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  • Douglas J. Shumway

Big Business: Lawyers in San Antonio scour legal business practices


Business climates vary across states, and lawyers in San Antonio know that Texas offers a particularly auspicious environment for businesses boasting no state income tax and a robust labor economy. So, it’s no wonder that Texas has issued an invitation for Siracha sauce makers to relocate to the Lone Star State. And the invitation doesn’t come from just another potential commercial landlord or development site, but from a State Representative himself, who wrote a letter to the CEO of Huy Fong Foods with a special invitation.

Lawyers in San Antonio will be well aware that the company who puts out the spicy “rooster sauce” is currently involved in a lawsuit stemming from new regulations for food manufacturers. Not only in violation of regulations, the company has also received several complaints from local residents that the Siracha factory emits harmful odors that burn their eyes and throats. Lawyers in San Antonio would do well to take notice of such complaints if Siracha factories intend to relocate to Texas.

State representative Jason Villalba, who invited the CEO of Huy Fong Foods (maker of Siracha) to concoct the sauce in Texas, is also a corporate attorney, and his comment that he is “troubled by the government interference of private-job-creating businesses” is a strong endorsement for Texas business practices. And while the Texas economy might appreciate the potential growth inspired by a move from Huy Fong Foods to its countryside, Texas residents may not. Class action lawsuits against businesses are often long and drawn out, and lawyers in San Antonio know that both sides of such suits are often fraught with intricate legal details that are played out over time. In the meantime, however, Villalba has not received a response from Huy Fong Foods.

If the Siracha sauce maker does relocate to Texas, the Lone Star State will offer a home to yet another controversial business partnership. Texas is the birthplace of Southwest Airlines and provides a backdrop for Southwest’s love affair with SeaWorld San Antonio, which was recently under sharp public scrutiny, although no lawyers in San Antonio have yet been invited to examine the matter. More than 27,000 signatures adorn the petition started on Change.org that calls for Southwest to end its partnership with Sea World, based on questions about how Sea World captures and cares for its animals and trainers. The recent release of “Blackfish,” an incendiary documentary, raised suspicions about underhanded activity unexamined by lawyers in San Antonio, or anywhere else, for that matter. The public outcry is evidenced not only in the petition but through several cancellations of performances at Sea World by at least eight artists, including Willie Nelson.

While the partnership between Southwest Airlines and Sea World looks likely to continue, the public is doing quite enough to make sure that people are paying attention to its business practices. And although Siracha may be a condiment welcomed by some, it may not be by all, and lawyers in San Antonio may yet have the last word on the matter of food manufacturer regulation compliance.


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