Business Litigation Lawyer Washington, D.C.
If you have any kinds of legal concerns about your business—especially if those concerns relate to an ongoing or newly arising business dispute—it is important to connect with an experienced Washington, D.C. business litigation lawyer at Eric Siegel Law as proactively as you can. All too often, business owners wait until they either need to file litigation or have been named as a defendant in a litigation-related matter to seek legal counsel. If you find yourself in this position, reach out the experienced Maryland legal team at Eric Siegel Law immediately. But, even if you have not yet reached this legal turning point, it is important to connect with our firm as soon as you can. Why? By being proactive, you may be able to halt the need for litigation before it begins in earnest. Conversely, if litigation is necessary, you’ll provide our team with as much time as possible to build a strong case on behalf of your business.
- Understanding Tort Claims
- When a Contract Is Breached
- How To Help Prove Your Business Dispute Case
- Types of Alternative Dispute Resolution: An In-Depth Look
- Benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Washington DC Business Litigation Statistics
- Call Our Firm for Legal Advice
Understanding Tort Claims
A tort claim is a legal case where a person alleges that they have suffered harm or loss due to the wrongful actions of another. This type of legal action falls under the broader umbrella of civil law, which addresses disputes between individuals or entities. Unlike criminal cases, which involve the state against an individual for breaking the law, tort cases revolve around private disputes where one party seeks compensation from another for the damages caused.
Negligence is the cornerstone of tort law and is arguably the most prevalent form of tort. This type of tort occurs when someone fails to exercise the level of care that a reasonably prudent person would under similar circumstances. The key elements of a negligence claim include:
- Duty of Care: The defendant had a legal obligation to act with care toward the plaintiff.
- Breach of Duty: The defendant failed to fulfill this duty through action or inaction.
- Causation: The defendant’s breach of duty directly caused the harm or loss to the plaintiff.
- Damages: The plaintiff suffered actual harm or loss as a result.
Examples of negligence include car accidents due to reckless driving, medical malpractice, or slip and fall accidents on unsafe premises.
Intentional torts differ from negligence in that they involve deliberate actions rather than carelessness. In these cases, the defendant’s intent to cause harm or certain outcomes is a critical factor. Common types of intentional torts include:
- Assault and Battery: Intentional acts that create a fear of imminent harm or involve unwanted physical contact.
- Defamation (Libel and Slander): Making false statements that harm another’s reputation.
- False Imprisonment: Unlawfully restricting another’s freedom of movement.
- Trespass: Unauthorized entry into someone’s property.
- Fraud: Intentionally deceiving another to cause harm or gain an advantage.
These acts are often seen as more egregious due to their deliberate nature, which can influence the damages awarded.
Strict Liability Torts
Strict liability is a unique category of tort law where the defendant can be held liable regardless of negligence or intent. The focus here is on the activity or product that caused the harm, not the conduct of the defendant. Key areas include:
- Product Liability: Manufacturers or sellers are held liable for defective products that cause injury or harm. This applies even if they exercised care in product design and manufacturing.
- Abnormally Dangerous Activities: Involvement in inherently hazardous activities, like the use of explosives or keeping wild animals, can lead to strict liability if they cause harm.
The rationale behind strict liability is that some activities or products pose enough risk that those engaging in them should be responsible for any resulting harm, irrespective of how careful they were.
When a Contract Is Breached
If you have a vendor, customer or partner that has breached a contract, consult a business litigation lawyer in Washington, D.C. Breach of contract cases are the most frequently disputed cases for law firms such as Eric Siegel Law. These cases may include disputes in goods delivered, pay for a service or raw material or receipt of damaged goods. Whether you wrote out a contract that detailed every part of your deal or you have a verbal agreement, your case can be litigated if one party experienced a financial loss due to the breach. If you have suffered, you can file a breach of contract lawsuit with your attorney.
- You probably need a business litigation attorney when a contract you’re a party to is breached. Breach of contract disputes are the most common reason for working with a business litigation attorney in Washington DC.
- There are different kinds of law typically involved in business litigation. They are breach of contract, intellectual property, ownership disputes, and labor disputes.
- Breach of contract is the most common. It simply means that someone who is party to a contract has violated its terms. Often this ends up in court and having the right business litigation attorney can make all the difference.
- When you’re involved in intellectual property you may need a business litigation attorney. If you or your business develops software or other intellectual property like music, writing, art, etc. and another company uses it without permission or a license to use it, you need a business litigation attorney like Eric Siegel Law in Washington D.C
- If you become involved in an ownership dispute, you are likely to benefit from working with a business litigation lawyer. Such a need might arise in a disagreement between co-owners over who owns how much or what part of a company other kinds of ownership disputes.
- Labor law disputes in Washington DC include such issues as gender and race discrimination, failure to adhere to a non-compete agreement, cases where a former owner is making additional claims and disputes between employees and the company over benefits and other issues.
