Orlando Business Litigation Attorney – Experienced Advocates Skilled at Protecting Your Business and Interests
On This Page
- Understanding Your Company’s Goals
- Common Types of Business Litigation Cases
- How Does Business Litigation Work?
- What Makes Complex Business Litigation Different?
- Differences Between State and Federal Court
Our firm represents businesses of all sizes. Our job is to help protect your legal and business interests. Because our Orlando business litigation attorneys have years of extensive courtroom experience we are often able to help clients resolve legal issues before they have to go to trial. But, we are also ready to take a case all the way to a jury if that is what is in your company’s best interests.
When you retain our firm to represent you in a business litigation matter we make sure that we understand what your primary goals and concerns are. The better we understand your business and your industry, the better job we can do fighting to protect your rights and interests.
We are thorough in our preparation and investigation. We use our legal knowledge and experience to press every advantage so that we can bring the litigation to a conclusion as soon as possible, while still protecting your interests.
During the course of the litigation, we keep you updated on the progress of the case and any obstacles we have encountered. We understand that you have a business to run and that you need certainty, not surprises.
In our experience the longer you wait to meet with and retain a business litigation attorney when facing a commercial dispute or potential lawsuit, the fewer options you have for resolving the dispute quickly. Our firm can help you put your current business litigation issues behind you so you can get back to doing what you do best—serving your customers.
Understanding Your Company’s Goals
The first thing a good Orlando business litigation attorney will want to understand about your case is what your goals are. Sometimes companies just want to settle the litigation as quickly as possible to avoid bad publicity, reduce legal expenses, so they can get back to focusing on business.
Many times a company is willing to settle a lawsuit, if an agreement can be reached that makes financial sense. But, sometimes the future of the company is at stake and the business needs to push the litigation as aggressively as possible to get a win.
The strategy for defending or pursuing commercial litigation will vary depending on your company’s goals. An experienced business litigation lawyer will be able to help you understand what to expect from the legal process and what the pros and cons are of any strategy.
Common Types of Cases Business Litigation Attorneys Handle
Business litigation, sometimes called commercial litigation, is much different than the types of courtroom dramas you see on TV. Very few businesses want to have to deal with the legal system. However, often businesses have no choice but to turn to a lawyer to help them protect their rights and enforce their agreements. An Orlando business litigation attorney deals with a variety of different types of disputes between businesses.
- Breach of contract—When one side believes that the other party to a contract failed to keep their end of the deal they sometimes have to go to court to seek damages.
- Intellectual Property—Sometimes a company’s most valuable assets are their intellectual property. When someone else infringes on a copyright, trademark, or patent you may need to ask a court to protect your rights and order compensation.
- Breach of fiduciary duty—People in some positions are required to act with an increased level of loyalty and responsibility. When they fail to honor their legal duties, they may be held accountable in a court.
- Fraud and deceptive practices—Businesses can wind up in court when their customers feel that they have not been honest about its goods or services or the business has collected money under false pretenses.
- Unfair competition—If a business has profited because of deception, theft of trade secrets, or other unlawful means, it may be sued by its competitors seeking to recover compensation for the damage done to their business.
- Real estate disputes—Disagreements between buyers and sellers as well as disputes over land use regulations are often the subject of litigation.
- Investment and securities fraud—There are many state and federal laws that govern how shares of stock can be issued and how companies can raise money from private investors. Failure to comply with these regulations can land a company in court.
- Tortious interference—If a person or business has intentionally meddled with a business’s contractual or commercial relationships and caused harm, they may be liable for tortious interference.
- Regulatory compliance—Businesses are subject to a long list of regulations. Failure to comply with federal, state, or local regulations may trigger a lengthy court battle. This includes disputes over compliance with environmental, zoning, and employment regulations.
How Does Business Litigation Work?
While each case is unique, most commercial litigation goes through the same phases:
- Before a lawsuit has been filed
- After a lawsuit has been filed, but before the trial
- During the trial
- After the trial
What Happens Before a Lawsuit is Filed?
Rarely are businesses blindsided by a lawsuit. Usually, there has been some communications about the dispute prior to the filing of a lawsuit. Sometimes a business litigation attorney can avoid having to file a lawsuit. This requires convincing the other side that the likely outcome of any lawsuit would be more expensive than just settling the issue quickly.
The two sides may trade demand letters and settlement offers. Litigators often use the period prior to filing a lawsuit to investigate the case thoroughly and to begin collecting evidence and preparing for an eventual legal filing.
After a Lawsuit is Filed, But Before Going to Court
Once a lawsuit is filed in state or federal court, the two sides have many more tools at their disposal. After the lawsuit is filed the two sides engage in discovery. This is a legal process where the two sides demand evidence from each other with the authority of the court. A business cannot ignore a discovery request without risking being held in contempt, or in extraordinary circumstances, even having a default judgment entered against them.
The discovery phase may include things like:
- Demands for business documents related to the dispute
- Depositions of key personnel from each business
- Demands for written answers to questions about the dispute, known as interrogatories
The purpose of discovery is for the two sides to be able to collect the evidence they need to prove their case. The discovery process is often lengthy and onerous. Sometimes the discovery process will make it easier for the two sides to reach a settlement.
