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Business disputes can involve millions, and even billions of dollars. They can also be quite small. No matter what the size, most parties embroiled in business disputes will try to negotiate a resolution without involving legal proceedings, but when negotiations break down, business litigation is often required to bring the matter to conclusion.
Business litigation can arise out of any number of disagreements and the scope of this area of the law is considerably broad. Some of the most common types of business disputes involve finances and investments, intellectual property, breach of fiduciary duty and insurance disputes. By gaining a general understanding of these categories of business disputes, you can begin to get a sense of what business litigation means, and what kind of legal issues you might be dealing with yourself.
A lot of business litigation stems from investment and/or financial disputes. Individuals or businesses who suspect their investment advisors broke securities trading rules while servicing their accounts, or believe their broker acted inappropriately or lied to them might have a valid legal claim. Investment disputes are resolved through arbitration proceedings, but sometimes they are also brought forward in state and federal courts. Some of the most frequent examples of financial or investment disputes arise after a stockbroker pushes unsuitable investments on a client, fails to disclose material information or commits fraud surrounding a particular transaction. A financial dispute might also involve an accounting firm or accountant that serviced accounts inappropriately.
The ownership of intellectual property, like music, images, manuscripts, inventions, chemical compounds, medicines and other items are considered to be intellectual property. Individuals and businesses often own patent rights, trademarks and copyrights on specific types of intellectual property, which gives them special privilege to use and profit from the intellectual property. However, it is common for businesses and individuals to disagree over who has claim to a particular piece of intellectual property, and this gives rise to business litigation.
If you believe that someone is making use of and/or profiting from your intellectual property, you may have a valid claim for civil damages in court. Similarly, if you are accused of inappropriately using and/or profiting from a certain piece of intellectual property, you may need to defend yourself against that accusation in court.
Breach of fiduciary duty is a common claim in a lot of different kinds of business litigation issues. Depending on the business relationship, one individual or business may owe a fiduciary obligation to another individual or business. When you have a fiduciary obligation, it means that you must act in good faith to the other party. In other words, you have to place that person's or business' best interests ahead of your own. For example, a stock broker might hold the power to profit by way of the special investment knowledge stock brokers have, which their clients do not. A broker could use his or her special knowledge and the trust the client has instilled in him or her to take advantage of the client financially. When a fiduciary duty exists, it is unlawful for the fiduciary to harm his or her client in this fashion.
Commercial insurance companies can be difficult to deal with, especially when a small business is trying to make a claim. Sometimes, an insurance company will try to deny or undervalue a legitimate claim. In such instances, a business can pursue a business litigation lawsuit in court to get the insurance compensation money they are due.
Business disputes happen between two businesses and between individuals and business. Usually, parties try to come to some kind of resolution through out of court settlement, and sometimes this can be achieved through their respective attorneys. Other times, mediation is used to come to an out of court agreement and settlement. When all this fails, a court case can be pursued, which will usually result in a settlement or trial.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified business litigation lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local business litigation attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.