Commercial litigation is a type of legal action concerning business entities. Anyone involved in commerce, such as business owners, partners, shareholders, or consumers, might have a commercial dispute they want resolved in a court of law.
When a party is legally wronged, they can file a business litigation lawsuit to remedy the problem.
But commercial litigation is never simple. Resolving a dispute in court is a complex process that can involve lots of paperwork, a trial, and discussions with the other parties. That's why so many businesses and individuals decide to work with an experienced litigator.
When a dispute occurs, law firms that have represented clients in the commercial litigation environment for years can help you achieve a just and fair outcome.
What Is Commercial Litigation?
Commercial litigation (also called trade law, commercial law, or business litigation) is a branch of civil law that deals with public and private companies. Disputes over trade secrets, trademark infringement, product liability, and class action lawsuits are fall within the umbrella of commercial litigation.
A company or the consumer might initiate a commercial litigation dispute. Commercial laws protect businesses from unnecessary lawsuits and reputation damage, but they also help consumers exercise their rights when wronged by a company.
A well-known example of commercial litigation is a breach of legal duty. If a company violates its legal obligation to sell products that don't cause harm, it has committed negligence. Likewise, if a customer is injured on a business's property due to negligence, that individual can sue for damages.
However, there are many more types of commercial disputes. Whether you're a consumer or a business owner, it's wise to become familiar with your duties and rights in the event of a legal issue.
Types of Commercial Litigation Disputes
Business law is complex, and it can take years to reach a resolution when there's a dispute. Because these cases involve companies, there might be the need for forensic experts, e-discovery, and other tools that will help to uncover evidence.
Also, commercial litigation is usually more costly than civil litigation, although how long a resolution takes and total legal costs ultimately depend on the issues involved.
The good news is that Schwartz Law Firm has a team with 20 years of combined experience. Experts in commercial litigation, we work quickly yet diligently by providing dedicated services for complex commercial disputes such as:
- Partnerships and joint enterprise disputes
- Government and contract disputes
- Unfair compensation claims
- Intellectual property claims
- Employment claims
- Breach of contract
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- Class actions and business torts
- Shareholder to shareholder litigation
- Consumer fraud and protection issues
- Insurance coverage disputes
This list isn't exhaustive. There are many more types of commercial disputes that individuals or institutions might decide to bring to court.
However, some are filed more frequently than others. Here are a few of the most common commercial litigation disputes filed in Louisiana.
Breach of Contract
Contracts fall under private law. Individuals or businesses (not government entities) might file a lawsuit because of contract issues. Common types of breaches are:
- Minor: Delivering goods or services but not promptly
- Material: Violating a significant term of the contract
- Anticipatory: One of the parties knows in advance that they can't fulfill their obligations
- Actual: Failure to meet any or all the terms of the contract
- Mutual: When both parties want to breach the contract
The suing party can request remedies such as actual or punitive damages, a request to fulfill the contract, or they can cancel the agreement altogether.
A business tort is a wrongful act that may cause or has already caused a business entity damage or loss. Business torts are often due to negligence or recklessness.
Business owners may file a tort claim if they've experienced fraud, defamation, invasion of privacy, civil theft, or conspiracy, among many other potentially damaging acts.
Product Liability Lawsuits
Product liability lawsuits are among the most common commercial litigation cases in the United States. These cases typically fall into one of three categories:
- Defective manufacture
- Defective design
- Failure to provide adequate warnings or instructions concerning the proper use of the product
The consumer sues the manufacturer or seller for providing a product that is either defective or falsely informative. In many cases, consumers will sue if the product has injured them.
Consumer Protection Issues
Consumer protection laws are put in place to safeguard the interests and rights of consumers. They are designed to prevent businesses from partaking in fraud or unfair or unsafe practices, such as:
- Misleading information, practices, or scams
- Failure to protect customers' personal information
- Providing poor service
It is illegal for a business to conduct false advertising or not disclose enough necessary information about their products. Essentially, as a customer, you have every right to know accurate information about the products and services you're purchasing.
These rights are provided to consumers so they have the opportunity to make personal choices based on their best interests.
Employer vs. Employee Disputes
Business litigation can also apply to employer and employee disputes. Employers have legal obligations, like providing fair wages and hours and following non-discriminating regulations. If an employee believes that they've been mistreated, they can sue.
How Is Commercial Litigation Different from Other Types of Litigation?
