What is business litigation?
Unfortunately, with business comes business disputes – whether internally or externally. Business Litigation is the legal consequence of these disputes should they not resolve. Litigation means that you’re going to pursue a lawsuit or you’re going defend a lawsuit regarding a dispute. Business litigation is often stressful and many times a costly and timely process, but, unfortunately, it is just as often a necessary evil that comes with doing business. That is, if you’re being sued, you need to protect your rights. And, if you have vendors, for example, breaking contracts, you have to stand your ground to protect your rights.
What are my alternatives to litigation?
At Carpenter Gandhi, we create a custom strategy for each business dispute that comes through our door. While we prepare for litigation, we exhaust every possible avenue for an amicable result as possible. The reason is that you shouldn’t be emptying your pockets, losing your sleep, and being distracted from you business so that you can march into Court if you can avoid it. TV shows, movies, and even actual attorney commercials have hyped up being “aggressive” to such a point that its laughable. But the point of this marketing is simple – to scare you into believing that the only way to “win” is to be a bully. Frankly, that’s not true. Sure, sometimes litigation is the only way that will provide a resolution. Nevertheless, at Carpenter Gandhi, we utilize our professional relationships to help us negotiate resolutions both informally and through such structured settings as mediation. Our focus is to accomplish your goals while keeping your dollars, your stress, and your focus on your business.
External v. Internal Dispute
Most small business immediately think of an external business dispute when they think of business litigation. Most business owners are concerned about premises liability, product liability, breach of contract, regulatory liability, and on and on. These types of disputes are what we call ‘external’ to the business and are perhaps more typical than internal disputes, at least in terms of litigation considerations. External disputes tend to be easier to conceptualize because there’s generally an outsider suing you and you suing an outsider – its business, not personal.
However, when a small business faces an internal dispute, it can get messy—and get messy quickly. Internal disputes tend to arise among business partners. Sometimes it’s about money, sometimes about control… and sometimes it’s due to a death or a divorce. If you have a solid operating agreement (in additional to personal documents like wills and pre-nuptial agreements), the dispute is usually easier to resolve because the problem is more clear-cut. In the absence of such guidance, the problems can exacerbate until lawyers and lawsuits are involved to sort out the rubble. Our advice when you see an internal dispute beginning to brew is to open the lines of communication. Get to the root of the problem before it grows and consumes the business. Unfortunately, communication doesn’t always solve the problem; when that happens, act early. Sit down with a local small business attorney to determine your rights and figure out a strategy.