Every business can benefit from the help of a commercial litigation lawyer.
Many types of legal issues may affect your business. A business attorney, such as those at The Miller Law Firm, P.C., can help you anticipate these issues in an effort to avoid litigation. If litigation becomes necessary, your commercial litigation attorney can represent your interests and fight for the best possible outcome.
What Issues Require the Help of a Commercial Litigation Lawyer?
You should consult a business lawyer regarding any legal matters that affect your business. But there are some common issues you should pay particular attention to.
Contracts govern every aspect of a business. Common types of contracts include:
- Partnership agreements,
- Employment and independent contractor agreements,
- Contracts for the sale of products or services,
- Real estate contracts,
- Promissory notes,
- Operating agreements,
- Noncompete and nondisclosure agreements,
- Indemnity agreements, and
- Security agreements.
A commercial attorney can help you review your contracts to see that they protect your interests. They can also help you sue someone who has violated a contract or defend you if someone files a suit against you.
Business insurance is necessary to protect you in the event of accidents, lawsuits, and natural disasters. Certain types of insurance are even legally required. As a business, you likely have several types of insurance, such as:
- General liability insurance,
- Business interruption insurance,
- Property insurance,
- Commercial auto insurance,
- Workers’ compensation insurance, and
- Professional liability insurance.
You likely pay a lot for your insurance policies to make sure you have the coverage you need. But when it comes time to make a claim, your insurance company may be hesitant to pay the full value of your losses. A commercial attorney can help you if an insurance company denies your claim or refuses to pay you a fair settlement.
If your accounts payable have become a bit overwhelming, you may need to employ new tactics to collect what you are owed. An attorney can help you obtain judgments for unpaid debts and help you understand your options for collecting.
Labor and Employment
Employment law can affect many aspects of your business. Legal issues relating to labor and employment can include things like:
- Breach of employment contracts,
- Wage and hour disputes,
- Breach of noncompete or nondisclosure agreements,
- Retaliation claims,
- Breach of fiduciary duty,
- Harassment or discrimination claims, and
- Wrongful termination.
Many employment lawsuits can be prevented by establishing internal compliance procedures, having clear employee policies, and providing proper employee education. An attorney can help you:
- Draft employment contracts;
- Craft employment policies and prepare an employee handbook;
- Comply with federal and state labor laws;
- Develop harassment and discrimination education; and
- Appropriately respond to internal employee complaints.
Despite your best efforts, there may come a time when you need to sue an employee or defend yourself in court. In the event that you are not able to avoid a lawsuit, your lawyer can represent your interests.
Compliance with State & Federal Laws
Michigan has a number of state laws with which businesses must comply. If you need to defend yourself against an alleged violation, it is important to have an experienced commercial litigation attorney in your corner. Michigan business laws concern matters such as:
- Deceptive trade practices,
- Interest rates,
- Pyramid schemes, and
- Telemarketing fraud.
Federal laws may also affect your business. Examples include:
- Whistleblower laws,
- Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA),
- Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA),
- Discrimination laws,
- Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA),
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),
- Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA),
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations, and
- Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations.
Your attorney can help you understand these laws and develop procedures to ensure that your business complies with them.
As a business owner, it is important that you take steps to safeguard your intellectual property. Your commercial litigation attorney can help you address matters such as trademark or copyright infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets, and violations of noncompete or nondisclosure agreements.
Shareholder or Partnership Disputes
Sometimes internal disputes can arise concerning the operation of your business. If a partner, corporate officer, or majority shareholder behaves wrongfully in a manner that negatively affects your business, you may need to take legal action to protect yourself and the business. Disputes may involve things like:
- Corporate mismanagement,
- Illegal or fraudulent behavior,
- Breach of fiduciary duty,
- Self-dealing, and
- Misuse of business funds or assets.
Many of these disputes will be governed by the terms of contracts such as operating agreements, shareholder agreements, or partnership agreements. Your attorney can help you enforce the terms of your agreements. Or in circumstances where no agreement is in place, they can help you fight for your rights under state and federal laws.
Businesses are frequently sued when customers suffer injury from using their products or visiting their premises. Small businesses are hit the hardest, bearing 81% of business tort liability costs, which amounts to over $105 billion per year.
The most common personal injuries involving businesses are product liability and premises liability. Product liability arises when you manufacture or sell a dangerous product with inadequate warnings or a product that has a dangerous manufacturing or design defect. Premises liability involves injuries suffered at your place of business, such as a slip and fall accident.
Since these matters may fall within your liability policies, it is likely that your insurance company will handle any litigation. But it is important to be aware of them and understand your duties as a business owner in order to protect yourself from liability.
Hiring a Commercial Litigation Attorney Is Important for Your Business
The issues mentioned above represent only a fraction of the issues that can affect your business. Establishing a relationship with a commercial litigation attorney you can trust can help you anticipate these issues and effectively address them when they arise.