Did you know that 9 out of 10 businesses in the U.S. will face a lawsuit at least once?
When you start a business, the last thing on your mind is spending time in court defending your business or even suing another party. Unfortunately, commercial litigation is inevitable.
In the course of running a business, several legal issues will arise, and some of them will end up in a court of law.
Although there are instances where you don't need any professional legal help, there are others where hiring a commercial litigation attorney can be what makes all the difference.
Keep reading this article and you'll know exactly when you shouldn't wait to contact an attorney.
1. Partnership Disputes
If you've partnered up with one or more people or organizations to establish a business, you're at risk of a partnership dispute that could escalate to a lawsuit. Although you have signed partnership agreements fleshing out the responsibilities of all partners, one or more parties may feel aggrieved and raise a dispute.
For example, if a partner isn't fulfilling their obligations according to the agreement, the other has the right to complain. Partnership disputes can be resolved quickly and amicably without involving any legal processes. However, sometimes a partner can go straight to court and sue.
If that's the situation you're in, get a business litigation attorney immediately and ensure they have plenty of experience dealing with partnership disputes. When a matter gets to court and you're the defendant, you have no choice but to mount a legal defense. If you ignore it, a default judgment can be issued against you.
Related to partnership disputes are shareholder disputes. If your business is a corporation, it has a responsibility to its shareholders. If they disagree with how the business is being run, they can seek redress in court.
Whether they're right or not, that's not for you to determine. Hire a commercial litigation attorney and let them defend the company.
2. Intellectual Property Theft
Your business probably owns some intellectual property. These include copyrights, patents, trade secrets, and trademarks. There are laws that give IP holders exclusive ownership and use of their intellectual property.
This, though, doesn't necessarily stop unscrupulous people from stealing your intellectual property and using it for their own commercial gain. For example, another company can start manufacturing and selling a competing product that infringes on your patent.
In this instance, you need to hire a business litigation attorney who specializes in IP law. They'll likely start by sending a patent infringement letter to the company or go ahead and sue if the infringement is severe. In court, your attorney will prove how your patent has been infringed, and pursue the case until you're compensated fairly.
It's also possible that your company is the one that's on the wrong end of an IP theft lawsuit. These lawsuits can result in multi-million-dollar fines, so it's important that you have the right defense team. Don't hesitate to hire a litigation attorney to help you fight the suit.
3. Labor/Employment Disputes
As a business owner or employer, one of your goals is to build a tight-knit team of employees. Sadly, cracks can emerge over time, and some of your employees can turn against your company in court.
To be fair, almost every organization with employees has to deal with labor disputes at some point. What makes the difference is how severe these disputes get. While some can be settled in boardrooms, others can spiral into nasty lawsuits.
Even when a labor dispute looks simple, don't make the mistake of not hiring an employment litigation attorney. They will strive to strike a favorable settlement with the employees if they believe the issue being raised has merit. Letting labor disputes go to court increases your expenses and your company's reputation may take a hit.
There are also cases when employees can unfairly target your company. Your attorney will fight the suit in court and ensure the matter ends justly.
Most labor disputes can be prevented by creating employment contracts. Every employee has a duty to abide by the contract they signed, of course as long as all the contractual conditions are within the law.
This raises another instance when you must get legal services. An attorney will draw suitable employment contracts for your company.
4. Breach of Contract
Speaking of contracts, did you know that the average organization has between 2,000 to 4,000 contracts? In addition to employment contracts, you will also deal with non-disclosure agreements, sales contracts, property and equipment leases, and more.
Contracts protect all involved parties from losses, financial or otherwise. But this doesn't stop some parties to the contract from breaching it. Breach of contract can come up in various ways, including failure to complete a defined job, failure to pay on time, and supply of substandard goods.
The aggrieved party will raise their concerns and demands. If there's nothing positive forthcoming, they will go ahead and sue.
Whether you're the party that's suing or being sued, the first thing you ought to do is lawyer up. Business lawyers are experts in contract law, so they'll have the tools to help you with your case.
Know When to Have a Commercial Litigation Attorney in Your Corner
For some large companies, corporate litigation is the order of the day. But as a small business, you don't have the funds to engage in unnecessary litigation.
Unfortunately, as the article has demonstrated, there are times when you have to litigate, and it's important that you have a commercial litigation attorney on your team.
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