For Intellectual Property Claims
If you own the rights to intellectual property, you choose who uses that property. For example, if you have developed valuable software to use in your company, you can choose to lease or sell licenses to other companies, but if a company begins using your software without your permission, you have an intellectual property claim. Intellectual property claims include copyright infringement, trade secret abuses, or damage to intellectual property. For example, you cannot steal another company’s logo, business processes or customer list. If you have been a victim of these disputes, you should seek the help of a business litigation lawyer in Washington, D.C.
In the Case of Ownership Disputes
If you aren’t a sole proprietor, you may have a dispute with your business co-owners at some point. For example, you may have a disagreement with your shareholders, business partner and even your board of directors. These disputes often revolve around how the business is being managed. However, you typically have contracts with your fellow business owners. Therefore, you do have legal recourse if you are operating according to the contract terms. A business litigation lawyer in Washington, D.C., e.g., Eric Siegel Law, can help you sort out the contract terms and mediate the disagreement, and if a resolution cannot be negotiated, this attorney can also litigate the case in court.
During Labor Disputes
Labor disputes are complicated. These disputes may arise from current or former employers who are trying to make a claim against the business. These disputes may include an employer’s unwillingness to fulfill employment contract terms, such as benefits. They may also start with an employer who is trying to ensure that its rights are upheld by an employee. For example, a former employee may have violated a noncompete clause. Discrimination claims also fall under labor disputes. In these cases, you should seek the help of a business litigation lawyer in Washington, D.C.
How To Help Prove Your Business Dispute Case
Settling a business dispute can be a complicated process, making it important to call a business litigation lawyer in Washington, D.C. for the best possible outcome. Business transactions or contracts can involve several parties, take into account multiple laws or cover several legal issues. Because they are so complex, these disputes often require an excess of solid evidence if you want a verdict in your favor. Even though you can collect the bulk of the evidence on your own, you will get crucial direction from Eric Siegel Law. Here’s how to improve the chances of winning your case.
Organize and Preserve Any Case-Related Evidence
Prior to going to trial, there will be a period of discovery. This is where both parties in the lawsuit are informed of the data that is relevant to the case. There is a legal right to this information unless some of the information falls under attorney-client privilege. This information collected is what is used as evidence later on in the trial. Any documentation, recordings and witness testimony that you can collect regarding your case should be organized and preserved. There are deadlines and requirements for the discovery period, which your business litigation lawyer in Washington, D.C. will keep up with. Possible evidence includes:
- Business contracts
- Financial records
- Trademarks, patents or copyrights
- Emails, text messages or other communications
- Court notices or mediation proof
Guard Your Behavior
While you are waiting to go to trial or if you are in settlement talks, don’t do anything that could possibly hurt your case. Don’t destroy evidence you think might look bad on your account. Don’t verbally attack or insult the other party; stay away from them altogether. Don’t post the details of the lawsuit or your testimony on social media channels or share your story with the media. Through the guidance of your attorney, always cooperate with investigators or court orders.
Create a Witness List
While counsel from Eric Siegel Law will handle the official interviews or depositions of those who have a part in the case, you need to come up with a list of witnesses to present to the lawyer. Your list should have the contact information for each individual. If these individuals do not willingly decide to testify, a lawyer may be able to issue a subpoena to compel them to an out-of-court interview.
With so much at stake in a business dispute, it’s best to let a business litigation lawyer in Washington, D.C. handle your case. Legal action can help move through mediation or on to trial.
Were You the Victim of Tortious Interference?
A skilled business litigation lawyer Washington, D.C. clients recommend from our firm can help. At Eric Siegel Law, we have extensive experience drafting and reviewing business contracts, as well as litigating contractual disputes. To set up your free business law consultation, please contact us today.
Types of Alternative Dispute Resolution: An In-Depth Look
Mediation is a collaborative and often less adversarial approach to dispute resolution. It involves a neutral third-party mediator whose primary role is to facilitate dialogue and understanding between the disputing parties. The mediator helps the parties identify issues, explore potential solutions, and work towards a mutually acceptable agreement. Key aspects of mediation include:
- Voluntary and Confidential: Participation is typically voluntary, and discussions are confidential.
- Non-Binding: The mediator does not have the authority to impose a decision. Any agreement reached is non-binding unless formalized in a contract.
- Flexibility and Control: Parties have more control over the outcome, as they are directly involved in negotiating the terms of the settlement.
Mediation is often preferred for its ability to preserve business relationships, as it encourages cooperation and understanding.
Arbitration is more formal than mediation but typically less so than court proceedings. It involves a neutral arbitrator who listens to both parties’ arguments and evidence before making a decision. Characteristics of arbitration include:
- Binding Decision: Unlike mediation, the arbitrator’s decision (known as an award) is usually binding and enforceable in a court of law.
