What is commercial law, and how, if at all, does it apply to my business?
Commercial law in a more strict legal sense is a segment of civil law that applies to the rights, obligations, duties, and conduct of persons engaged in a commerce-type business, predominately in goods versus services. It governed by a body of law known as the Uniform Commercial Code, and it is aimed at promoting uniformity across the states to enhance business as it relates to the manufacture, shipment, and receipt of goods (as opposed to services).
Both goods and services are controlled by contract law, but there is more commonality and uniformity for goods because of the statutory provisions under the Uniform Commercial Code and their interstate nature. For this reason, if your business manufacturers goods, it is important to have commercial attorneys who know and understand the UCC statutory law and the law applicable to services, which are sometimes very similar but also different.
Specifically, a commercial attorney represents businesses that are in the industry of merchandising, trade, purchasing/selling goods, etc. As such, commercial lawyers may addresses business issues ranging from: shipments of goods by land and sea; merchant shipping; marine, fire, life and accident insurance; corporate contracts; manufacture and sale of consumer goods; retail stores; wholesale outlets, etc. A commercial lawyer may even consult maritime lawyers to international lawyers depending on the complexity of the legal issue before them.
This again is largely governed by the Uniform Commercial Codes as adopted in Indiana, if the predominate type of business is the sale of goods – from manufacture to retail. Each state has caselaw making important distinctions from state to state. Where transactions have problems and a connection with the State, Indiana commercial litigation attorneys may represent and assist you in demands for breach of statutory duties between businesses and/or individuals in matters of breach of a fiduciary (a relationship of trust) duty, purchasing and sales agreements, contracts, business torts (injury), trade secrets, anti-trust litigation, debtor/creditor disputes, unfair competition, employment disputes, fraud, breach of contract, partnership and limited liability company disputes, dissolution of a business, mergers and acquisitions of business, secure transactions, shareholder or derivative actions, among others.
Where this is insufficient, a lawsuit may be filed and at that time an Indiana commercial litigation attorney will answer the complaint and likely obtain co-counsel in the other state involving the litigation, if there is a multi-state dimension, which is often the case because goods move freely in commerce. Because of multiple counsels and the inherent complexity of lawsuits involving multiple states and different applications of the UCC, it is important to select your commercial lawyer carefully, cognizant of the need and issue at hand.
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