Business Litigation – An Overview
Business Litigation – An Overview
When considering litigation, a business owner should be aware of his or her options. In addition to the courtroom, there are other forums that might be appropriate, depending on the specific needs of the business. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR), described below, may be a desirable alternative to litigation or, if the cause of action is of an eligible size, small-claims court may be another venue for an owner to consider. Class actions may also be utilized by a business in certain circumstances. Additionally, business owners must understand the basic features of class actions, in the event that they are named as defendants.
Contact W.R. Stewart & Associates, S.C. in Madison, WI, today to schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss the legal options that may be available.
There are many steps that a litigant must follow when pursuing a judicial resolution to an issue. The civil litigation process is relatively uniform and is controlled by federal or state court rules. The process itself involves a considerable volume of work, whether or not the case actually goes to trial. The steps that are usually involved in litigation are:
- Filing of an initial pleading (complaint) and response (answer)
- Motions (requests that a judge do something, like allow specific evidence)
- Discovery, including depositions and interrogatories
- Pretrial conferences to organize how the trial will proceed
Business owners should be aware of small-claims court, a more informal court that deals with relatively minor lawsuits concerning everything from nuisance charges to minor money disputes. Small-claims court eligibility varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Generally, it is the first place a litigant will go when there is a business issue involving small monetary damages.
A class action involves one or a couple of representative plaintiffs pursuing litigation on behalf of a larger group of people similarly aggrieved. The cause of action could be about anything from toxic-waste disposal to securities fraud. The fundamental purpose of a class action is to gain efficiency by consolidating many similar cases into one large case.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Alternative dispute resolution is an alternative to litigation that includes arbitration, negotiation, and mediation. Arbitration is a process that is less formal than a trial. It is generally less expensive and has fewer formal procedural rules. Mediation is a more informal process than arbitration, and is facilitated by a neutral third party, a trained mediator, who hears both sides of a dispute and then attempts to reach a resolution through mutual compromise. Businesses use both of these methods of conflict resolution to reduce costs, save time and avoid litigation.
Speak to a Business Litigation Lawyer
When a business owner is confronted with an issue that may involve litigation, he or she should be aware of the different forums and alternatives that will best serve the specific needs of his or her company. If you are faced with a dispute involving your business, contact W.R. Stewart & Associates, S.C. in Madison, WI, to schedule a consultation with a business attorney.
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.