Legal Process of Commercial Litigation
Commercial litigation involves legal disputes between businesses, individuals, or government entities over financial or contractual issues. The legal process of commercial litigation typically includes the following steps:
- Filing a complaint. The plaintiff initiates the lawsuit by filing a complaint with the court, stating the legal basis for the claim and the relief sought.
- Serving the defendant. The plaintiff must serve a copy of the complaint and a summons to the defendant, notifying them of the lawsuit and the deadline for responding.
- Answer and counterclaim. The defendant must respond to the complaint by filing an answer, either admitting or denying the allegations. The defendant may also file a counterclaim, alleging wrongdoing by the plaintiff.
- Discovery. Both parties gather evidence and information relevant to the case through the discovery process, which may include depositions, requests for documents, and written interrogatories.
- Pretrial motions. Either party may file pretrial motions, such as motions to dismiss or for summary judgment, to resolve legal issues before trial.
- Trial. If the case proceeds to trial, the judge or jury will hear the evidence and arguments presented by both sides and render a verdict.
- Appeal. Either party may appeal the verdict if they believe there was an error in the legal process or the verdict was not based on the evidence presented.
Common Issues in Commercial Litigation
Commercial litigation cases can involve a wide range of issues, but some of the most common include:
- Breach of contract. A breach of contract occurs when one party fails to fulfill their obligations under a contractual agreement.
- Employment disputes. These disputes can include claims of discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, and wage and hour violations.
- Intellectual property disputes. These disputes may arise over patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets.
- Shareholder disputes. Shareholders may bring claims against the company or other shareholders, alleging breach of fiduciary duty, shareholder oppression, or shareholder derivative claims.