Board Certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization
Matthew Kornhauser, an equity partner in the Hoover Slovacek litigation practice, has been handling complex commercial disputes on behalf of businesses and successful business professionals since 1986. He is involved in every aspect of the litigation process including pre-trial discovery, trial work and appellate arguments. He also engages in mediation and arbitration when appropriate for dispute resolution.
Mr. Kornhauser has represented clients in Texas State District Courts, The United States District Courts for the Southern District of Texas, The United States Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit and the United States Supreme Court. He serves on the Hoover Slovacek executive committee and has an integral role in establishing firm processes and procedures, as well as overseeing the management of operations as they pertain to the professionals and staff, client dealings and business development.
Mr. Kornhauser primarily represents real estate owners, investors, developers, builders, commercial landlords, Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT), banks, corporations (both publicly traded and privately held), trusts, partners/partnerships, and Homeowners Associations (HOAs). His practice is evenly divided between representing plaintiffs and defendants and he has earned a distinguished reputation for his expertise in land use matters, particularly restrictive covenants relating to commercial/residential developments and golf course and country club communities. In fact, Mr. Kornhauser recently testified before the State of Texas Legislature and was instrumental in the passage of a law that restricted the manner in which property located within a golf course community can be re-platted.
Mr. Kornhauser is one of the few attorneys in the country who specializes in legal disputes relating to the use of golf course property. Specifically, Mr. Kornhauser represents clients concerning land use disputes that arise when the owner of a subdivision golf course seeks to redevelop the property for commercial or residential use. Mr. Kornhauser has successfully prosecuted suits which have imposed an implied “golf-use only” restriction on an unrestricted subdivision golf course and prevented the owner from developing it for commercial use. Mr. Kornhauser has also successfully represented owners of golf courses in suits brought by homeowners to impose implied “golf use only” restrictions on the unrestricted subdivision golf course. Mr. Kornhauser also represents clients relating to golf course land use matters that arise within municipalities, including rezoning and replating matters which seek to change the use designation of golf course property. Mr. Kornhauser has also testified to legislative subcommittees in Texas which have passed legislation designed to preserve the integrity of subdivision golf courses. Mr. Kornhauser is the author of legal and other articles on these issues, most notably, “The Battle Between Homeowners and Developers, When a golf course owner decides to redevelop his course, he could face implied restrictions” which appeared in the winter 2013 edition of Golf Inc. magazine. For more information visit GolfCourseLawyers.com.
Mr. Kornhauser has also developed a niche practice involving issues related to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). As more and more businesses are involved in global trade, particularly those domiciled in international cities like Houston, complex matters relating to foreign policy, national security, United Nation’s mandates, and other compliance issues often come into play. Mr. Kornhauser works with small- and mid-sized businesses and multinational clients who are engaged in global trade activities where such disputes have arisen.
Real Estate Litigation
- Mr. Kornhauser recently obtained a successful judgment on behalf of a 1,200 Homeowners’ Association (“HOA”) in a lawsuit that sought to impose an implied reciprocal negative easement (IRNE) against owners of the Golf Course which is located within the golf course community. The owners of the golf course wished to develop the land and they sought to prohibit development that did not involve golf course/recreational use. The jury ruled in favor of the HOA and restricted development of the property, a huge victory for a community that would have been decimated by the owners’ intended non-recreational uses (multi-family and commercial) for the property. The HOA was also awarded $1 million in legal fees. The case was highly publicized and brought Mr. Kornhauser much respect and many referrals due to his knowledge in golf course-related replatting matters. Inwood Forest Community Improvement Association, et. al. v. Inwood Forest Partners, L.P., et. al.; In the 157th Judicial District Court of Harris County, Texas.
- Mr. Kornhauser recently obtained a successful Judgment on behalf of a real estate developer in a suit brought by a homeowner association to impose an implied reciprocal negative easement on a subdivision golf course located in Houston Texas. After a two week trial, the jury found that there was not a general plan or scheme of development whereby the property was implicitly restricted. The jury also found that the golf course property was not subject to Texas Local Government Code section 212.0155. Kevin Donnellan, et. al. v. Pinehurst Trail Holdings, L.L.C.; In the 152nd Judicial District Court of Harris County, Texas.
- Mr. Kornhauser has also negotiated scores of land use agreements between HOAS, landowners, and subdivision golf course owners to address development concerns within various golf course communities.
- Mr. Kornhauser has also recently secured a successful jury verdict in favor of a commercial real estate investor who sued his co venturer for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, conspiracy, breach of contract, and aiding abetting, After a two week trial, the jury awarded Mr. Kornhauser’s client millions in actual damages, punitive damages, and attorneys fees. Junshuo Xu, et. al. v. Ze Run, et. al.; In the 129th Judicial District Court of Harris County, Texas.
- Mr. Kornhauser represented a Houston-based oil equipment manufacturer in an OFAC case brought by the US Government that accused it of facilitating the exportation of goods to outlawed nations, namely Sudan. The suit involved interpretations of complex International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) laws and various federal statutes aimed at eliminating improper exportation. After a lengthy four-year investigation, Mr. Kornhauser was able to successfully negotiate fines/penalties down to $2 million (from $25 million) and extended the payout to a five-year period. No executive or member of company management was indicted; no cease-and-desist order was granted; and the company is continuing to operate as “business as usual.”
- In a jury trial recently prosecuted in the US District Court, Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division, Mr. Kornhauser successfully defended a misappropriation of trade secret and breach of confidentiality agreement lawsuit. In this case, the jury unanimously returned a “no” answer to every jury question. Based on the jury’s verdict, the US District Judge entered a judgment for the defense. See Demilec (USA) Inc. v. Steven Bohanon, In the United States District Court Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division, Cause Number 4:16-CV-585-A.
Mr. Kornhauser has devised numerous seminars and addressed the Texas Bar on a variety of legal topics that relate to commercial landlord laws, easements, adverse possession, and banking issues involving remedies including foreclosures and other related matters. He has also delivered many speeches and presentations on litigation prevention and employment and general business law.
Professional Associations and Memberships:
- State Bar of Texas, Member
- Houston Bar Association, Member
- American Board Association, Member
- Texas Association of Bank Counsel, Member
- Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Houston, Member, Board of Directors
- Board Certification in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization
PRO BONO ACTIVITIES/APPOINTMENTS:
- Appointed by Dan Patrick, Lieutenant Governor of Texas, to the Texas Genocide and Holocaust Commission. Mr. Kornhauser served on this commission from 2016-2021.
- Golf Course Repurposing: Addressing the Issues of Implied Restrictions, August 28, 2023
- The Battle Between Homeowners and Developers: When a golf course owner decides to redevelop his course, he could face implied restrictions, Golf Inc., Winter Issue, 2013
- Arbitration Clauses in Construction Contracts: Expedient Justice or Potential Pitfall?, Tools of the Trade, Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Houston, Volume 4, Issue 1, Feb. 2005