Business Lawyer in Orlando
Each year millions of lawsuits are filed in state and federal courts across the United States of America. Businesses and individuals use the courts for recourse to settle disputes that they are unable to settle without litigation. Litigation refers to the filing of a lawsuit in a court system by a plaintiff through a complaint or the defending of a lawsuit by a defendant through an answer. Litigation can seek monetary, equitable, or other remedies. Alternatives to litigation are arbitration or pre-suit mediation. All small, medium, and large business owners need to understand the realities of litigation, how to prevent litigation, and how to prevail if ever the need arises to engage in litigation.
My name is Rahul Parikh and I am the managing partner of Parikh Law, P.A. Parikh Law, P.A. is a boutique criminal defense and business litigation law firm in Orlando, Florida. The following is a discussion of the realities of litigation, the process, and what you can do to ensure that your business is protected from legal pitfalls.
Realities of Litigation
General commercial litigation involves virtually every type of dispute that can arise in the business context, including breach of contract cases, breach of warranty cases, partnership/joint venture disputes, class actions, business torts, civil RICO claims, breach of fiduciary duty allegations, shareholder issues, and many more.
Commercial and business litigation are the business world’s equivalent of modern warfare. When countries go to war, they must have resources, strong conviction, and a strong military to win. Businesses likewise require resources, strong conviction, and a top-notch legal team to prevail in courtrooms. Anyone who has ever been involved in litigation will tell you that having the right business litigation attorney on your side can make all the difference.
The first thing you need to know about business litigation and civil lawsuits is that they are expensive. Having a large war chest or the ability to draw on credit lines is crucial to being able to aggressively prosecute or defend your case. Most companies and individuals are unable to afford the cost of commercial litigation from the filing of suit through trial. This is one of the reasons why over ninety-five percent (95%) of commercial litigation cases end by way of settlement. In the event that a company simply cannot afford the cost of litigation, but the opportunity cost of not litigating or defending a lawsuit is just too great, the option of obtaining commercial litigation financing has become an attractive opportunity for businesses that otherwise would be unable to engage in litigation.
Parikh law, P.A. offers affordable solutions to business owners of all sizes for their legal needs, including the need to prosecute and defend against lawsuits. We offer hourly, contingency, hybrid, and flat fees depending on your situation and needs. Call us and speak to an Orlando Business Lawyer today at 321-558-2704. We will sit down in our offices, discuss the unique aspects of your business, and come up with the best solution for your legal needs.
The second thing you need to know about litigation is the process.
Commercial litigation generally progresses in the following stages:
- Contract or Agreement. Some sort of business activity occurs for a period of time between parties. Usually, this activity is governed by appropriate contracts and agreements, setting out the parties, their rights and obligations, and the scope of their relationship. At this stage, sophisticated businessmen and women will involve a qualified Florida business law attorney to review and draft the legal documents that will govern their business activity.
Most successful business people will consult their corporate lawyer prior to ever signing a contract. The prudent litigator, at this stage, will have his or her eye out for potential downfalls in the deal and will seek to structure it in a manner that lowers the client’s risk while ensuring that the deal takes place. In all contracts and agreements, as lawyers, we want to limit our client’s risk while maximizing the upside of the potential for success of the business dealing that our client will be engaging in. The best lawyers help you protect yourself before there is ever an issue while ensuring that deals take place and your business grows. We like to say that the best contracts are signed by the parties, left at their lawyers’ offices, and never seen again while the parties go on to conduct their business successfully together.
- Disputes arise. In the real world, no matter your due diligence or good intentions, sometimes deals don’t work the way they were intended. Or perhaps a party did not do their due diligence during the contract formation and review stage. At this stage, something occurs to “breach” the parties’ understanding of their relationship and agreement. Disputes arise.
- Pre-Suit Negotiations and Mediation. Pre-suit negotiations will take place to attempt to resolve the matter amicably. Every case and situation is different, but generally, the parties through their legal counsel will attempt to either (a) fix the problems and continue with their original deal’s framework, (b) change the original deal’s framework to fit the new realities, or (c) attempt to walk away from their deal while each gaining and conceding something in return. A common mistake by a less sophisticated party is to engage in negotiations without an attorney when the other side has already retained one. Sometimes, one party is purely at fault, and in these cases, that party usually will settle with the non-breaching party to avoid a lawsuit. When both parties have consulted with qualified trial attorneys, and both sides feel that they are legally correct, disputes will not likely resolve pre-suit and a lawsuit will be filed.
- Filing suit. When pre-suit negotiations and mediation fail, the parties may resort to litigation to enforce their respective legal rights. These rights usually deal with money, relationships, or access to markets or goods and services. The suit is commenced when one party files a “complaint” against another party in State or Federal Court. The “complaint” is usually the first legal document filed and it starts the lawsuit. A complaint will set out the facts and legal reasons that the filing party or parties (known as the Plaintiff(s)) believe support a legal claim against the party that it was brought against (known as the Defendant). The Defendant will file an “Answer” to the complaint, and often will also file affirmative defenses and their own counter-complaint. This will be the beginning stage of the lawsuit. This is where both parties set forth the facts that they will use evidence to support, the legal theories based on those facts, and the remedy that they are seeking from the courts. Once the complaint, answer, cross-claim, counterclaim, or third-party claims have been filed, the attorneys may file motions to dismiss on procedural grounds and have initial hearings on these pleadings. At this stage, the party with the more prepared Orlando trial lawyer will be strategically setting the stage to prevail in the future.
