Commercial litigation is a term used to encompass all federal or state-based legal disputes that involve business entities. As one can imagine, this encompasses a vast number of different types of legal issues, ranging from debt-based to product liability to antitrust lawsuits. Some of the most common types of complex commercial litigation include:
These cases involve the relationship between the company as an employer and those who work for it, the employees. Both employees and employers have different legal obligations, depending upon the circumstances. Examples would include an employee’s duty to protect trade secrets and an employer’s duty to comply with minimum wage laws. Violations by either party may result in costly litigation.
Breach of Contract
A breach of contract can be encountered during mergers and acquisitions of companies, during the purchases and sales of businesses, or when there are transactions involving business assets or real estate. Breach of contract may also be an issue regarding agreements to provide goods or services. A failure to uphold the entire terms of the contract may result in litigation.
Intellectual Property Disputes
These disputes arise from a disagreement regarding the patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets (intellectual property) of an organization. If an external party is misusing any of your intellectual property or you are using another’s intellectual property without the required permissions, litigation may become necessary. Intellectual property disputes can sometimes also involve a specific employee who contributed to the development of any intellectual property and the employer company. These cases often involve highly complex and technical details.
Product & Professional Liability
When a professional is hired, their work is expected to meet industry standards, and they are required to follow through on the full terms of any business agreement. Additionally, when a product is purchased, it is expected to meet the standards for quality, safety, and reliability anticipated. A failure to meet these standards would in many cases, result in a claim against a business’s liability insurance. In instances when the insurance coverage is insufficient or there is gross negligence, a company may be sued.
Data Breach Litigation
In recent years, data breach and cybersecurity litigation have been growing as a result of increasing numbers of cyberattacks and hacking activities. In certain instances, companies who have not developed and implemented proper safeguards for their customers’ personal information may be liable for damages as a result of the data breach. As the federal government and individual states move toward expanding and enhancing laws that provide greater protections for consumer data, this type of litigation will likely continue to increase in frequency.
Ensuring You Are Represented Adequately
While these five types of litigation represent some of the more commonly encountered scenarios in commercial litigation, businesses face a host of other litigious threats, including but not limited to:
- Bad Faith
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty
- Business Torts
- Class Action Lawsuits
- Fraud, Misrepresentation, and False Claims
- Insurance Related
- International Disputes
- LLC Member Disputes
- Multi-Jurisdictional Issues
- Partnership Disputes
- Real Estate and Land Use
- Regulatory Non-Compliance
- Restrictive Covenant
- Securities Litigation
- Shareholder Disputes and Derivative Actions
- Tax Disputes
- Unfair Competition
Simply put, today’s businesses face many potential commercial disputes that can be encountered at any time. In addition to the many types of litigation that a company may face, it’s crucial to realize that laws change, rules and regulations change, the economy changes, and political administrations change. Furthermore, some of these cases wind up in federal court when there is a likelihood of diversity jurisdiction. All of these elements represent additional complexities that must be taken into consideration during commercial litigation.
Because these disputes tend to escalate quickly, securing legal representation early on in the process and mapping out a sound legal strategy can significantly contribute to achieving the best possible outcomes. This is only accomplished by securing the appropriate level of legal representation needed for the unique circumstances you face.
In many instances, securing legal advice at the outset of your business can decrease the likelihood of ever needing to use legal resources for an actual lawsuit. However, if you find yourself in need of legal representation for commercial litigation, you will want to secure a firm or individual who is an expert on the particular type of legal issue at hand. Doing so will ensure that you have a competent attorney who understands the complexities of these issues and who will work to achieve the best possible outcome – this action is the only way to ensure that you are not underrepresented in a lawsuit of this nature.