Commercial litigation law, also known as business law, is on offspring of civil law. Commercial litigation relates to the rights, relations, and conduct of persons and businesses engaged in commerce, merchandising, trade, and sales. This area of law is regulated by the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), and can deal with such complexities as: corporate contracts, hiring practices, the manufacturing and sell of consumer goods, and so on. Commercial litigation can involve disputes relating to business tort, debt collection, contract law (partnership agreements, employment agreements, etc.), fraud, unfair business practices, internet commerce, real estate disputes, securities, fiduciary duty, mergers/acquisitions, anti-trust, and taxation.
A commercial litigation lawyer will be well versed in many different areas of law, which include, but are not limited to:
- Business law – it is important to understand how a business operates. This could be helping to establish a business entity, acquiring an already existing company, or merging companies. Without the proper guidance, a business deal could quickly go awry, leaving a business exposed to unnecessary litigation;
- Securities law – if the client is a corporation that has shareholders and issues stocks, familiarity with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is crucial. Laws are put into place for a reason and it is important to understand how the rules work in order to avoid litigation and/or prosecution.
- Contract law – all business transactions are based on agreements. The parties engaged in contractual relations will widely vary and could be between business partners or participants of a joint venture, employer/employee, insurer/insured, vendor/vendee, landlord/tenant, corporation/stockholders, manufacturer/consumer, investor/investee, licensor/licensee, and the list could go on;
- Anti-trust law – also referred to as “competition laws”, was developed by the U.S. Government to protect consumers from predatory practices by ensuring that fair competition exists in an open-market economy. This forces businesses to compete fairly. An attorney experienced in this area will recognize whether his/her client’s competitors are violating anti-trust laws by engaging in bad faith business practices;
- Civil law – in the event a client is injured as a result of a business tort, expertise in the area of tort law is essential, especially in the case of fraud;
- Taxation – there are almost always tax consequences to any business transaction and understanding tax liability is fundamental in operating a business. It is important to remember that violation of tax laws could result in criminal penalties;
- Criminal law – in the event a client has engaged in criminal activity, knowledge of the penal code and the how the criminal system operates will have its obvious advantages.
- Labor and Employment Law – a successful business will undoubtedly have employees. This area of law is very specialized and there are a multitude of policies designed to protect laborers and other types of hired help. It is necessary for an employer to be well advised of these laws in order to avoid unfair labor practice claims by current or former employees.
As indicated, it is crucial to have a competent, skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced legal team to advise a business with its day to day operations in order to reduce exposure to commercial litigation. Stoner Grannis LLP will take pleasure in answering any questions regarding commercial litigation and how it relates to your business.