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Frequently Asked Questions About Business Litigation
Q: What is involved when litigating a business issue?
A: This depends on the issue. The business owner would follow the same process for business litigation as he or she would for any civil lawsuit, including usually obtaining an attorney, pretrial matters such as motions, possible settlement negotiations, trial and possibly appeal.
Q: What are some alternatives to litigation?
A: Businesses often use Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods. The ADR process usually utilizes arbitration or mediation. These alternatives are attractive because they are often less expensive and more efficient than traditional litigation.
Business Litigation - An Overview
When considering litigation, a business owner should be aware of his or her options. In addition to the courtroom, there are other forums that might be appropriate, depending on the specific needs of the business. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR), described below, may be a desirable alternative to litigation or, if the cause of action is of an eligible size, small-claims court may be another venue for an owner to consider. Class actions may also be utilized by a business in certain circumstances. Additionally, business owners must understand the basic features of class actions, in the event that they are named as defendants.
Contact Hertz Schram, P.C. in Bloomfield Hills, MI, today to schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss the legal options that may be available.
In the event your business becomes involved in litigation, knowledge of courtroom procedure is essential. Courtroom procedure can be complicated, and knowing what to expect can enable a business to prepare effectively. In addition, state and federal law govern procedural issues; depending on the jurisdiction and the specific court involved, there may be notable procedural differences.
Business Litigation - Appeals
An appeal is an official request for a higher court to review a trial court decision based on alleged error of procedure or alleged error in application of the law. In civil cases, including business litigation, this may occur immediately following a decision on a motion or at the end of a trial. The ability to appeal and the timing of an appeal depends on the court rules and laws of the relevant jurisdiction. In the realm of business litigation, the appeals court scrutinizes the lower court decision to determine whether to uphold, reverse or modify it.
Class-action lawsuits are brought by named plaintiffs, usually one or two, whose alleged injuries are the same as those of a large number of other parties. The plaintiffs do not have to be individuals; businesses may also be plaintiffs in class-action lawsuits. The cause of the common injury could be from any number of sources, such as from violations of federal regulations, product defects, securities fraud or environmental issues.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
In some instances, a business may want to avoid a complicated and expensive courtroom battle by using instead an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) method. ADR is a way to resolve legal issues without going to court. The two most frequently used forms of ADR, described below, are arbitration and mediation.
Business Litigation Resource Links
Legal Information Institute (LII)
This site provides general information about the judicial process, courtroom procedures and other legal topics.
National Mediation Board
This government site provides public information on the topic of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), particularly focusing on mediation. Although the site is specific to federal law, it is a good general source of ADR information.
Official United States Government Website
This is a good resource for official federal government information. There are links to the federal and state court systems.
Small Business Administration (SBA)
The SBA is the federal agency charged with promoting and protecting small business interests in the U.S. Their Web site is a good source for many business-related questions.
7 Ways to Protect Your Business from a Lawsuit
An article about avoiding business lawsuits, from Microsoft Business.