline. The Statute of Limitations sets out the time frame a plaintiff has to take legal action. If a plaintiff misses the deadline, the defendant can alert the court to the Statute of Limitations (if it applies) and likely have the case dismissed.

This obviously has serious consequences on the plaintiff and leaves them unable to seek redress for any damages, therefore it is crucial that all parties understand the legal time frames when faced with a breach of contract.

Civil Time Limits on Claims

For civil cases, the clock normally starts to tick under the Statute of Limitations when the claim arises. Sometimes this starting point is called the “accrual” of the “cause of action” which basically means it’s the moment at which point the plaintiff has a basis to sue. For example, in an assault and battery case the plaintiff has two years from the date of being hit by the defendant to file a suit. Once the two years has passed, the plaintiff is unable to sue the defendant for any damages related to the offense.

The “Discovery” Rule

Although the Statute of Limitations sets out specific time frames, the “discovery” rule also comes into play when determining the filing deadline. This rule stipulates that the filing time period does not start until the moment when the plaintiff realizes (or should reasonably have known) that they have suffered harm. It is important to note that the delay in discovery must be reasonable under the circumstances, otherwise the rule will not be applied.

In some situations, the discovery rule will not apply, and sometimes the period of time for bringing a claim post-discovery can be short, so it is vital that you seek legal assistance quickly to prevent a filing delay.

Statutes of Limitations in Oklahoma

Statutes of limitations can vary from state to state, and from state court to federal court. It will also differ depending on the type of action involved. For the purposes of this article, we are specifically highlighting the limitations on a breach of contract.

Contract (in writing): Five years

  • Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 12, § 95(A)(1) (2017)
  • Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 12a, § 2-725(1) (2017)

Contract (not in writing): Three years or five years

  • Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 12, § 95(A)(2) (2017)
  • Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 12a, § 2-275(1) (2017)

It is important to remember that it may be possible to bring multiple causes of action from a single incident of wrongful conduct, therefore even if it appears that the statute of limitations has run out, it may still be possible to bring a different claim.

It is always advisable to consult a lawyer for a better understanding of all time limits that apply to your situation and any exceptions for overcoming them. The law in this area is complicated and we here at Rick Dane Moore & Associates Law Firm, P.L.L.C. want to help you seek legal reparation before the filing deadline passes.

Based in Norman, our law firm serves all of Oklahoma and we invite you to call us today at (405) 366-0373 to arrange for an initial consultation to discuss your case.

Trump Suing Celebrity Chef for Breach of Contract

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A celebrity chef who backed out of a plan to open up a restaurant in the lobby of the Trump International Hotel in Washington is being sued for breach of contract.

World-class chef Jose Andres and President Donald Trump were planning to open up an upscale restaurant in Trump’s brand new D.C. Hotel. However, after Trump’s negative comments about Mexican immigrants during a June 2015 speech, Andres backed out of the deal.

Trump Sues for Breach of Contract

Andres stated that he chose to not go through with the deal because he is a pro-immigration advocate. In August 2015 Trump filed a $10 million breach of contract lawsuit against Andres.

Both Trump and Andres continue to be embroiled in this lengthy lawsuit.

What Is Breach of Contract?

A breach of contract is when a party fails to fulfill any of its contractual obligations. A contract may be breached for a number of reasons, including:

  • A party does not perform on time
  • A party does not perform in accordance with the terms of the contractual agreement
  • A party makes it impossible for the other party to perform as agreed
  • A party does not perform at all

For example, let’s say that you are a business owner and have a contract with another business to have materials delivered to you on Monday evening because “time is of the essence”. If the materials are delivered after Monday, that would be a breach of contract.

What You Need for a Breach of Contract Case

To win a breach of contract case, you will need to prove the following:

  • That a contract existed (this does not necessarily need to be a formal agreement or in writing)
  • That the contract was broken
  • That the defendant is the right party to due
  • That you suffered monetary loss

Do You Need to File a Lawsuit?

Not ever breach of contract case may need to go to court. The issue may be resolved using an alternative dispute resolution, such as having a mediator review the contract dispute. Both parties may also choose to agree on a binding arbitration of a contract dispute.

When to Contact Rick Dane Moore

Rick Dane More and Associates, P.L.L.C. understand the seriousness of a breach of contract and we are committed to ensuring that you are made whole for your losses.

To speak to a breach of contract attorney today, please call (405) 366-0373.

Walgreens Files $140 Million Breach of Contract Case

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Walgreens has filed a suit against Theranos, a creator of technologies used for drawing and testing blood samples. They are accusing Theranos of breach of contract, though the details of the case are still unclear as both companies signed a confidentiality agreement.

