Startup Nightmares: Your Guide to Commercial Litigation
It’s a broad term, and to a new entrepreneur it’s akin to hearing “nuclear explosion” or “company disaster.”
It’s commercial litigation.
If you’re a new business owner, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of this ugly side of the business world. But you have enough paperwork to build a bridge from Earth to Mars and several kids clamoring for your attention at home. You’ll never have time to learn it all.
That’s why we’re here. We’ll give you the concise, important bits so that you can climb that mountain of paperwork (here’s an ice axe and a stapler to help you out) and wrestle your hyperactive children in no time at all.
What Is Commercial Litigation
Commercial litigation involves practically any type of dispute or legal action you can think of involving business, except maybe pink dinosaurs dancing in pajamas through the office.
We’ll leave that to the therapists.
Here are some common examples:
- breaches of contracts
- partnership disputes
- class actions
- shareholder issues
During a lawsuit, there is a typical process that is followed.
- The complaint is filed: The plaintiff will draft a summons requiring your attendance at court and giving the basic points of and damages associated with the issue. It is then up to the defendant to reply with an “answer” within a specified time frame.
- Pleadings: At this point, both sides will draft formal documents to provide to the court. These documents will cover each party’s position.
- Discovery: This is the longest stage of the litigation process. During this time, both parties may request documents and evidence from each other, usually through interrogatories.
- Settlement conference: This step is an attempt for both parties to discuss matters and settle disputes outside of court. Even if the matter isn’t fully resolved, coming to agreements on smaller points is beneficial.
- Trial: If everything cannot be resolved through a settlement, the case is brought before a judge.
- Appeal: If one party feels a decision was not soundly reached, they may file an appeal with a higher court.
The process is long, painful and best avoided like an oncoming shark-nado.
Arbitration and Mediation
In many commercial contracts, clauses are now integrated requiring individuals to come to a mutual agreement outside of the courts.
Such alternative dispute resolutions, such as arbitration and mediation, can be invaluable to entrepreneurs.
For businesses, this can save hoards of money, time and unsavory news articles.
Be Proactive, Not Reactive
There are several ways to avoid future litigation.
Firstly, consider hiring a litigation attorney for the initial startup. He or she will have all the knowledge necessary to ensure you’re off to the right start.
Secondly, take a close look at your employee handbook and any other employee documents. The language, clarity and accidental omissions in each can make or break a case.
Clear communication in all branches is also essential.
Finally, if anything is important, put it in writing.
Save Money and Time in the Future
It’s always best to have a knowledgeable professional at hand in case things go awry.
If you need a commercial litigation lawyer, contact us today so we can discuss your business’s unique needs. The kids and paper space bridge will thank you later!