What is “Commercial Litigation?”
Commercial litigation is a general term that applies to any type of litigation or controversy related to business issues. Examples of areas included under the general heading of commercial litigation include:
- Agreements Limiting Competition: One of the circumstances is a person who is employed as an agent, servant or employee may agree with his employer to refrain from carrying on or engaging in a business similar to that of the employer within specified parishes or municipalities. Disputes surrounding Non-competition, non-solicitation, and non-disclosure agreements by former business owners and employees may result in lengthy litigation. These suits often include requests for emergency relief such as a restraining order or pre-trial injunction.
- Misuse of Intellectual Property: Consideration of whether information fits within this definition involves things like the extent to which the information may be known outside of the business, the value of information to the business or its competitors, ease of which the information can be acquired, etc. However, there is a second component of the definition which is often overlooked. To constitute a trade secret, the information must be subject to efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy. Thus, information that may have the intrinsic characteristics of a trade secret can lose this cloaking because of the action of the owner in not securing it. Other forms of protected intellectual property are patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade dress, and service marks.
- Fraud and Deceptive Trade Practices: Some companies may misrepresent their products and services in a business transaction. There are consumer protection laws that also protect companies, investors, and possibly your company’s clients. There are numerous federal and state laws addressing deceptive practices where the prevailing party can recoup damages and attorney’s fees.
- Securities Law Violations: Deceptive or manipulative conduct in connection with buying and selling stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other securities, whether privately or on an open market like the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ can result in serious consequences in both civil and criminal courts.
- Abuses of Trust: When dealing with other professionals who received sensitive information of a company’s condition or members, a fiduciary relationship may ensue that requires are higher degree of responsibility and trust. These individuals may include internal managers, or third-party contractors, as well as investors, agents, trustees, partners, or majority shareholders.
- Employer/Employee Disputes: Issues surrounding overtime, disabilities, health and pension benefits, and discrimination (age, race, and gender) can bring a thriving business to a complete halt if not addressed and mitigated appropriately.
- Breach of Contract: Vendor disputes or contests of coverage by insurances carriers can result in heated litigation. Purchases and sales of securities, transactions in real estate and other business assets, and agreements to provide goods or services. In many cases a promissory note, guaranty agreements, and mortgages/deeds of trust may need to collection.
- Tortuous Interference with Contract: A third party’s hindering or preventing performance of an agreement.
The list gives you an idea of the broad scope of commercial litigation. It also provides an idea of how commercial litigation matters can range from relatively simple, uncomplicated matters, to highly complex matters that could take several years to resolve. Improperly handled litigation can lead to additional, unnecessary expenses for you and your business. If you lose, you may be subject to a large damages award. In addition, even if you are successful, the amount of money and time you spent fighting may exceed the amount of damages you are ultimately able to collect. Further, protracted litigation can have a negative impact on the operations of your business. Commercial transactions and business relationships often go bad and turn into disputes, resulting in costly litigation. Unable to resolve the dispute through negotiations or discussions between the parties, one party may find that litigation is the only way to end the matter. Unfortunately, litigation is often a fact of modern business life. When you are faced with commercial litigation issues, you need the assistance of an experienced commercial litigation attorney.