- Limited Grounds for Appeal: The scope for appealing an arbitration award is typically very narrow. An appeal might be possible in cases of arbitrator misconduct or if the arbitration agreement allows it.
- Efficiency and Expertise: Arbitration can be faster than court litigation. Parties often choose an arbitrator with specific expertise relevant to the dispute.
Arbitration is favored in commercial disputes due to its efficiency, privacy, and the expertise of arbitrators.
Neutral evaluation, also known as early neutral evaluation, is a process where each party presents their case to a neutral evaluator. The evaluator is usually an expert in the subject matter of the dispute and provides an unbiased assessment. Key features include:
- Expert Opinion: The evaluator assesses the strengths and weaknesses of each side’s case and provides an opinion on the likely outcome in court.
- Non-Binding: The evaluator’s opinion is advisory and not binding on the parties.
- Facilitates Settlement: The evaluation can provide a reality check for parties and often facilitates settlement by identifying the central issues and possible outcomes.
Washington Business Litigation Law Infographic
Benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution
As a Washington, D.C. business litigation lawyer can explain, alternative dispute resolution provides a fast resolution to disputes, cost savings for both parties, allows the preservation of business relationships, protects confidential information, and allows for more creative solutions to complex issues.
Choosing to use the legal system to solve your business contract dispute will generate a winner and loser, and judgments rendered by the legal system may not solve the problem and are usually inflexible. If you decided to pursue litigation, many of these benefits of alternative dispute resolution will not be realized and you will destroy business relationships as well as expose your proprietary information to misappropriation.
Disputes are costly, no matter which avenue you choose to travel when resolving yours. Alternative dispute resolution provides you with a fair, quick, and amicable resolution that will protect your business and relationships.
Washington DC Business Litigation Statistics
According to the American Bar Association (ABA), The average cost of business litigation in the United States is $300,000. This includes the cost of legal fees, expert witnesses, and other expenses. The cost of litigation can vary depending on the complexity of the case, the number of parties involved, and the jurisdiction in which the case is filed.
Washington Business Litigation Law FAQs
When Should You Speak with an Attorney About Business Disputes?
In a perfect world, business owners would communicate regularly with legal counsel in order to prevent legal issues from arising in all but the most unexpected and/or extreme circumstances. However, many business owners understandably do not have this luxury. Therefore, a good rule of thumb is that you should connect with a lawyer—at an absolute minimum—when you have concerns that a given business matter or dispute may lead to litigation. Essentially, if you think that a matter may end up in court—either because you have filed a case or another has filed a case—it is time to speak with a lawyer.
What Kinds of Claims Does a Business Litigation Lawyer Handle?
Our firm’s Washington, D.C. business litigation lawyer team manages a host of different kinds of business litigation. Among the most common kinds of issues for which we provide legal guidance and support are contract issues, employment disputes, and partnership/stakeholder disagreements. However, the area of business litigation is far-reaching. Therefore, it is important to avoid making assumptions about whether the experienced team at Eric Siegel Law can or cannot assist you with whatever your legal troubles may be until you’ve attended at risk-free consultation with our firm.
What Should a Business Do if Being Sued?
In today’s world, business or contract disputes arise in a variety of forms. Business disputes can range from unfair competition to violations of trade secrets. Contract disputes often involve breach of contract, rescission, reformation, and even subrogation, among other issues. A Washington, D.C. business litigation lawyer knows that many businesses are unaware of the several alternatives to filing a lawsuit to settle such a dispute.
These alternatives are broadly referred to as “alternative dispute resolution.” These methods are available to entrepreneurs and consumers alike without the need for initiating the costly process of litigation. This may be the perfect choice for businesses where proprietary information, trade secrets, and various other confidential information are at issue and the business does not want the public or media having access to such information and/or allowing for competitors the opportunity to misappropriate the confidential information.
Business litigation lawyers are well-versed and experienced in all areas of both traditional litigation and alternative dispute resolution. If you would like to learn more, contact our firm today to speak with a member of our dedicated legal team.
Call Our Firm for Legal Advice
If you are not sure of whether you need to seek legal guidance at this time, it is far better to be safe than to be sorry. Schedule a risk-free consultation with a Washington, D.C. business litigation lawyer today to learn more about your legal rights and options. Whether you may need to file litigation or respond to litigation filed on behalf of another, our firm can provide you with the experienced, knowledgeable, and reputable representation that you and your business deserve.
If you are involved in a business contract dispute, a skilled Washington, D.C. business litigation lawyer can evaluate your situation and advise you on what legal options you may have to reach the best outcome possible based on the circumstances of your case. Call Eric Siegel Law today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.
Eric Siegel Law, Washington, D.C. Business Litigation Lawyer
1750 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20006