Commercial litigation is different from other types of litigation because of who is involved. Commercial litigation always involves businesses, whereas other types might involve individuals or focus on a specific issue that may or may not have business context.
Civil litigation is a legal dispute between two or more parties seeking a monetary settlement instead of criminal charges. It is a broad term that refers to all types of non-criminal legal issues.
Mesothelioma is a type of litigation for individuals who have been exposed to cancer-causing asbestos and are suing the companies who may have knowingly exposed them.
A form of commercial law, patent issues focus on disputes between two parties when one's trademark has been infringed upon by another.
A personal injury lawsuit occurs when one or more parties seek legal remedies (i.e., criminal charges or monetary settlements) following an accident or injury caused by another party.
Individuals might file a public interest lawsuit in the interest of protecting the community's wellbeing. Common public interest claims are environmental law, public health concerns, and civil rights.
What Is the Difference Between Commercial Litigation and Civil Litigation?
Many clients ask us what the difference is between commercial and civil litigation.
Commercial litigation usually refers to a legal dispute between two or more business entities. “Entities” refers to any organization created by an individual(s) to conduct business.
On the other hand, civil litigation involves individuals who have a legal dispute that doesn't involve criminal charges. Instead of jail time, the plaintiff may request a monetary settlement from the defendant.
What Do Commercial Litigation Attorneys Do?
Even in the world of law, the terms “lawyer” and “attorney” are sometimes interchanged with “litigator.” Although this is commonly accepted, it is helpful to understand the differences:
- A lawyer is a qualified professional who is licensed to practice law.
- A litigator is a courtroom or trial lawyer who represents their clients in court and has expertise in litigation.
Commercial litigators are needed for business litigation claims because they're trial lawyers who know how to represent a company's interests in a court of law. They can help protect their client's rights and reputation by working with the other party or representing their client in court.
Individuals looking to sue a business entity might also hire commercial litigators. Since they're experts in business law, they know the rights individuals can exercise if a seller has wronged them.
Commercial court cases are a long journey and often very complex. As such, they should be taken to only the most seasoned law firms like the team at Schwartz Law. We know how to navigate any type of complex business dispute to get the best outcome for our clients.
Here's an overview of the commercial litigation process:
Step #1: Pleadings
Pleadings are the formal documents a lawyer files with the court on their client's behalf. These are essential papers explaining and describing each party's disputes and what each is complaining about.
Once the plaintiff files a complaint in court and delivers the complaint to the defendant, the defendant has a specific amount of time to answer this dispute. The defendant may also wish to file counterclaims against the plaintiff.
Step #2: Discovery
Discovery is the most crucial part of any litigation process since it is the period in which both parties can try to prove their case by collecting relevant information.
The plaintiff and defendant have to put together evidence from third parties and each other to help prove their claims. Evidence must meet these criteria to be admissible in court:
- Relevance: Evidence is relevant if it offers any reason to make a claim less or more probable
- Material: Evidence is material if it is offered to prove a fact that is an issue in the case
- Competence: Evidence is competent if the proof that is offered meets traditional requirements of reliability
Litigation lawyers and their teams will organize these documents, interview witnesses and experts, and prepare them for presentation in court.
Step #3: Trial
The trial occurs in a courtroom and may involve a judge and jury, depending on the type of case. The trial will begin with both the defendant's and plaintiff's litigators presenting a summary of the dispute. Both litigators then must present their evidence, which is followed by settlement negotiations.
Step #4: Appeal
The trial ends when all evidence has been presented, and the judge or jury makes a decision. If a party isn't satisfied with the outcome, they can file an appeal, which asks a higher district court or federal court to review the trial proceedings. Both parties must once again present their arguments during an appeal.
Louisiana Litigation Attorneys You Can Trust
Commercial litigation is a broad subset of civil litigation that refers to any type of legal dispute involving business entities. Frequent issues are breaches of contract, torts, defective products, consumer protection, and employee disputes.
Whether you're a business owner, supplier, shareholder, employee, or customer, if a company violates your rights, you'll need to take legal action to right the wrong.
For example, if you bought a defective product, you need a litigator who can get you the compensation you deserve. Or, if your partner breached your business contract, you need to resolve the issue right away with the help of a team of dedicated attorneys.With more than 20 years of experience and specialization in business law, the team at Schwartz Law Firm has seen just about everything when it comes to commercial litigation. Schedule your free consultation today and find out how Louisiana's best law firm can help you with any commercial litigation dispute.