Commercial Litigation Lawyer Washington DC
Businesses and individuals enter into contracts on a daily basis – to make money, increase reputation, provide a better service or product than a competitor, and to forge relationships to produce success, financial or otherwise. Contracts are in place to govern the parties’ business relationship. Business, however, is not conducted in a vacuum; commerce occurs when other businesses or consumers participate.
What could go WRONG:
The parties to the contract have a disagreement over the running of the business or decisions that need to be made to grow it. In many cases, the contract terms resolve those disputes with clear language. Unfortunately, some contracts fall short either by not addressing the given problem or by offering ambiguous language that entrenches each party’s position. These deficiencies escalate the conflict, potentially leaving many issues, questions and answers unresolved:
- How are “major decisions” between the parties made? Who breaks a tie? What dispute mechanisms are in place to assist the parties in a friendly setting to resolve those differences?
- What if one or both parties breaches the contract? What if there is no provision that gives the breaching party a chance to cure the breach? The non-breaching party may be damaged, or not.
- What if a third party comes calling on one of the parties and seeks to replace the other contracting party in order to gain business and customers?
- What if the parties’ relationship sours over time such that one party wants out of the contract?
- Circumstances change. Are there contract provisions that govern dissolution of the business, death or disability of a partner, transfer or sale of the business?
- In many industries, there are also standards of care that must be followed in carrying out business or in pursuing and maintaining business relationships. What if those standards of care are violated?
The RIGHT CHOICE:
I have encountered these situations many times, both as a businessperson and as a lawyer representing businesses and owners. An injured client has recourse for a business relationship gone wrong or where a breaching party or third party has caused injury. Frequently asserted common law claims may include:
- Breach of contract
- Unjust enrichment claim
- Tortious interference with contract
- Tortious interference with business relationship
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- Negligent misrepresentation
- Fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation
- Defamation (damage to reputation by knowingly false statements)
- In the context of professions such as law or medicine, a partner may be brought to task for malpractice in handling a client’s claims or medical issues.
- Misappropriation of confidential information
- Unfair competition claim
- Conversion of property and/or confidential information
In addition to common law claims, there may be available statutory claims to protect businesses, creditors and clients from harm, depending on the circumstances. Examples of such statutory claims include:
- A State’s Consumer Protection statutes
- A State’s Uniform Commercial Codes
- A State’s Uniform Trade Secrets Act
- Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1030
- Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, 18 U.S.C. § 1831, et seq.
The Right Choice begins with exploring what claims you may have, and how you can best resolve them.