Business litigation is a type of law which concerns disputes involving business or commercial related transactions. These disputes are non-criminal and begin when someone files a complaint with a court or administrative agency.
There are many different types of business litigation. It is important to understand the different types of business litigation.
What’s Included in the Litigation Process?
Business litigation can be complex in nature. Both sides will advocate hard for their position, and the details of each particular case may affect the outcome. Litigation can last years, and it can include reviewing voluminous documents in discovery, consulting experts, and attending numerous court proceedings and trial.
An experienced and reputable business litigation attorney is crucial. It is important to retain a lawyer who understands the litigation process.
The business litigation process may include:
- Administrative hearings
Most Common Types of Business Litigation
We have created a list of some of the most common types of business litigation and have summarized each one, so you can gain a clear understanding before consulting a business litigation attorney.
Breach of Contract
The most common type of business litigation is ‘Breach of Contract’.
Why? Because contracts are found in pretty much every corner of the business world. From employment contracts to goods and services, it’s not rare for a business to experience a painful contract breach.
These breaches can be extremely costly and if not addressed, leave the business at risk.
For example, if your construction business relies on the delivery of raw materials, then you’d likely have a contract to ensure you’re not let down.
If the raw materials provider doesn’t uphold their end of the contract, and your construction business is left liable with the building’s investors, then you would be able to take legal action to ensure you are compensated for the breach.
Regardless of their level in the company, an employee may file a complaint against a business. The law can help protect employees who have been mistreated to stand up against companies.
Common employment litigation claims include:
- Breach of employment contracts,
- Breach of non compete or non-disclosure agreements,
- ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) violations.
- FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) violations, and
- Harassment or discrimination claims,
- Retaliation claims,
- Wage and hour disputes,
- Wrongful termination.
Many types of employment litigation claims will go through administrative agencies as they involve federal or state laws. By consulting a business litigation attorney, you can discover which procedures apply to your circumstances. Likewise, if you are a business, it is important to hire a lawyer to defend you against employment claims.
Class Action Lawsuits
Class action lawsuits are the types of business litigation that often make headlines. They usually see a business as a defendant, with multiple plaintiffs alleging wrongful action. For example:
- Data Breaches
- Product Liability Claims
- Employment Practices
- Debt Collection Practices
The group, or class, must show that they suffered due to the defendant’s alleged actions.
Class actions can be very time-consuming and complicated. It is important to hire a business litigation attorney with significant experience and a strong reputation in the area.
Famous examples include:
- Big Tobacco companies were forced to pay out over $206 billion to U.S. states after their marketing of addictive products was found to have negative health impacts.
- The BP Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill resulted in a $20 billion settlement with the U.S. federal government and states on the Gulf of Mexico.
Shareholder disputes and shareholder oppression can arise when minority shareholders allege that majority shareholders or corporate officers have not acted in their best interests.
There are various remedies available with the help of business litigation lawyers, such as injunctions, damages or court orders that liquidate the company or its assets.
Common shareholder disputes include
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- Breach of the shareholder agreement
- Denying access to corporate records or ledgers
- Corporate action disagreements
- Excessive compensation,
- Embezzlement or fraud.
- Payment of dividends,
- Self-dealing or conflicts of interest
Breach of Fiduciary Duty
Fiduciary relationships exist when someone has the responsibility to act in the interests of another person or party. Fiduciaries have the legal obligation to act in good faith and in the best interest of the affected parties.
A fiduciary may be deemed to have breached his or her fiduciary duty in the following circumstances:
- Conflict of interest
- Illegal activity such as fraud
- Failing to disclose material facts
- Failing to provide accounting
- Misusing funds
Breaches of fiduciary duties can arise in any type of fiduciary relationship, most commonly in the business world. These include:
- Agent to a principal.
- Corporate officer to shareholders
- Employee to the employer
- Majority shareholders to minority shareholders
- Business partners
Business partners almost always start with the same goals and enthusiasm. But over time, as the business grows or changes, these goals and objectives can change. Disputes arise and can be unresolved through conversation – resulting in the need for business litigation.
Partnership disputes also occur when one partner acts inappropriately, such as by misusing funds, assets, illegal behavior or acting in bad faith.
But one of the most common partnership disputes is simply where one partner fails to uphold their end of the partnership agreement – such as by failing to provide investment or meeting the required working hours.
A business litigation attorney can help in these scenarios. An experienced business lawyer can help negotiate with the other business partner or to help you buy the other partner out.
Alternatively, a business partner may need to go to court to defend themselves from allegations and protect the business.
Contact a Business Litigation Attorney in Florida
Contact our Florida business litigation attorneys today if you need to use any type of business litigation or legal support.
Our team regularly handles business and commercial litigation cases with high-quality, cost-effective services.
U.S. News and World ReportsTier 1 Law Firm, Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., has extensive experience in the business litigation world, We welcome you to contact us with a free consultation.
CALL (727) 381-2300 today for a free case review.