My business was just sued – what can and should I do? Or I want to set up a new business that might have significant litigation risks, what should I do?
Be it a small business with a single office or a large corporation with several offices, being involved in business litigation can be stressful to the business and difficult to manage with other business affairs. It can often affect the day-to-day operations of the business, cash-flow output of goods or services, and employee relations. Perhaps your business has been sued by a consumer group or by a key supplier. Or maybe there is discontent between owners/partners in a business who have sued each other.
In these situations, a business litigation attorney may come into play, and he or she can work with you to address the key issues, settle, litigate, or determine if this is a lawsuit that will cause the business to close. Your business litigation attorney will communicate with the commercial litigation attorney representing an opposing party to try to reach your legal objectives. Lawyers on both sides, depending on the parameters of the representation, may represent the business entity or individual partner, shareholder, or the like.
Due to the multitude of business models and types and the related issues that businesses may be engaged in and that form the basis for the business and commercial litigation, it is wise to speak with a commercial litigation lawyer who has broad experience in multiple areas of law, including contract law, tort law, and with a strong background in the financial arena related to business litigation. A business litigation attorney should be engaged as soon as you receive notice of a lawsuit.
Another key step after selecting your business litigation attorney, or at the same time, is to calendar deadlines in the litigation and identify the legal problems, such as retention of experts, location of witnesses and evidentiary materials, including key dates when the business management is unavailable for purposes of litigation (such as high season). Usually, consulting with a business litigation attorney on the key dates results in the creation of a “game plan” for you and your business to work through the case and a theme under which to prevail or minimize loss.
In the ideal scenario, before a business is even formed, particularly depending on the nature of its goods or services, meeting with a business litigation lawyer to discuss the formation of a company and the types of protections and specifics of company operations can be helpful in avoiding some potential legal issues and/or litigation down the road. Discussing safeguards is particularly important if the company is one that may have high risk aspects to it.
Business litigation can involve a bewildering array of laws, including laws relating to finances, employee/employer relationships, contracts, and or even the laws governing businesses themselves, such as when corporate meetings may be held. Understanding the interrelationship of these areas of law can provide greater understanding and may help avoid issues for a business in the future. A business litigation lawyer may continue to work with your business from the formation throughout its existence. Further, if a business litigation issue arises, a business litigation attorney who is familiar with your business will be able to help sort out the issues and get your business out of the conflict or dispute in the shortest time with the least exposure.
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