Litigation is the term used to describe the proceedings that take place when a party takes action to either defend or enforce a legal right. Business litigation, however, involves the disputes that arise out of corporate relationships, including a firm’s claims against groups of individuals, governmental entities or other companies, or groups of individuals.
Such litigation is a matter of public record, often creating public relations nightmares and potentially besmirching the reputations of firms once all is said and done. And when these rights are provided by a contract or agreement, the legal claims can be complex and demand specialized legal knowledge.
Most Business Cases are Resolved through Negotiation
Most people associate litigation with the presenting of evidence and questioning of witnesses in a civil trial, but the vast majority of business disputes are resolved through negotiation long before they reach a courtroom.
This means that attorneys who represent litigants in cases involving complex business matters should be as skilled at the negotiating table as they are before a jury.
Our Atlanta business litigation attorneys have extensive experience with business litigation, and we provide aggressive representation at every step in the process
The litigation process usually begins when an aggrieved party approaches an attorney to discuss a possible legal action. The professionals at Bell & Washington have participated in many such discussions, and they offer free consultations to parties who are thinking about filing lawsuits over business matters.
During this initial consultation, our attorneys will seek to ascertain the facts of the case, the legal right that will be defended or enforced and whether or not the aggrieved party suffered injury, loss or damage. They will then suggest a course of action based on:
- The forum: Not all business disputes are resolved in the courts. Attorneys with experience in this area may also represent their clients during administrative hearings and arbitration sessions.
- Jurisdiction: When the case will proceed through the courts, attorneys must determine whether federal or state laws apply.
- Possible counterclaims: Consumer lawsuits filed over personal injuries or wrongful deaths usually have a clear plaintiff and defendant, but business disputes are often far more complex. During an initial consultation, our attorneys consider the claims that could be made and the defenses that could be mounted by all of the parties involved.
Demand Letters and Lawsuits
Once the facts of the case have become clear, our attorneys will usually send a letter to the offending party. This letter will describe the evidence supporting the claim and demand compensation. These letters are sent to convince offending parties that their chances of prevailing are slim should the matter be argued in court.
If the offending party responds to the demand letter with an offer, the matter will likely be resolved through negotiation. When no offer or a wholly unacceptable offer is received, our attorneys will file a lawsuit.
Negotiations and Mediations
Months can pass between a lawsuit being filed and arguments being made in court. During this time, the parties involved try to settle their differences through negotiation. Judges prefer civil cases to be settled amicably, and they expect litigants to negotiate in good faith.
When traditional negotiations are unsuccessful, the parties may be ordered to attend mediation sessions. Attorneys do not make arguments or question witnesses during mediation sessions, but they may provide their clients with advice and guidance. In many business disputes, contracts or agreements contain provisions that require parties to resolve disputes through mediation or arbitration.
When all efforts to resolve a business dispute are unsuccessful, the case will move forward and a trial will be scheduled. Before a jury is selected and sworn in, the parties involved go through what is called the discovery phase. During discovery, our attorneys may:
- Obtain documents: When lawsuits enter the discovery phase, our attorneys may demand that the defendant turn over relevant documents like financial or corporate records. When these documents are not provided, attorneys could ask the court to issue subpoenas.
- Conduct depositions: Depositions are question and answer session with the parties involved in a lawsuit, and they are held to reduce the amount of time spent in court. Individuals questioned during depositions are under oath, so these proceedings should be taken seriously.
Submit pretrial motions: These are filed by attorneys and are usually made to set boundaries for an upcoming trial. However, pretrial motions can also seek summary judgement or dismissal if the facts in the case are particularly strong or weak.
Many people associate trials with crime dramas that feature district attorneys who must prove their cases beyond reasonable doubt, but business lawsuits are resolved based on the preponderance of the evidence.
This means that plaintiffs in civil cases must only convince the jury that their claims are more likely true than false. Before proceeding to court, our attorneys will study the law and the facts closely in light of this burden. If either party is unhappy with the outcome of a civil trial, they can file an appeal.
Put Experience On Your Side
Our attorneys will thoroughly investigate your case before filing a lawsuit to ensure that you seek compensation for all of the damages caused by an offense or wrongful action.
Legal advice should be taken seriously, especially when it comes from experienced lawyers who know how best to represent clients in court. At Bell & Washington, our attorneys have decades of experience representing parties in breach of contract disputes, shareholder lawsuits and class action suits.
Our top-rated litigators will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the best outcome possible. If you would like to discuss your legal options with a free consultation, you can call us at 404-437-6641. Alternatively, you can fill out our online form, and we will quickly get in touch with you.