Theranos has suffered while trying to gain back public credibility after supplying failing equipment to other customers, and it is likely that the breach of contract claim is related to that. Though most breach of contract claims are not for hundreds of millions of dollars, there are many other smaller claims being brought every day.

What Is a Breach of Contract?

A breach of contract is when one party to a contract fails to fulfill their promise. This can be a failure to pay for services or complete services, or failure to preform a specific duty. Breach of contract claims can arise not only in business but also in personal affairs as well.

Some examples of common contracts:

  • Sales Agreements
  • Credit Card Contracts
  • Prenuptial Agreements
  • Employment Contracts
  • Labor Contracts
  • Real Estate Contracts
  • Student Loans

As most of us find ourselves as party to a contract at some point in our lives, it is inevitable that some will experience a breach of contract, or need to breach a contract. It is important to understand the remedies available when one party does not, or cannot, hold up their end of the bargain.

Remedies for Breach of Contract

Many breach of contract cases are able to be resolved outside of the courtroom. This can happen through mediation or informal discussion between attorneys. If the case does go to court, judges have a lot of flexibility in determining the damages that will be awarded to the non-breaching party to the contract.

It is important to have an attorney who understands how damages are calculated. They will be able to ensure that damages are assessed in the most beneficial way for their client.

If you or a loved one reside in Oklahoma, and are experiencing breach of contract, you should immediately contact Rick Dane Moore and Associates Law Firm at (405) 366-0373. Our attorney’s are available for a consultation to help evaluate your case and determine the best course of action going forward.

US Government Settles Lawsuit with Muscogee Creek Nation for Over $8 Million

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The U.S. government has settled 17 lawsuits claiming it mismanaged tribal assets and underpaid tribal nations for land. The total settlement is for $492 million.

According to a joint press release by the Department of Justice and Department of the Interior, the settlement was part of a push by President Obama to resolve several of the numerous century old lawsuits by tribal nations against the U.S. government before leaving the Oval Office.

Among the tribes to receive settlement funds is the Muscogee Creek Nation of Oklahoma that will receive over $8 million.

What Happened?

Like many other tribal nations, the Muscogee Creek Nation has suffered at the hands of the U.S. government since the tribe was forced to relocate in the 1830s. Between the Curtis Act that dismantled tribal governments and the Dawes Allotment Act that parceled tribal lands to individuals, the Muscogee Creek Nation was stripped of their sovereignty, identity and livelihood.

However, Muscogee Creek Nation continued to fight and was finally able to regain federal recognition in 1970. Today, the Muscogee Creek Nation is successful and boasts a population of 70,000 citizens.

Not the First Time

This isn’t the first time that Muscogee Creek Nation has received a settlement from the U.S. government. In 2015, Muscogee Creek Nation was party to a suit against the U.S. government claiming that they failed to adequately supply funds for federal programs. The Nation received 0.47% of the payout of $940 million.

Additionally, the Nation received three other settlements related to the underfunding and lack of federal system reforms. While there is satisfaction with the recent success of the Muscogee Creek Nation and other tribal petitioners, there is dissatisfaction that it has taken centuries of neglect and abuse to finally have justice.

Hope for the Future

News of this settlement comes as Standing Rock Sioux are receiving increasing media coverage from protests over the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline through their ancestral lands and primary water source. The protesters are claiming that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not follow the appropriate procedure and consult with the tribal authorities as required by law. Many other tribes are protesting with the Sioux; this includes several citizens of the Muscogee Creek Nation.

With the recent increase in media attention on Native American legal issues, and President Obama’s race to settle the outstanding tribal lawsuits, there is hope that Native American tribes will begin to receive the rights and resources to which they are entitled.

Here at Rick Dane Moore & Associates Law Firm, we take Native American legal issues very seriously. If you or a loved one is located in Oklahoma and are a victim of exploitation of your land then contact the Native American law experts at Rick Dane Moore & Associates Law Firm, P.L.L.C. at (405) 366-0373.

Oklahoma Joins Suit Against the Department of Labor Challenging New Overtime Rule

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In late September, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt joined a suit challenging the new Department of Labor overtime rule. The new rule would go into effect December 1, 2016, and doubles the salary required to be exempt from overtime. Pruitt, and others, are concerned that the new rule will harm small businesses that cannot afford to meet the costly requirements. There are 20 other states that are joining the suit.

What Is the New Rule?

The new rule precludes businesses from exempting employees with salaries up to $47,476 per year from receiving overtime. Before its promulgation, the Department of Labor set the minimum salary requirement at $23,660 per year. Additionally, the rule requires that the salary minimum increase every three years.

The new rule will allow 4 million additional Americans to collect overtime.

