Litigation is often a losing proposition for businesses, as every dollar spent on lawyers is a dollar lost. Nevertheless, sometimes commercial operations are faced with no good alternative. We believe in using the Court Rules and our experience to minimize litigation expenses and to maximize the potential for recovering costs from an unreasonable adversary. We do not believe in "throwing grease on the fire" through tactics that benefit only the attorneys involved.
Business and Commercial Litigation
Commercial litigation has always been troublesome for consumers and businesses because every dollar spent on attorney fees and costs simply saps more profit from the original endeavor. Nevertheless, in some situations, the business person has no alternative but litigation where another party is being particularly aggressive or intransigent. These cases are managed pursuant to the civil rules and are litigated in a manner similar to injury claims. Court rules and procedures which push the parties toward compromise settlements, though, can have a particularly unfair impact on these cases, where a liquidate-able debt cannot be collected in full or enhanced with fees and costs.
On the other hand, thorough knowledge of civil practice and procedures, including the Offer of Judgment rule and the Case Evaluation procedure, and the ability to negotiate these rules accurately and with speed, will strengthen an ethical party’s bargaining position if utilized aggressively. Not only are speed and efficiency essential to an economic outcome, but proper use of civil rules and procedures may open the door to actual attorney fees and costs that otherwise would not be collectible.
- We believe that commercial litigation should be handled in a manner similar to domestic relations work — we don’t believe that it is our role to "throw grease on the fire". We believe that unduly aggressive tactics merely add to the ultimate litigation expense and commercial loss.
- Too frequently, an attorney who urges the litigant to spare no expense to "punish" his adversary ultimately punishes only his own client with excessive fees and costs. Nonetheless, we find that our familiarity with trials, juries, the rules of evidence and the rules of pleading enable us to litigate more effectively and less expensively than many attorneys less experienced in litigation, without relying upon "scorched earth" tactics.
- Commercial litigation does have some specialized subject matters, including the Uniform Commercial Code [sale of goods], the Statute of Frauds [contract provisions required to be in writing], the Parol Evidence Rule [when a contract is limited to its "four corners"], Covenants Not to Compete, and the Consumer Protection Act, to name just a few.
- We are well-versed in many of these areas; however, we do run into areas where we are not familiar with a particular substantive law, and in those situations, we partner closely with a business attorney who has specialized in the particular subject matter. In some areas, such as bankruptcy, we prefer to simply refer clients to an attorney who specializes in the area of law at hand.
- Although the damages collectible for breach of contract or in a commercial context may be entirely different than the damages collectible for personal injury, the basic proof "problems" and "approaches" are very similar, in terms of testimony, documentation, and tactics and strategy.
Statutes of Limitation
Whenever the law grants a right to seek recovery for wrongdoing, it also places restrictions on how long the victim has in which to take legal action. If the victim delays too long in seeking compensation, he is said to have "slept on his rights" and his claim will not be heard. These limits are called "statutes of limitations" and they vary depending on the nature of the wrong that was committed. In many cases, there are other limitations on taking legal action, as well.
If you have suffered a business loss, it is important that you promptly contact a qualified commercial litigation lawyer to investigate your rights so that you do not lose your right to recover damages.
Thompson O'Neil Law Firm located in Northern Michigan, Traverse City. Attorneys who specialize in personal injury, insurance disputes, employment rights, civil litigation and more.