Understanding Commercial Litigation

Engaging in commercial litigation can seem overwhelming if you don’t have the proper resources. The practice area of commercial litigation is vast, and the attorneys who specialize in this field have dedicated themselves to their craft. By relying on resources like this one, you can gain a better understanding of what commercial litigation entails and how to prepare yourself for it.

What is Commercial Litigation?

In simple terms, commercial litigation refers to legal disputes between individuals where criminal charges are not involved. Whenever there are two or more parties involved in a non-criminal legal dispute, it is considered civil litigation. In civil litigation, parties sue to enforce or defend a legal right, with the Plaintiff seeking compensation in the form of money damages or specific performance.

A commercial dispute arises when one or more of the parties involved is a business entity, such as a partnership or corporation. Commercial and corporate litigation share similarities and differences compared to traditional civil litigation matters. Understanding the definition of a commercial dispute will shed light on these similarities and differences.

Commercial litigation and other types of civil litigation generally follow the same process. The Plaintiff hires an attorney, both sides conduct factual investigations, attorneys research applicable law, engage in settlement negotiations, the lawsuit is filed, both sides engage in discovery, participate in motion practice, present the case before a judge or jury, file post-trial motions, and handle other necessary steps depending on the case.

Examples of Commercial Litigation:

There are numerous types of commercial litigation cases, some of which include:

  • Antitrust Cases
  • Aviation Disputes
  • Bad Faith Cases
  • Breach of Contract Actions
  • Breach of Duty Cases
  • Business Torts
  • Class Action Lawsuits
  • Construction Cases
  • Debtor or Creditor Actions
  • Derivative Actions
  • Employment Cases
  • Fraud Actions
  • Insurance Coverage Cases
  • Intellectual Property (IP) and Patent Infringement Cases
  • Labor Cases
  • LLC Membership Disputes
  • Misrepresentation Actions
  • Product Liability Claims
  • Securities Litigation
  • Shareholder Issues
  • Tax Disputes
  • Tortious Interference
  • Trade Secret Lawsuits
  • Unfair Competition Actions
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The Role of Commercial Litigators

A commercial litigation attorney specializes in litigation concerning businesses and business-related matters. Their responsibilities vary depending on whether they represent a commercial client or an individual in such a case.

How Commercial Litigation Differs from Others

The primary distinction of commercial and corporate litigation lies in the involvement of businesses in the legal dispute. Consequently, the issues involved tend to be more complex and specialized compared to traditional civil litigation. Many commercial litigation cases are filed in federal courts instead of state courts, and some may evolve into class action or multi-district lawsuits depending on the parties involved.

Due to the nature of commercial litigation, these cases often incur higher costs. Certain aspects of the litigation process, such as discovery and the use of forensic experts, tend to be more extensive in commercial disputes than in non-commercial matters.

The key differentiation between civil litigation and commercial disputes lies in identifying the parties involved. However, certain areas of law naturally align with the commercial litigation practice area, as mentioned earlier.

Common Types of Litigation

While litigation encompasses various areas, some types are more prevalent:

  • Civil Litigation: Describes legal disputes seeking monetary settlements between two or more parties instead of criminal sanctions.
  • Commercial Litigation: Involves civil litigation where one or more business entities are parties. Due to the parties involved, the specialized nature of the litigated area of law is often emphasized.
  • Mesothelioma Litigation: A specialized form of commercial litigation that focuses on individuals exposed to cancer-causing asbestos and companies that may have knowingly exposed them.
  • Patent Litigation: Commercial or business litigation addressing disputes when one party’s trademark or patent is allegedly infringed upon by another. Patent litigation is typically handled by specialized attorneys with both law and engineering backgrounds.
  • Personal Injury Litigation: Civil litigation seeking legal remedies following accidents or similar injuries. The aggrieved party may sue an individual or a business depending on responsibility.
  • Public Interest Litigation: Lawsuits initiated by courts to protect or maintain community well-being. Public interest litigation often centers around environmental law, public health concerns, and related topics.
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Most commercial litigation falls into the broader category of civil litigation due to the types of claims arising between individuals and businesses. In instances of wrongdoing, civil litigation typically ensues alongside any criminal charges.

As mentioned earlier, commercial litigation covers various types of cases, and the subject matter often becomes more complex when commercial entities are involved.

Some examples of common yet complex commercial litigation include:

  • Antitrust Litigation: Allegations that a company’s business practices violate competition regulations. Antitrust litigation may be civil or criminal, or both.
  • Breach of Contract: When an individual or company fails to fulfill a promise in a legally binding contract with another party, resulting in civil proceedings. Any aggrieved party can file a breach of contract suit.
  • Consumer Class Action Lawsuits: Lawsuits in which a group of individuals harmed in a similar way brings a collective lawsuit against the liable party. Examples include cases involving defective products or privacy violations.
  • Corporate and Commercial Litigation: Lawsuits where individuals sue business entities or vice versa. A commercial litigation attorney is best equipped to handle such cases.
  • IP Litigation: Patent litigation may involve patent, trademark, or copyright infringement. An intellectual property attorney may represent either the aggrieved or defending party in such cases.
  • Regulation Issues: When a company fails to comply with industry regulations, civil and criminal sanctions can arise. Regulatory practice area attorneys often specialize in specific industries such as environmental or energy law.
  • Securities Litigation: Disputes between securities issuers and the individuals who invest in them.

Today’s Market Impact on Commercial Litigation

The legal landscape is in constant flux due to changes in political administrations, rules and regulations, the economy, court appointments, and the law as a whole. Commercial litigation must adapt and evolve as the market and technology constantly change. New technologies have led to new causes for litigation, such as patent infringement and breaches of online contracts. High-tech companies play a significant role in the growth of the commercial litigation practice area, often engaging in high-risk and high-value lawsuits involving intellectual property, trade secrets, or substantial contracts.

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While client focuses may change in the future, and civil and commercial litigation firms may need to adapt to emerging technologies, it is evident that the commercial litigation practice area will continue to grow.

How to Address a Commercial Dispute

Commercial disputes are not simple, but unfortunately, they are a part of reality. When faced with a commercial dispute, especially in its early stages, the best course of action is to seek the assistance of a commercial litigation attorney who can help resolve the issue before it becomes more complex and costly. Many civil and commercial litigation cases are settled out of court before trial. Having the right commercial litigation attorney by your side is crucial for a cost- and time-effective resolution.

For more information on commercial litigation, visit Garrity Traina.