I have represented
business clients in substantial jury and non-jury trials in disputes concerning
unfair trade practices, breach of fiduciary duties, diversion of business, lost
profits, breach of contract, distribution of products, product liability,
harassment and other employee/employer issues, collection matters, shareholder
and business partner disputes and concerning real estate leases and sales.
try to counsel my clients to
conduct their business in ways that reduce the chances that they will be faced
with litigation. When a dispute does arise, we look for an opportunity to
resolve that dispute without the need to file or defend a lawsuit. In an
appropriate case, we will have substantial negotiations and even mediation with
the opposing side or sides in the dispute, in an effort to resolve the problem.
When we have decided that reasonable settlement is not possible without a
lawsuit, we will file suit. Besides the obvious cost and uncertainty involved
in litigation, both sides in a lawsuit become subject to the power of the court.
A case schedule is usually imposed. Documents must be produced, often in large
quantities containing financial and other materials that may not otherwise have
been disclosed. Protective orders may be needed to limit disclosure of
proprietary materials. The parties in the lawsuit, and other people with
knowledge, must answer questions under oath in interrogatories or in
depositions, or both.
Frequently, as in the case of a claim for lost profits from harm to a business,
expert witnesses such as an economist or accountant may need to be employed to
provide their opinion as to the dollar value of a loss.
of the expense involved, a careful eye must be kept on whether the likely
recovery in the suit justifies extensive depositions and expert witness
testimony. A close, open and comfortable working relationship is needed between
the attorney and client to make the best decisions on these mixed questions of
success in a lawsuit and financing the lawsuit.
preparation and cooperation between attorney and client are necessary to ensure
that accurate answers are given to questions in interrogatories and in
depositions. After I have counseled with my clients on the importance of honesty
in the litigation process, I feel that it is rare for a client to take the
litigation and other risks of being dishonest; that part has not been a
problem. What I do worry about for clients in litigation is that their
credibility be maintained against accidental or less than careful answers to
questions and testimony.
Most business law cases are settled before trial, as with most cases, generally. But cases are settled by good preparation for trial. Most commercial cases are tried to a judge, rather than to a jury. They are often thought to be too boring or too complicated for juries. I believe even complex commercial cases can be tried to jurors, if justified by the added expense trial by jury requires.
Mergers and Acquisitions
- Commercial Litigation
- Fee Arrangements in Business and Commercial Cases