Category: Litigation & Dispute Resolution

Commercial Litigation: What You Need to Know

What exactly is litigation? It can be a confusing word, but it simply means to take legal action. While many lawsuits involve just two individuals, commercial litigation involves legal action between two businesses or companies. In fact, and contrary to popular opinion, business disputes make up the majority of civil court filings, excepting domestic relations. These lawsuits usually involve businesses suing to enforce contractual obligations.

The Nuances of Commercial Litigation

Commercial litigation follows the same process as other civil litigation, but there are a few notable differences.. The issues surrounding business disputes are often far more complex due to their specialized nature. And because the discovery process is equally as intricate it often makes commercial litigation more expensive and ties it up in court for years. 

Types of Commercial Litigation

Commercial litigation can take on many different forms, but these are a few of the most common:

  • Breach of Contract – A contract case comes forward when one or both parties claim that a contract was broken. This happens when a party fails to perform any or all aspects of the contract without a legal excuse.  
  • Partnership & Shareholder Disputes – These types of litigation arise specifically when partners, shareholders, or minority owners in a business take legal action when the other party neglects their interests or breaches the contract.
  • Employer/Employee Disputes – Issues dealing with overtime, workplace discrimination, or non-compete agreements can lead to legal battles between employers and employees. 
  • Construction Disputes – Construction law deals with anything involving the construction of a building or other structure. A dispute could concern issues ranging from employment laws established by the state or federal government to environmental regulations. 

When Should You Get a Lawyer? 

Especially in times like these, where many businesses are dealing with employment issues, potentially requiring workplace vaccination, and other health concerns, it’s important to stay ahead of the game. While it might feel more necessary to hire an attorney as a reactive measure to a commercial lawsuit, hiring a lawyer to help you before an issue has arisen is the best course of action. Business disputes can quickly erupt, so it’s best to have a trusted legal advisor on your side to help you map out a plan of action. They can help you meet both your business and legal goals. 

If you’re involved in a commercial lawsuit and need legal assistance, give us a call!

What is a Deposition?

When a lawsuit is filed, the parties need to get more information about the case before discussing settlement or taking it to trial. This information-gathering process is called discovery. The facts and potential evidence gained through discovery helps the parties clarify their strategies and streamline the litigation. One way the parties to a lawsuit may conduct discovery is through depositions. We’re going to cover exactly what a deposition is and what to expect if you’re involved in one.

Deposition Defined

So what exactly is a deposition? A deposition is a formal statement given by a witness under oath outside of court before a trial. It involves a witness answering questions about the case as a way to determine what he/she knows about the case and to record the witness’s testimony. This is also a way for the parties to learn all the facts of the case (i.e. what happened and who was involved?) so that, if the case is taken to trial, no party is surprised by what the witnesses say on the stand. It also helps point out the weak points in the arguments for both sides.

The Deposition Process

Depositions often take place in the informal setting of an attorney’s office, and not a courtroom. The process involves the attorney’s asking the deponent—or witness—a series of questions about the facts and events surrounding the case. The entire deposition is recorded word-for-word by a court reporter who prepares a verbatim transcript. If a deponent is ill and cannot attend the trial or is out of town on the trial date, the deposition may be recorded for use at trial. In some cases, the testimony recorded in a deposition may be admissible in court.

Depositions can vary in length depending on how involved the witness is in the case. All parties may attend the deposition, including the claimant, defendant, and their attorneys. An attorney for the deponent may also attend, but their legal capacity is somewhat limited. For example, the witness’s attorney may object to a question posed by an opposing attorney, especially since questions may often be broader than they would be on trial, but the deponent is typically obligated to answer all proper questions. 

Remember, anything said in a deposition is stated under oath. False statements made under oath may have civil and criminal penalties. 

If you’re involved in a deposition or have any questions, contact the attorneys at Jones Obenchain.

Partner Bob Edwards selected for The Best Lawyers in America© 2014

Jones Obenchain announces Partner Bob Edwards was recently selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2014 in the field of mediation. Bob has been recognized in this exclusive selection for 5 consecutive years.  Congratulations Bob!

More about Best Lawyers®:

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Because Best Lawyers is based on an exhaustive peer-review survey in which almost 50,000 leading attorneys cast nearly five million votes on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their practice areas, and because lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed, inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.” The Best Lawyers in America© 2014. Copyright 2013 by Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, SC