After a lawsuit has been filed, but before the two sides start the trial, there will usually be several attempts by the court to get the two sides to resolve the case. These could take the form of mediation or a settlement conference.
The vast majority of cases are settled before ever going all the way to trial. In most cases commercial litigation settlement negotiations continue all throughout the process, even up to the morning of the trial.
There will usually be several hearings with the judge assigned to the case before the trial is held. Some of these hearings are just status hearings where the lawyers report how discovery and settlement talks are proceeding. Some of these hearings may be to settle legal issues ahead of the trial. Hearings may be held ahead of time to decide if certain evidence will be admissible in court. A hearing may held to determine if the case should even go forward, or if the case should be dismissed due to lack of evidence.
During and After a Trial
If a settlement cannot be reached, the two sides will go to trial. There are two different types of trials: jury trials and bench trials. In jury trials a jury of between 6 and 12 people, depending on the court and the type of case, will be impaneled. The jury will be the ones that ultimately decide the case and the amount of damages that should be awarded. However, a judge will still preside over the trial, ruling on objections and making sure the trial is conducted in an orderly manner.
A bench trial means that the judge is the one who enters a verdict and decides on damages. Sometimes both sides will choose to have a bench trial because they are faster and less expensive than jury trials.
Trials in business litigation cases often go on for weeks. It can take an entire week just to pick a jury. During a trial each side will have a chance to make an opening statement, to call witnesses, to cross-examine the witnesses of the other side, to submit documentary evidence, and to make closing arguments.
Unlike on TV, the verdict in a business litigation trial will not come back quickly. The judge or the jury will need time to review the evidence and to make a decision. The verdict may take days or weeks.
Even after a verdict has been reached, the litigation may not be over. The losing side, and sometimes even the winning side, will want to file an appeal. It is common for cases to settle after a trial, but before the appeals process has finished.
The Business Case for Litigation
Business litigation is often expensive and time-consuming. Businesses typically try and avoid having to go to court. However, there is often a strong business case for litigation.
When there are important rights or principles at stake, a company’s willingness to use the court system can send an important signal to other businesses that your company is serious about its property, contracts, and trade secrets and is willing to go all the way to trial to see that justice is served. Sometimes being willing to enter into a protracted litigation fight can reduce the need to go to court in the future.
In some cases the only way to hold another business accountable is to use the court system to enforce your contractual rights. Failure to fully pursue a matter could financially ruin the company.
While litigation should never be entered into lightly, often it is the best available method for accomplishing your company’s goals.
Before you are forced into litigation you should consult with an Orlando business litigation attorney. The earlier in a dispute process you bring in a lawyer, the more likely you will be able to resolve the dispute in a way favorable to your interests. Successful litigation is about much more than what happens in the courtroom. Successful business litigation is based on the level of preparation that goes on before the first court documents are even filed.
What Makes Complex Business Litigation Different?
Often times business litigation cases are divided into two different groups: standard business litigation and complex business litigation. What makes complex business litigation, sometimes called complex commercial litigation, different?
Standard business litigation typically involves only two parties. Complex business litigation involves many more parties. Complex commercial litigation also often involves multiple jurisdictions. A complex commercial case may be initially filed with a local state court, but it may be beneficial for that case to be removed to federal court.
Complex business litigation requires attorneys with different skills than standard business litigation cases. To successfully litigate a complex commercial case you want a complex litigation attorney who has experience in handling big cases and who has mastered the rules of civil procedure. They should also have the capacity to analyze tens of thousands of pages, or more, of dense, technical documents that will be produced as part of the discovery process.
Complex business litigation cases, even more so than other cases, are often decided based on one side’s ability to handle discovery and their ability to use the rules to their advantage.
Types of Complex Business Litigation Cases
The most common type of complex business litigation is a class action lawsuit. This is where multiple people sue a single company, or group of companies, over related claims. These cases often involve plaintiffs from several different states. Sometimes several different class actions will be consolidated into a single matter and a federal judge is assigned to manage the litigation. There is typically a lengthy court battle before a class action can even begin. This is because a court must certify that particular class can proceed under the special litigation rules that govern class actions. Many times a business will try and argue that a class should not be certified.
Other types of complex business litigation include:
- Intellectual property disputes with multiple parties or highly technical issues
- Investor lawsuits
- Antitrust litigation
- Lawsuits over complex business transactions, mergers, or acquisitions
Differences Between State and Federal Court
While most regular business litigation will be handled in state courts, most complex business litigation will be fought in federal courts. State courts have jurisdiction over state laws. This includes most contract disputes. State courts are used to dealing with these types of routine disputes. But, state courts are often not equipped with the staff or expertise to handle large, complex business litigation.
Federal courts have jurisdiction over federal law. For example patent suits are brought in federal courts. However, federal courts can also hear cases when the parties are from different states and the amount they are arguing over exceeds $75,000. A case can be removed from a state court to federal court if it meets certain requirements.
Federal courts are better equipped to handle large cases where there are issues of state and federal laws, large amounts of documents, and where a lengthy trial is expected.
Sometimes choosing state or federal court is a strategic decision. But, almost all complex business litigation will end up in a federal court.