Commercial litigation is legal action that is broadly focused on business interactions, and it is closely related to corporate law. Together, they both tend to greatly impact how a business is structured as well as how it is led. Commercial and corporate law intermingle quite a bit, and their differences can vary from one firm to another. A common way to distinguish them is to view corporate law as items that are directed more towards the inner workings of a business while commercial law addresses how businesses relate to a third party. Much of the time, the dispute can be between businesses.
Needless to say, there are lots of ins and outs when it comes to commercial litigation. Have a look at these basics so you can get started on the right foot if you are caught in this type of legal battle.
CAUSES OF ACTION
Every business runs into trouble at one point or another. The following list provides a few examples of different causes of action that can incite a plaintiff to take legal action. The cases are usually arduous and the stakes are often high.
- Antitrust Litigation– If a corporation is not complying with federal and state business competition regulations, they may be taken to either criminal or civil court, depending on the offense. The offense could relate to how they operate or structure themselves.
- Breach of Contract– This dispute will take place in civil court proceedings regarding violation of a legal clause within a contract.
- Consumer class actions– A consumer might challenge a company if there was an issue with a defective product, false advertising, fraud, or violation of privacy.
- Securities litigation– If the issuer of securities has been fraudulent, investors are likely to sue. The disputes can be dealt with through arbitration or in a state or federal court.
Three broad categories of securities are:
- Debt securities
- Equity securities
- IP Litigation– This is a regarding intellectual property such as patents, trademarks, and copyright infringements. Usually, the disputes are tried in a federal court.
- “Regulator run-ins”– This is a common term used to describe clashes between a company that has chosen not to comply with regulations and those that are adversely affected. The company can expect investigations, as well as civil and/or criminal prosecutions.
COMMON PATHS OF COMMERCIAL LITIGATION
Typically a large team of lawyers will collaborate to work on a case. Exceptional legal support is a must for any business that wants to run smoothly and efficiently. Lawyers in this practice area strive to be adaptable with acute insight and analytical ability.
Ideal Method: Conflict Resolution Outside of Court
It is always ideal to settle a case without having to jump to legal measures. Your legal support will offer valuable advice regarding the best way to approach the opposition in this manner. There are numerous times when a business has been able to nip the issue in the bud right away. In order to do this well, they will want to conduct pre-litigation counseling and risk prevention.
ADR (alternative dispute resolution) is commonly used at this point. It includes implementing one of the following methods:
Arbitration (many commercial contracts now include a requirement for disputing parties to agree to it). Some beneficial elements of arbitration include:
- Corporations are protected
- Companies get to choose decision makers
- Private meeting
Because arbitration has grown in popularity, it can be just as involved as civil litigation with far-reaching discovery, motion practice, and lingering resolutions.
Legal Method: Litigation
More and more litigation occurs in a variety of places. It can be in state or federal court if it isn’t completed in arbitration or administrative hearings. Sometimes the federal government gets involved. Usually the plaintiff sues for money, property, or legal enforcement. Below are a few items to keep in mind when facing commercial litigation.
- The litigation tends to greatly affect how a business conducts itself.
- Each case is unique in regard to subject matter, facts, defense, adversaries, questioning, jury, and judge.
- A clear understanding of the Cause of Action is crucial
- Make sure that the discovery process is thorough
Many commercial attorneys are also experienced in assisting businesses and individuals in disputes that reach the appellate level whether it becomes a state or federal appellate case. They can help ensure that you rise to meet every urgent deadline (including the typical 30 day deadline to initiate an appeal). There will need to be three legal briefs complete with citations during this process.
- Opening Brief
- Responsive Brief
- Reply Brief
With qualified representation, your briefs will hit every mark for the panel of judges to review, and they will make a strong oral argument on your behalf if the court requires it. Understand that although some cases are resolved in a matter of months, other cases can last around a year.
Pro Bono Options
Many times the first consultation is free, but some lawyers also strive to offer pro bono options. In other words, they will handle the case for no charge. In many cases, the service is provided to give back to the community by helping nonprofit organizations and individuals. Many firms now require their newer attorneys to perform a certain amount each year. Some states work with educational institutions in a pro bono program to provide services as well. These services can be extremely useful, but bear in mind that many lawyers that offer this might still be in learning stages, or certain services might be minimal compared to paying clients.
VITAL LEGAL REPRESENTATION
There is no substitute for intelligent quality guidance and representation when entering into commercial litigation. Successful litigators understand the importance of sound judgment paired with finesse and creative approaches. By focusing holistically on key facts and legal concerns, they are able to determine the best strategy to legally protect your business and reach a satisfactory result for the situation at hand.
Strong litigation firms understand the importance of a devoted relationship with their clients, and they are capable of outstanding leadership and management. Find the courageous and capable legal support that you need today.