Contracts form the foundation of virtually every business enterprise, and many commercial litigation cases inevitably come down to the rights and obligations under contracts, which often include forum requirements or alternative dispute resolution procedures.
In the event of a dispute, the first place to look for guidance is the contract between the parties. Sometimes the contract is very clear, and the parties can resolve matters amicably.
More often, however, the opposite is the case. The contract is vague, or the parties interpret the terms in different ways, and the parties cannot reach an agreement. In such cases, it is best to contact a lawyer to review the deal in detail with you.
If you decide to bring the matter to court, your company must have a lawyer. The main issue in commercial disputes in court usually comes down to what the parties meant – what did they intend to happen?
In addition to the contract itself, often relevant are the discussions (verbal and written) between the parties, what is known as “parole evidence.” Even if the agreement prohibits using “parole evidence,” emails and communications between the parties can be very helpful in understanding what the parties intended.
One crucial factor is what is called the “statute of limitations” – this is the time period in which you have to file a case. The laws vary by state but range from three to fifteen years. The following is a chart that may be helpful:
|State||Written Contract||Oral Contract|
|District of Columbia||3||3|
Other Types Of Commercial Disputes
Commercial disputes come in a wide range of flavors, and our firm can handle all of them:
- Breach of contract
- Breach of fiduciary duties
- Business disparagement
- Conversion (wrongful taking of corporate property)
- Commercial disputes
- Dispute resolution
- Shareholder/partner disputes
- Theft of trade secrets
- Computer Fraud and Abuse
- Invasion of privacy and publicity
- Wage and employee disputes
- Licensing and technology issues
Remedies In Commercial Disputes
Rewards in commercial disputes can range from monetary awards to equitable relief – for example, and an order prohibiting an action (known as an “injunction”) or an order compelling the defendant to fix or finish what it started.
In general, the remedy for a contract breach is for the defendant to pay the cost to repair or replace whatever it did wrong, and to pay for damages caused by the contract breach. Some contracts allow for attorney’s fees to be paid to the winning party.
When another company (or an employee or former employee) engages in the theft of your business property, you may also be entitled to an injunction prohibiting any further misconduct.
Contact A Lawyer
Your business will inevitably face challenges that sometimes merit the advice and consultation of a lawyer. We take a most-effective-least-costly approach to disputes – resolve them if you can, litigate them only if you must.
We focus on minimizing our clients’ exposure, curtailing delays, and eliminating unnecessary expenses. We explore all avenues of conflict resolution to deliver practical solutions that help our clients make the most of their business ventures.
While we are aggressive advocates, we do not escalate matters when it is counterproductive. Not all disputes need to be resolved with a lawsuit. But should your case need to go to trial, we are prepared.
Our firm has a combined century of experience litigating commercial transactions and welcome your call.