This rule follows on the heels of a national movement to increase the minimum wages across the country. Perhaps in response to the attention Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders brought to the issue during his presidential campaign, several states and cities have increased, or pledged to increase, the minimum wage over the past year.

The Argument for the New Rule

The argument for the new rule is that the Department of Labor has not updated the overtime rule in many years, so it does not adequately compensate employees for their hard work. Proponents also argue that the new rule is much simpler than the previous rules. This means that ideally, businesses can more easily understand and apply the rules.

The Argument Against the New Rule

The states argue that the new rule violates the 10th Amendment by mandating the salary scheme for state employees. The 10th Amendment preserves the rights of the states and prohibits the federal government from upsetting the balance between state and federal power. Furthermore, the states claim that this will cause extreme hardship when planning state employee salaries by straining the already thin budgets.

In addition to the states, businesses claim that the new rule will cause layoffs, reduction in hours and many businesses to close down. Furthermore, they argue that three-year increases are unnecessary as the cost of living significantly varies from state to state.

Starting a New Business?

This new rule could cause stress on your new business. Luckily, Rick Dane Moore & Associates Law Firm can help you determine the best way to structure your new business. Additionally, our firm can help solve any business disputes that may arise in the future. Located in Norman, Oklahoma, our attorneys are specialized professionals ready to provide a variety of services. To get started, contact the business law specialists at Rick Dane Moore & Associates Law Firm, P.L.L.C. today at (405) 366-0373.

Supplier Accuses General Motors of Breach of Contract in New Lawsuit

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Automotive giant General Motors (GM) is at the center of a new lawsuit brought by creditors for a supplier, Clark-Cutler-McDermott Co. (CCM), after the latter made claims of breach of contract, deceptive business practices and fraud.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed last month in Massachusetts, CCM has accused GM of scheming to protect its own interests, while executing a calculated plan to exploit CCM for its own capital gain. CCM previously produced parts for GM vehicles, including dash, floor and pillar insulators, and wheelhouse liners for GM products in North America. In July of this year, GM announced that it had identified other suppliers who could provide similar parts.

Court documents also reference internal GM emails, which CCM argues illustrate the automaker’s intention to exit the partnership, despite an earlier agreement to participate in good-faith negotiations to preserve the relationship.

CCM has also argued that GM’s actions were deceptive and unfair, and ultimately caused irreparable damage to the company and its creditors.

Breach of Contract

Contracts are legally binding documents where individual parties reach an agreement to do (or not do) something. An action may be considered to be a breach of contract if any one of those parties fails to honor the terms of the original agreement.

By failing to uphold their end of the bargain, the breaching party is denying other parties their contractual rights. When this occurs, the breaching party can be held responsible for compensation and other damages, as well as court-related fees.

The most important thing to remember about contracts is that they don’t necessarily have to be formally put into writing in order to be enforceable.

For example, a credit card transaction, or check written between parties, can be used to authenticate the existence of a contract or agreement. In some cases, even oral contracts may be considered valid and open to a lawsuit in the event of a breach.

However, the latter is typically reserved for parties that have a long-standing contractual relationship, like the relationship between vendors, suppliers or service providers.

If you or someone you know are dealing with a potential breach of contract situation, the best thing you can do is consult with a qualified attorney, who can evaluate the contract in question and determine what, if any, options are available for the recovery of damages.

Breach of Contract Attorneys in Oklahoma

That’s where the skilled business attorneys at Rick Dane Moore and Associates come in. Our legal team has many years of experience in handling contract disputes, from both a negotiation and litigation standpoint. Over the course of our firm’s history, we have handled a variety of contractual-based cases, including those complicated by fraud or by breaching a special relationship.

Our team of dedicated attorneys is incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to this area of law, and can provide the sound legal guidance you are looking for during this complicated and difficult time.

If you believe you have a breach of contract case, we encourage you to contact our law office today. To schedule a preliminary consultation to assess your situation, contact the business attorneys at Rick Dane Moore and Associates today at (405) 366-0373.

Breach of Contract Claim Results in $2M Settlement

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Earlier this month, an Ohio judge ruled against the state School Facilities Commission, and another architect, in a breach of contract claim that was brought by a contractor after a construction project for dormitories located at the Ohio State School for the Deaf and the Ohio State School for the Blind.

The settlement, which was valued at $2 million, was awarded after the court determined that the state agency delayed the valuable construction project – an estimated $44 million – due to budgeting problems and other politics.

Additionally, the company that won the settlement – TransAmerica Building Co. – claimed that the agency requested work that extended beyond the scope of the original contract.

Originally, the company sought $3.8 million in damages from the state agency, after it was denied payment due to the contract dispute. In addition to ruling in favor of the contractor, the court also ruled against a countersuit brought by the state.

