Commercial litigation describes a broad range of legal disputes that may involve commercial entities. There are many state and federal corporate laws, and any violation could result in commercial litigation. Complex commercial litigation is a subset of all commercial litigation that involves high stakes and describes complicated commercial transactions.
Unlike standard commercial litigation, these complex cases may involve substantial amounts of money, valuable assets that a company has gone to great lengths to grow and protect, multiple parties, and detailed operating agreements with complex financing arrangements. These disputes may also arise when businesses or individuals engage in white-collar crimes.
Examples of cases that may be considered complex commercial cases include:
- Whistleblower/False Claims Act Cases: These cases often involve employees who identify legal or dangerous practices by an employer. To preserve these claims, attorneys must follow specific and strict legal procedures. Filing a False Claims Act is also known as ‘Qui Tam.’ These cases are very specific and must involve coordination with the Office of the US Attorney.
- Partnership & Shareholder Disputes: These cases involve relationships across business owners. When relationships break down in a way that threatens the viability and value of interests held by one or more owners, complex commercial litigation may follow.
- Oppressed Shareholder Cases: In this type of case, an owner holding a minority stake in a business is often treated unfairly or is compensated in a way that isn’t reflective of their ownership interest. Because they are a minority owner, this individual may not be able to address the grievance through standard procedures, and it may result in complex commercial litigation.
- First Amendment Violations: First Amendment cases address incidents where an individual’s freedom of speech, religion, expression, assembly, or right to petition are impeded.
- Intellectual Property Cases: Intellectual property disputes involve violating or misusing copyrighted, trademarked, or patented intellectual property. Thes disputes often hinge on intricate details and highly-technical situations that may require specific knowledge.
- Trade Secret Disputes: Trade secret disputes are similar to intellectual property cases, although these cases often involve a business seeking to enforce a restrictive covenant, such as a confidentiality or non-disclosure provision in a purchase agreement or employment contract. This type of case may also attempt to protect against the release of trade secrets or other confidential information.
- Unfair Competition or Non-Solicitation: This type of case may involve a business attempting to enforce a non-solicitation or non-compete clause in an employment contract or contract. This action may protect against unfair competition by another party, such as a customer or former employee. Parties may also seek legal protection against employers who seek to restrain an employee from working for a competitor.
- Fraud: Fraud cases can include many types of disputes that result in unlawful gains through intentional deception or unethical practices. This may include credit card fraud, bank fraud, tax fraud, and other types of fraud.
- Breach of Contract:Breach of contract cases may occur if either party materially misrepresents their intentions or fails to fulfill their obligations within the contract. In these instances, the injured party may seek damages, such as equitable remedies or monetary payment for losses that result from the breach.
- Customer Lawsuits for Breach of Warranty/Defective Products: Many products come with warranties that attest to the product’s fitness. Breach of warranty and defective product claims can result in class action litigation where multiple plaintiffs join together to take legal action against the business.
- Employer/Employee Disputes: Employer and employee disputes may arise from either federal or state laws that govern employers and their employees. Either party may bring these cases. The employer may initiate legal proceedings if an employee violates a trade secret provision, for instance. The employee may also take legal action if the employer is non-compliant with fair wage or non-discrimination regulations.
This list is indicative of some of the types of cases that may be defined as complex commercial cases; however, it is not comprehensive. Moreover, as the list demonstrates, these cases can quickly become very complicated – which is why they are defined as complex commercial litigation.
And while legal counsel is always a good idea for all commercial litigation, it is especially important for complex commercial cases. A great attorney can move a complex commercial case forward swiftly and accurately interpret the factual and legal complications. With complex underlying agreements, industry conditions, and high stakes, you can benefit from experienced legal expertise. To learn more about the benefits of legal counsel or complex commercial litigation, contact Grellas Shah today!
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