Business Litigation – An Overview
When considering litigation, a business owner should be aware of his or her options. In addition to the courtroom, there are other forums that might be appropriate, depending on the specific needs of the business. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR), described below, may be a desirable alternative to litigation or, if the cause of action is of an eligible size, small-claims court may be another venue for an owner to consider. Class actions may also be utilized by a business in certain circumstances. Additionally, business owners must understand the basic features of class actions, in the event that they are named as defendants.
A business contemplating bringing or defending a lawsuit would be well served by consulting with a seasoned trial attorney to better understand all of the legal options.
The business litigation attorneys of Wolfe, Jones, Wolfe, Hancock, Daniel & South, LLC provide effective representation in commercial litigation to small businesses and mid-sized companies in North Alabama and statewide.
Since 1983, our firm has established itself as a respected law practice in contract disputes and commercial litigation, including special asset issues in banking, commercial loan default, partnership or corporate dissolutions, insurance defense, mechanic’s liens, and all forms of corporate litigation. Our commercial litigation team has established a niche in the area of international contract litigation involving domestic or foreign companies trading under the CISG treaty on international sale of goods.
In the event your business becomes involved in litigation, knowledge of courtroom procedure is essential. Courtroom procedure can be complicated, and knowing what to expect can enable a business to prepare effectively. In addition, state and federal law govern procedural issues; depending on the jurisdiction and the specific court involved, there may be notable procedural differences. If you are faced with litigation involving a business transaction or any aspect of your business, a lawyer can provide additional assistance and counsel regarding your jurisdiction, court, and possible legal options for your situation. A business lawyer is an excellent resource for information regarding litigation and courtroom procedure.
Business Litigation – Appeals
An appeal is an official request for a higher court to review a trial court decision based on alleged error of procedure or alleged error in application of the law. In civil cases, including business litigation, this may occur immediately following a decision on a motion or at the end of a trial. The ability to appeal and the timing of an appeal depends on the court rules and laws of the relevant jurisdiction. In the realm of business litigation, the appeals court scrutinizes the lower court decision to determine whether to uphold, reverse, or modify it. If you have questions about business litigation, it may be advantageous to consult with a business trial attorney.
Class action lawsuits are brought by named plaintiffs, usually one or two, whose alleged injuries are the same as those of a large number of other parties. The plaintiffs do not have to be individuals; businesses may also be class plaintiffs. The purpose of a class action is to combine many similar causes of action. The cause of the common injury could be from any number of sources, such as from violations of federal regulations, product defects, securities fraud, or environmental issues. When multiple plaintiffs with similar claims are involved, litigating each case individually would be expensive and time consuming. A class action suit allows for a combined effort, potentially saving litigation costs and time spent in preparation for and in court.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
In some instances, a business may want to avoid a complicated and expensive courtroom battle by using instead an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) method. ADR is a way to resolve legal issues without going to court. The two most frequently used forms of ADR, described below, are arbitration and mediation.
Business Litigation Resource Links
Cornell University School of Law
This site provides general information about the judicial process, courtroom procedures, and various legal topics.
National Mediation Board
This government site provides public information on the topic of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), particularly focusing on mediation. Although the site is specific to federal law, it is a good general source of ADR information.
Official United States Government Website
This is a good resource for official federal government information. There are links to the federal and state court systems.