What is Business Litigation?

"Litigation" is the process by which legal disputes are resolved. Generally, it refers to the steps involved in filing, and then settling or taking to trial, a lawsuit.

"Business litigation" refers to any litigation that has to do with a business dispute. Business litigation can arise out of virtually any business transaction, or other activity having to do with business.

LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor, , Attorney at Law

One of the most common situations in which business litigation can arise is a commercial lease. Most, if not all, businesses need some physical space from which to operate. Usually, this space is not owned by the person operating the business, and needs to be rented.

The rental agreement between a business owner and the owner of the property is called a "commercial lease," and it usually contains several important provisions. It should be noted that there are many laws which exist to protect renters in residential leases (rentals of property for the purpose of living in it), such as rent control, implied warranties of habitability, and others. None of these protections apply to commercial leases. Read more


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However, renters of commercial real estate still have rights. The rights of commercial renters boil down to a right to receive what they're paying for. So, a landlord can breach a commercial lease if they fail to give the tenant access to the property at the agreed-upon date. Also, the tenant has the right to sue over any defects in the property that the landlord did not disclose.

Another common cause of business litigation is disputes over sales of goods. This most often occurs when the buyer fails to pay for the goods, or the seller fails to deliver the complete order on time.

Once a business dispute arises, the first step in business litigation is almost always an attempt to avoid litigation in the first place. Most business-owners are rational individuals, and can usually come to an agreement to settle the dispute without ever involving the court system. Sometimes, however, negotiations are fruitless, and litigation becomes necessary.

Once this happens, the first step is to file a complaint. A complaint is the document that initiates a lawsuit, and the formal litigation process. The complaint contains all of the plaintiff's allegations against the defendant. It must be filed with the court, and then served on the defendant.

Next, comes one of the most expensive and time-consuming stages of the business litigation process: discovery. Discovery is the process by which the parties to a lawsuit are able to obtain relevant information and evidence from one another.

Evidence in the form of documents, responses to written questions, and access to pieces of property must be made available to the other party to the lawsuit, if it is relevant to any of the legal or factual issues in the case.

Once discovery concludes, and assuming the case has not settled, a business dispute goes to trial. This is where a jury and/or judge decides the relevant issues in favor of one side or another, and, in cases where business litigation makes it this far, it is usually where it ends.

Obviously, there is much more to business litigation than what has been discussed in this article. For that reason, it's almost never a good idea to try to seek legal redress in a business dispute without the assistance of a business litigation attorney.


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