If you own a business or organization, you are likely subject to commercial litigation. Commercial litigation is an umbrella term for practically any type of disagreement or dispute arising in the context of business. This includes partnership or joint venture disputes, class action lawsuits, breach of contract filings, shareholder disagreements, and more. Commercial litigation encompasses lawsuits stemming from events like copyright and trademark violations or employment disputes.
In the event of commercial litigation, our firm is prepared to stand by your side with expert advice, decisive action, and a commitment to defend your rights. Here is a basic guide to commercial litigation and how our attorneys can help your company or organization overcome the risk and challenge.
Prevent Commercial Litigation Where Possible
Business owners have several tools available to them when it comes to avoiding commercial litigation in the first place. Implementing proper employee and customer policies goes a long way. Further, detailed documentation is critical in all business transactions and communications as it may serve as proof should a dispute arise.
Carrying the proper types of insurance is also essential. Insurance coverage should fulfil the company or organization’s needs and offer adequate liability protection in most disputes. Our litigation attorneys can help your business sift through your policy’s fine print and help ensure that your insurance coverage offers the best protection against commercial litigation possible.
The Process of Commercial Litigation
In civil legal proceedings, the two opposing parties are the plaintiff (the entity initiates the lawsuit and files a complaint) and the defendant (the entity that is being sued). When commercial litigation is brought before a court – which may be in county, state, or federal venues – the process typically follows a rough outline:
- The plaintiff obtains legal counsel to confirm there is enough evidence to initiate a case. A complaint (federal court) or petition (state court) are drafted and submitted to the court along with a summons.
- After receiving the complaint or petition, the defendant usually secures legal counsel and begins gathering evidence to build a defense. A response to the allegations is filed in court. The response may be a motion to dismiss.
- During this phase, parties exchange information, examine documents, plan for interrogatories, and schedule depositions.
- The defendant and plaintiff legal teams begin to work on a strategy to win or settle the case.
- Case witnesses and experts are deposed, trial exhibits are prepared, and pre-trial motions (e.g. motion for summary judgement) are filed.
- Trial strategies are finalized.
- Negotiations and mediation may take place to reach a settlement prior to trial.
- One or both parties may offer, or agree to, a settlement at this stage, although settlements can be reached at any previous stage of the proceedings.
- If no settlement is reached between the parties of their own accord, the case will go to trial and the judge or jury will award a judgment.
- Attorneys representing both sides make opening and closing statements, present evidence to the judge or jury, and examine and cross-examine witnesses.
- The losing party may choose to appeal the judgment ordered by the judge or jury.
- Attorneys identify causes for appeal and develop arguments to submit to the appellate court. The attorney and team used for trial may or may not be the same ones to represent the client on appeal.
From initial pleadings through appeal procedures, our firm is committed to transparent case assessment, thorough trial preparation and coaching, and the implementation of all available courtroom skills and techniques to achieve the best possible outcomes for our clients.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Not all commercial litigation cases go to trial. In most cases, opposing parties weigh their best options and come to an agreement outside of the court that satisfies all participants. This process involves arbitration or mediation, which is almost always less costly than traditional litigation. In addition, alternative dispute resolution affords participants more control over the outcome and protects privacy by eliminating media access and thereby shielding from public scrutiny.
Avoiding Litigation in the First Place
The best strategy to winning at trial is to avoid the lawsuit to begin with. Our attorneys can meet with you to discuss any risks and liabilities you or your business may have and help you implement steps to avoid lawsuits as much as possible. We can assist in drafting arbitration and mediation agreements for contacting parties, so funnel any disputes through alterative channels from the beginning.
Our Houston commercial litigation attorneys are here to help your business resolve disputes in the most advantageous manner. We negotiate on your behalf and invest all professional resources available to achieve a desirable resolution.
Commercial litigation not only presents a high-stakes financial threat to businesses, but also places their reputation and future earnings potential at risk. Don’t navigate the complex proceedings of commercial litigation alone. Contact us for competent representation today!