Miami Business Litigation Lawyer
An Overview of Business Litigation
Business litigation involves disputes stemming from business relationships and covers a fairly broad spectrum of claims, including breach of contract, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, business disparagement, unfair competition partnerships and joint ventures, shareholder derivative suits, trade secrets, non-compete agreements, breach of fiduciary duty, and business torts. Business litigation clients range from individuals to large corporations. Business litigation may involve an individual consumer, a small business owner, or a multimillion dollar corporation.
In some ways business litigation is similar to other forms of litigation. For example, it uses identical rules of substantive and procedural statutes, civil procedure and even certain areas of substantive law. However, business litigation is also somewhat unique when compared to other forms of litigation, such as personal injury litigation. Business litigation sometimes gets compared to divorce cases because the parties know one another very well and there is usually a long course of dealing between them. The relationship also tends to involve certain loyalties and may involve high emotions. In contrast, in personal injury litigation the parties usually do not know one another. They may have come together as a result of a slip and fall or in a car accident on the road or some other situation causing damage to one party. Although the parties may be very angry about what occurred, they typically do not have any long-term relationship with each other and therefore have not had an opportunity to build up feelings of anger or distrust towards each other. Usually insurance is involved and that allows the means to pay for a settlement that does not necessarily come directly out of the pockets of the parties. Conversely, in business litigation the parties are already familiar with each other just like in divorce proceedings. This is particularly true in cases involving the dissolution and breaking up of closely held companies and partnerships. Similarly, litigation between employees and employers, such as cases involving non-compete agreements, may share similarities with divorce cases. That is, the parties know one another well and their emotions can be heightened.
The Real Cost of Business Litigation
There are three costs associated with business litigation- financial cost of attorney’s fees, the time cost of the client being distracted from business and having to participate in the lawsuit, and the emotional cost of litigation. Unsurprisingly, of these three costs, the emotional cost is the cost many litigants underestimate. Businessmen may be viewed as being cool as cucumber, but they are still only human. After all, a case that can threaten the entire viability of a business may cause an opponent’s business owner a great deal of worrisome thoughts at night about the outcome. Good lawyers recognize this aspect of a case and use it as an avenue towards settlement or a favorable verdict.
The Importance of Knowing the Documents
Determining the facts and amount in controversy as well as the likelihood of that recovery is important in every single case, but equally important is the ability to hone in on all of the relevant key documents with laser-like precision and focus in order to fully comprehend a client’s case. Business litigation tends to be document intensive. Clients should always save all contracts, emails, text-messages, and the like when they believe a dispute may arise as those documents will undoubtedly become instrumental later on when presenting the case to a judge or jury. The complexity of the documents and certain facts may necessitate the implementation of certain complex business litigation procedures. Many judicial circuits in Florida, including the Eleventh and Seventeenth Circuits, have adopted procedures to facilitate the efficient resolution of complex business disputes.
Damages Recoverable in Business Litigation Cases
Everyone knows that litigants are entitled to recover damages when they prevail in court. The main type of recoverable damage in business litigation cases is known as compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are meant to make the plaintiff whole. Other categories of damages include nominal damages and punitive damages. These two latter types of damages are meant to punish and deter the wrongdoer. Punitive damages may be awarded if the wrong complained of involves a high level of moral culpability. A plaintiff must generally show the defendant acted with actual or implied malice, meaning ill will toward the plaintiff or in a manner so outrageous that malice can implied. There are several different types of ways to measure damages in business cases. One method is called the yardstick method. Under this method, other similar businesses are compared to try and determine through comparison the amount that the plaintiff could have expected to earn during the same time period. Lost profits are another way in which damages can be calculated in business cases. If a business has a history of making a profit and it can demonstrate a reasonable basis that but for the wrongful conduct it suffered, it would have profited, then it can recover damages for its lost profits. Sometimes a wrongdoer’s conduct is so impactful that it causes a business to cease operating entirely. When this happens, the most common method of measuring damages is called destruction of business damages which is measured by the fair market value of the business on the date of its destruction. This is usually figured by capitalization of expected future profits. It is critical that damages are appropriately determined early on. A qualified Miami business lawyer can help you identify the various types of damages applicable to your specific situation and help you calculate those damages using legally recognized methods.
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