For the most part, businesses and individuals enter into contracts with the best intentions. Unfortunately, promises are not kept, and expectations go unfulfilled. The general premise is that contract are written to protect the interests of both parties and to ensure that if there is ever a termination due to a breach contract from any of the parties, the damages resulting from that breach are minimized. Once signed, a contract allows the parties to go about their daily business activities based on what each party expect to perform or receive in accordance with the provisions of the contract.
The vast majority of commercial contracts do not run their full term without issues. One way to effectively minimize potential issues between the parties in a commercial relationship is to ensure that each party is duly represented by an experienced attorney throughout the negotiation as well as the drafting phases of each business contract.
When a commercial and/or business related agreement fails due to a breach of one party’s obligation (breach of contract), it is important to seek the assistant of legal counsel immediately in order to get effective advice on how to approach the breach and assess the potential damages. If you find yourself in this situation, it's important you contact an experienced commercial litigation lawyer, like Fran Perdomo, immediately.
Under her counsel, Fran Perdomo will review the existing contract(s) and prepare the best legal strategy to approach the breach and if possible, avoid unnecessary litigation.
Types of NYC Commercial Litigation Cases
Commercial litigation is an area of law that encompasses commerce, business and consumer disputes. Generally, commercial litigation consists of large scale issues involving two or more parties and can range from international transactions to securities fraud to shareholder-corporation contentions.
- Business Contract Disputes - A business contract dispute occurs when one party believes that another party has violated terms of a contract.
- Breach of Contract - The most common type of Breach of contract lawsuits are breach of personal service agreements.
- The UCC - Individuals or corporations involved in complex legal disputes could benefit from the Uniform Commercial Code.
Common Business Contract Disputes
The types of lawsuits in commercial litigated are numerous and they vary. The most common business disputes involves contracts. When one party believes that another party has somehow violated terms of a contract and heated exchanges result in an unwillingness to settle the argument, there's a good chance that the party that feels wronged will pursue litigation.
Another type of lawsuit involves shareholders and corporations. It's also not uncommon to have shareholders suing corporations, or boards of directors of corporations over allegedly violating their fiduciary responsibilities which results in a loss of money for the corporation and the shareholders. In some cases, the shareholders file class-action lawsuits as a way to bring about reforms or policy changes in the corporation. There are also instances when shareholders sue over mergers or acquisitions of corporations.
International trade lawsuits are also a part of commercial litigation. These lawsuits could center around allegations of copyright, patent, trademark, and trade secret infringements. U.S.-based companies operating in foreign countries where the governments have approved free trade agreements have also filed lawsuits, particularly if they claim to have proof of being treated unfairly, or had employees being discriminated against by that government.
Breach of Contract
Breach of contract claims fall under the commercial litigation umbrella. Generally, the contention in these cases arise from an existing agreement between the parties in conflict. Among the most common breach of contract lawsuits are employment disputes. A familiar scenario that can result in a lawsuit is when an executive who was fired, sues the corporation claiming wrongful termination and breach of contract.
Conversely, a company can sue a former executive for breach of contract when he takes a job with a competitor of that company. Sometimes in these cases, the executive agreed to voluntarily leave the company, rather than to get fired, and receive compensation in exchange for agreeing not to work for his former company's competitors.
A breach of contract claim can be costly for the losing party. The winning party may ask to be compensated for the loss or ask for punitive damages and attorney fees. It's possible that the amount of money the losing party has to pay could put a big dent in the budget of that company, or the personal budget of an individual.
Since there can be multiple parties from different states involved in a lawsuit for an extended period of time, the litigation can cross states lines. In an attempt to provide consistency from state-to-state, there is a measure in place called the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) which standardizes the different elements involved in commercial law.
The UCC, Uniform Commercial Code
The UCC is written by an organization called the Uniform Commercial Code, made up of lawyers, judges, law professors and state legislators. The group meets periodically to research, review and update areas of laws so that attorneys and parties in a lawsuit can have uniformed laws when dealing the same legal issues in different states.
Every state but Louisiana, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have adopted the UCC. Some states have fine-tuned parts of the code to better reflect their state laws. The UCC is a comprehensive statute that regulates commercial transactions between merchants.
Individuals or corporations involved in complex legal disputes could benefit from commercial litigation services. However, potential plaintiffs should be aware that the more complicated the issue in dispute, the longer it may take to resolve. Some cases could be settled through protracted negotiations.
Other cases may have to be heard in court and even then, cases could take months or years before they are resolved. Learning as much as possible about the risks and the costs will help claimants decide how to move forward with their litigation.