Business owner prevails in licensing dispute with Texas officials

When most people think of business litigation matters, they likely envision everything from breaches of contract and fiduciary duty to shareholder and partnership disputes.

While this is correct, it's important to understand that business litigation can also encompass other smaller -- yet equally important -- matters such as licensing disputes. Indeed, if state officials unfairly deny a business owner the necessary licensure, they will be unable to earn the profits they have otherwise worked so hard to earn.

Interestingly enough, Texas was recently the scene of a fascinating licensing dispute case involving allegations that state officials violated the constitutional rights of a business owner.

The business owner runs the Institute of Ancestral Braiding out of a local community center here in Dallas, where she teaches classes on the intricate art of hair braiding.

Sometime in 2012, she was approached by state officials who informed her that even though she had a license to braid hair, she was lacking both a barber instructors' license and facilities that were compliant with barber school regulations. As such, none of her students could legally secure work braiding hair.

In order to become compliant with state regulations and secure the necessary licensure, the business owner was told she would have to install at least five sinks and ten work stations complete with reclining chairs, buy textbooks and move to a bigger location.

Understandably upset, the business owner filed a federal lawsuit alleging that officials in the Lone Star State had violated her constitutional right to due process.

In a decision issued this week, the presiding judge sided with the business owner, ruling that Texas officials had indeed failed to "advance public health, public safety, or any other legitimate government interest.” Furthermore, he expressed concern that the state was unable to produce evidence of even one licensed barber school in the state that specialized in the type of hair braiding practiced by the business owner.

What this case serves to underscore is that when business owners encounter licensing problems or other business-related matters that jeopardize their enterprise, they should strongly consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible to learn more about their rights and their options.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Texas hair-braider who fought licensing rules wins in court," Jacob Gershman, Jan. 8, 2014

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