Litigation begins when someone files a complaint with a court or an administrative agency. Business litigation involves disputes arising out of commercial and business relationships, comprising an establishment’s claims against another party such as a company, governmental entity, or groups of individuals.
A business litigation attorney is a legal professional who employs their skills to manage large and small legal issues, such as lawsuits, that any legal entity or business may need to discuss as a regular course of business.
An experienced business litigation attorney can help you navigate the complexities of your commercial dispute from beginning to end.
Here are some of the types of cases that business litigation attorneys represent.
Breach of Contract
A common type of case that business litigation attorneys handle is breach of contract. Contracts govern various aspects of business, such as employment, transactions for goods and services, the company’s structure, and more. Whether a contract is with a client, a supplier, an external business, or more, a breach of contract can be costly. A business’s success relies on the fulfillment of contractual obligations, and when contracts are breached, it may result in some severe consequences.
If left unattended, a breach of contract can seriously harm a business’s reputation, as well as other vital relationships such as relationships with clients.
A breach of contract case occurs as a result of one of the following situations:
- When one party is unable to fulfill their legal obligations within a time frame that was outlined by the contract
- One of the parties does not perform to the promised level
- One of the parties makes it impossible for the other party to perform their duties
- One of the parties doesn’t perform any of its contractual duties.
Breach of contract claims can be divided as material or immaterial. In a material breach, also known as a total breach, occurs when one party is unable to perform their duties or legal obligations in such a way that the purpose of the contract is left unfulfilled. On the other hand, an immaterial breach occurs when most of the duties written in the contract have been performed— as a result, the entire contract cannot be terminated.
Lastly, a party that interferes with a contract between two other parties, resulting in one of the parties breaching the contract, can be held liable for its interference and the resulting financial losses.
Shareholder or Partnership Disputes
Business litigation attorneys also handle disputes between shareholders or partnerships within a business. This means that when a conflict occurs, such as deciding what step your business needs to take next, a lawsuit could occur within a business itself. These types of conflicts involve almost everything from allegations of improperly managing a company to breaches of fiduciary duty. Common shareholder and partnership disputes involve the following situations:
- Management deadlocks when a company is unable to move forward on decisions
- Buy-sell agreements that occur when shareholders are unable to decide when assets are being sold to the company or when companies need to purchase new assets
- Succession planning when the future of a company can lead to many perplexing questions, especially in a family-owned business
- Executive compensation, which is a common type of disagreement that emerges between shareholders regarding compensation for key management individuals
- Corporate regulation violations, which occurs when shareholders or partners act in a way that violates company by-laws
Business litigation attorneys can provide unique insight in helping shareholders and partners mediate or litigate their situation.
Intellectual Property Conflicts
Intellectual property includes things like patents, trademarks, or copyrights. Adequate protection of the intellectual property is integral to commercial success in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape. Litigators can provide protection, counsel, and enforcement to all intellectual property such as trade secrets, internet-related matters, and breaches of security. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) via arbitration and mediation mechanisms is a possible alternative to court litigation.
During arbitration, parties agree to submit the dispute to one or more arbitrators, who then make a binding decision on the dispute. An award of damages through arbitration can be enforced more easily internationally. Mediation procedures, on the other hand, help parties reach a mutual agreement. In mediation, parties are able to keep control of the process, which can preserve good business relations, especially if more parties are involved in the situation.
Business frauds can occur due to deception or misrepresentation through something that has been omitted or claimed. Business fraud, employee fraud, fraud in purchasing or sales of goods and services, and more are involved in fraud disputes handled by business litigation attorneys. Business fraud can result in financial and monetary losses, injunctive relief, potential disgorgement and can significantly harm a business’s reputation or image.
Fraud litigation encompasses a number of legal issues and claims, from civil litigation to commercial litigation claims. These claims include, but aren’t limited to:
- Tortious interference by other parties
- Fraud by a partner or shareholder
- Fraudulent inducement
- Misrepresentation, non-disclosure, or omission
- Intellectual property issues
All businesses are susceptible to fraud at one point or another. In these cases, a business should hire a litigation attorney to help handle their cases and protect their reputation.
Choosing the Right Course of Action
Your business litigation attorney should be willing and able to take on the most complex cases that your business is dealing with. At times it may be recommended to get early negotiation, mediation, or arbitration. At other times, the most cost-effective resolution may be going through a trial. If you’re looking for business litigation attorneys who will serve as zealous advocates for your business, contact Hare | Wynn, Newell & Newton. With more than 130 years in practice, their firm is able to handle a wide variety of complex commercial cases across a broad range of industries.