Business owners fear many things. They worry about the competition, a loss of customers, the inability to get products and goods in a timely manner, and more. However, few things strike fear in the heart of a business owner as much as commercial litigation. They fear the cost of hiring an attorney, the time involved in resolving the matter, and the damage the suit might do to their reputation. The legal representation must remain the top priority at this time, as a person needs the right resources in this difficult situation.
Commercial litigation covers many areas, and a Houston business litigation attorney must remain aware of any changes that could impact a client’s case. With the help of this attorney, a business owner discovers they gain a better understanding of commercial litigation and what it entails as well as how to prepare for their suit. What do they need to know at this time?
The Definition of Commercial Litigation
Civil litigation comes with no criminal charges. Rather, the legal dispute involves two or more parties, with one party suing the other to enforce or defend a legal right. The plaintiff or person who filed the suit wishes to be compensated in some manner. Often, they desire monetary compensation, but they may also request a certain action be carried out as a form of compensation.
Commercial litigation revolves around the same principle with the key difference being one party in the dispute is a business entity rather than an individual. As a result, this type of litigation differs in some ways from conventional civil litigation cases. Each party in the case must understand these differences and similarities.
With both civil and commercial litigation, the plaintiff hires an attorney who will file suit against one or more defendants. Each side investigates the matter to uncover the truth regarding the claims made in the suit. Attorneys working on behalf of the plaintiff and defendant(s) research previous cases to see how the law applies to the matter at hand and may negotiate on behalf of their client(s).
Discovery serves as part of this process, and the attorneys take part in motion practice. The case may end up in court, and the attorneys represent their clients if the case reaches this stage. Following the trial, the attorneys file any necessary motions and take other actions depending on the case.
Commercial Litigation Cases
Many cases fall under the commercial litigation category. For example, an individual looking to file an antitrust or breach of duty case needs a commercial litigation attorney. The same holds when an individual has an employment issue or will be filing an LLC membership dispute. Any individual who has taken part in a class-action lawsuit has been involved in a commercial litigation case, and a business owner might turn to a commercial litigation attorney when someone has filed a product liability lawsuit.
These serve as only a few of many types of commercial litigation lawsuits today. Misrepresentation actions, tax disputes, and shareholder disputes also fall under this category. If there is any question as to which attorney is needed, contact a commercial litigation firm for advice on where to turn for help. Let’s look at some of these areas in more depth.
Antitrust cases involve allegations of a company failing to comply with competition regulations. The business practices of the company being sued violate these regulations in one or more ways. At times, antitrust suits are both civil and criminal.
When a business doesn’t comply with all conditions found in a legally binding contract, they find themselves in breach of contract. The other party retains the right to start civil proceedings in this situation, and any person or entity who is aggrieved in this manner has this right.
Individuals who have been harmed in some way by a company may come together and file a class-action lawsuit against this company. These suits often involved defective products, overcharges, or privacy violations.
Intellectual property infringement comes in many forms. A company may infringe upon a copyright, trademark, or patent. In this situation, the victim needs to work with an intellectual property attorney to ensure others do not benefit from their hard work.
Civil and criminal sanctions may become an issue for any company that fails to follow industry regulations. Attorneys who take on these types of cases often focus on a particular industry rather than taking on cases from a range of industries, as they must know the regulations for that sector and how they impact each case.
When an issue arises between an investor and an issuer of a security, the matter might make its way to a courtroom. If this happens, the parties need to work with a securities litigation attorney.
Comparing Commercial Litigation to Other Types of Lawsuits
Commercial litigation differs from other types of litigation in the parties involved in the suit. Any time there is a business involved in a lawsuit, issues arise that are more specialized or complex than see with conventional civil litigation. Many of these cases land in federal court as opposed to state court, and the case may span several districts or states. This depends on the parties involved in the suit, how many there are, and the types.
Commercial litigation cases typically cost more to resolve, as they involve discovery and the use of forensic experts. Party identification defines commercial litigation, as the suit must involve at least one business. For this reason, certain cases tend to always fall under the commercial litigation practice area.
Civil litigation involves a legal dispute between two or more parties who wish to obtain monetary compensation as opposed to criminal sanctions. Commercial litigation differs in who is taking part in the case. A minimum of one party must be a business entity.
Mesothelioma litigation falls under commercial litigation but focuses on individuals impacted by cancer-causing asbestos. These suits allege the companies responsible for manufacturing these products knew they were harmful to human health and continued to sell them to the public.
Patent litigation cases arise when a company feels its patent or trademark has been infringed upon by another party. Highly specialized attorneys typically take on these cases and hold more than one degree. In addition to pursuing their law degree, they opted to secure a second degree in another field.
Personal injury cases fall under the commercial litigation category when the injured party sues a business rather than an individual. This type of case also falls under the civil litigation category, as the individual is pursuing monetary damages as opposed to criminal sanctions.
At times, a court may choose to initiate a lawsuit on behalf of a community, doing so to protect or maintain the community’s well-being. This is known as public interest litigation. The court takes this action when there are public health concerns, environmental issues, and things of that nature.
Commercial or Civil Litigation?
When learning the differences between commercial and civil litigation, many people express surprise when they learn most commercial litigation cases also fall into the civil litigation category. The nature of business activities leads to a person seeking monetary damages if they feel they have been harmed by the business entity. Nevertheless, a commercial litigation suit might be accompanied by criminal charges. One or more members of the business may be held civilly liable for their actions in a court of law.
Commercial Litigation Today
Changes in the world affect the legal landscape. For instance, when a new political administration comes in, rules and regulations affecting different industries often change. The economy plays a role in commercial litigation as do court appointments. As a result, this field must constantly adapt to the evolving commercial litigation environment.
Regardless of changes in commerce, people recognize there will always be commercial litigation. While technology continues to advance at a rapid rate, people still find reasons to litigate. Many lawsuits filed today involved high-tech companies that didn’t exist just a few short decades ago. Cases involving these companies tend to be high risk and involve large sums of money. This is due to the nature of these suits, which often involve trade secrets, big-dollar contracts, or intellectual property.
Clients may change their focus in the future. At the same time, firms handling civil and commercial litigation cases must invest in emerging technologies to better meet the needs of clients. As a result, insiders expect this practice area to grow in the coming years.
If you find you are being sued for any reason, take action quickly. Speak with commercial litigation attorneys to find one you are comfortable with who can work to resolve the matter before it escalates. Many cases of this type never make it to a courtroom, as the attorney for the parties reaches a settlement that is both time- and cost-effective. However, achieving this goal depends in part on the attorney selected.
Make certain you choose one with a proven track record and experience in your industry. Ask about similar cases they have handled and how they have been resolved. Learn how many of these cases made it to a courtroom, as you need an attorney who will take whatever steps are necessary to protect your interests. At times, this means going before a judge or jury. The attorney has to be willing to take this step, as you must protect your business at all costs. You’ve worked hard to get where you are today and need to preserve this work. The right attorney will help you do so.