Breach of Contract Claims

When someone signs a contract, they are agreeing to do (or not do) something. When one of the parties fails to honor the agreement, or voluntarily does something they are not supposed to according to the scope of the agreement, it is known as breach of contract. In the business world, this is a fairly common dispute.

It’s important to note, however, that contracts do not need to be in writing, or of a formal nature, in order to be enforceable by law. For example, there are a number of factors that can be utilized to prove the validity or existence of a contract or other agreement, including written correspondence or the exchange of funds, such as writing a check or a credit card transaction.

Oral contracts can also be considered valid under law, though these scenarios typically involve parties that have shared a long-standing relationship, like those seen with vendors or service providers.

In a situation where breach of contract occurs, it is usually the party upholding the contractual agreement that is able to recover damages or other compensation, depending on what the court or mediation deems appropriate. That also means that the breaching party will likely be held responsible for covering any compensation, damages or related court costs.

Have you or someone you know experienced a breach of contract or related contract dispute? If so, it is important to understand that there are legal options available to you, depending on your situation. Only a qualified attorney who specializes in business law can help you assess your case and recommend a course of action towards mediation or (if necessary) litigation.

Breach of Contract Attorneys in Norman, Oklahoma

If you reside in Norman, Oklahoma or the surrounding communities, the skilled business attorneys at Rick Dane Moore & Associates Law Firm, P.L.L.C. can help. Our firm specializes exclusively in a wide array of business law matters, including breach of contract and other contract disputes. Whether you are dealing with a formal contract or a long-standing business relationship, our attorneys have the skills, experience and legal knowledge necessary to see your claim through to a favorable and successful end.

We invite you to schedule a preliminary consultation with a member of our legal team, to help evaluate your case as quickly as possible. To get started, contact the business law specialists at Rick Dane Moore & Associates Law Firm, P.L.L.C. today at (405) 366-0373.

Court Delivers Decisive Blow in IP Dispute Between Former Partners

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An ongoing intellectual property (IP) dispute between a biotech firm and one of Delaware’s leading research institutions was dealt a decisive blow late last month, after a judge ruled in favor of the biotech company.

iBio, the biotech firm in question, had previously been located in Delaware and enjoyed a decade-long partnership with the Fraunhofer USA Center for Molecular Biotechnology, before the relationship began to sour back in 2013. Under the terms of the former partnership, Fraunhofer was responsible for developing the science behind certain vaccines, while iBio owned and licensed the science to other pharmaceutical organizations.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed by iBio, the partnership terms were allegedly breached when the firm discovered that Fraunhofer had been working with a competitor from Canada.

To an extent, the recent decision echoes this sentiment, as the court ruled that iBio should be entitled to exclusive ownership of technology scientists at the state research center. And while the court’s decision does address one of the key questions in the case, it does not fully resolve the existing intellectual property suit.

Business Litigation

Business disputes arise everyday, and can take many different forms. Though some of these may be more straightforward, there are many commercial matters that are more complex. Such matters often require litigation, which must be handled by an attorney that specializes in this area of law.

Typically, business litigation involves some sort of dispute between individuals or entities, including those involving Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP), Limited Liability Companies (LLC), partnerships, corporations, trusts, franchises and agencies. Though the structure of a business may vary, many business partnerships are formed in a similar way – one partner develops the concept or idea, while the other puts up the financial collateral necessary.

Unfortunately, many relationships like this can sour, especially if the financing partner is comfortable running the business without the other partner. In many cases, they cut the other partner out. This can be particularly difficult to address amicably, and, depending on the agreement in place, the other partner could have substantial ground for a business dispute.

In any situation involving a business dispute, it is always best to consult with a qualified commercial law attorney. Though the situations can vary, depending on the type of dispute and the industry, the approach to these types of legal claims is very much the same – you need to protect your interests as a stakeholder or investor. Only an attorney specializing in business litigation understands how to protect your rights as contributor to the business.

If you or someone you know is dealing with a business dispute, know that you are not alone, and there are resources available to you if you are exploring litigation or other legal action.

Business Litigation Attorneys in Norman, Oklahoma

That’s where the highly skilled commercial law attorneys of Rick Dane Moore & Associates Law Firm, P.L.L.C. come in. Our team of commercial law specialists have a great deal of experience in handling complex business matters, and have the skills necessary to handle your case in a court setting, if necessary. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your business dispute, our firm can provide the sound counsel you need to see your case through to a favorable end.

To learn more, we invite you to contact the business litigation attorneys at Rick Dane Moore & Associates Law Firm, P.L.L.C. at (405) 366-0373 to schedule an initial consultation.