- Discovery. Once the parties have filed their complaints against the other and answered, the lawsuit will commence to the Discovery phase. Discovery is the pre-trial phase in a lawsuit in which each party investigates the facts of a case, through the rules of civil procedure, by obtaining evidence from the opposing party and others by means of discovery devices including requests for answers to interrogatories, requests for production of documents, requests to admit certain facts, and depositions of witnesses and parties related to the lawsuit. Discovery is a very important part of the lawsuit and often can take months to years to complete. Fact-finding and building a case for trial takes time, attention to detail, and diligence. This is where the skills of a strong business trial attorney and the patience and strength of a client intersect to increase the odds of prevailing. Discovery may include the hiring of expert witnesses, the recovery of electronically stored information, the deposition of all witnesses and parties, multiple written discovery devices being exchanged, and litigation of discovery disputes.
- Motion practice. During and after discovery, the parties can engage in various motion practice that is appropriate to the circumstances of their case. Motions ask the court to find and grant certain legal requests by the parties. Motion practice is important in civil litigation and it can be the difference between winning and losing. Most, if not all, motions will need to be set for hearings, where your trial attorney will go to court for you to advocate on your behalf and argue the motions filed or defended. Motion practice is governed by the applicable rules of civil procedure which are the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in Federal court and the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure in the State of Florida.
- Post-Suit Mediation. Mediation can occur at any time between the parties and it can be formal or informal. Many times, after discovery is completed and both sides can see all of the cards on the table, parties will engage in mediation during the lawsuit but before trial. This is a good time to truly make the best faith effort at resolving the case and using the leverage you have built during discovery to achieve your goals without needing to experience the uncertainty of trial.
- Trial. Less than five percent (5%) of cases actually go to trial, yet trial is the most important and arguably what your legal team has been preparing for from the initial “complaint” and “answer” stage. All of Discovery will be spent preparing the case for trial by increasing the strength of your evidence (witnesses and documents) and attacking the strength of the other party’s case. Your strength at trial (i.e. the likeliness of winning) will determine your strength during negotiations and mediation. A trial will include your attorney doing legal research, preparing witnesses and experts for testimony, meeting with co-counsel (trial team), preparing for voir dire (jury selection), preparing for opening statements, case in chief, rebuttal, preparing for closing arguments, motions to sequester, preparing for direct and cross-examination, preparing the jury instructions, preparing proposed orders, and finally conducting the trial itself. For every hour of trial, the prudent litigator will spend at least three to five hours preparing. The best trial attorneys prepare for trial with a relentless obsession to ensure that their client has the best chance of success possible. Having strong and experienced business trial lawyers on your side is priceless when engaging in litigation. Call our Orlando trial attorneys today.
Some of the most common types of commercial litigation are:
Breach of Contract (link to supporting page)
Construction Litigation (link to supporting page)
Franchise Law and Disputes (link to supporting page)
Fraud and Financial Misconduct (link to supporting page)
Landlord-Tenant Disputes (link to supporting page)
Civil RICO claims
Licensing Disputes (link to supporting page)
Partnership Disputes (link to supporting page)
Shareholder Disputes (link to supporting page)
Trademark and Copyright Litigation
Employer-Employee Disputes (link to supporting page)
How to Prevent Litigation
The best way to prevent litigation is for your Orlando corporate lawyer to understand, discuss, and explain your legal rights and liabilities surrounding your business dealings. This could include having your Orlando business attorney review, or better yet, draft your partnership contracts, your subcontractor contracts, your construction contracts, your employment contracts, or a whole host of other legally binding contracts and agreements related to your business activity. In other words, do not pull a contract off the internet or just sign something the other party proposes. Have your contract attorney explain, help you strategize, and negotiate the best deals. Corporate and business lawyers should always review and make changes to contracts prior to their client signing any legally binding agreement.
Having business lawyers who are deal-makers on the front end, but who understand how to protect you should the need to litigate arise, is invaluable to your business’s long-term survival and growth.
At Parikh Law, P.A. we advise businesses, draft contracts and agreements, and engage in commercial litigation on behalf of our clients. With this full spectrum view of the legal nature of business, we are both deal makers and deal enforcers.
When you enter into a deal on your own without the advice of counsel, or when things genuinely turn bad despite your full due diligence, you need a team of litigators and trial attorneys to protect your interests and engage in civil litigation, but more specifically, commercial litigation. Call our Orlando business attorney at 321-558-2704 if your business needs legal advising or litigation support.
How to increase your chances of prevailing in litigation
Litigation is inherently unpredictable. The best ways to improve your chances of never having to litigate in the first place will be to have iron-clad contracts and agreements in place that are far-seeing and cover all major issues that can arise. This can be accomplished by contacting and retaining a qualified business lawyer or corporate law attorney.
Documenting is another way to help your chances should litigation ever arise. Documentation of the events that led up to the signing of a contract, and then documenting the actions of the parties’ performance and behavior after the contract is signed will preserve evidence for any future litigation. You should document all interactions, emails, text messages, and phone calls both before the contract is signed and after. Taking pictures, making sure you know the first and last names of every individual involved in your transaction, saving emails and text messages, and otherwise documenting all actions between the parties is also important. Trial lawyers must use evidence at trial. Evidence can be testimony, or actual objects such as text messages, pictures, documents, and other types of physical evidence. Documentation will always help.
And finally, if you or a loved one is in need of a business law firm that will both protect your interests on the front end, be honest and upfront with you about your activities to keep you out of trouble, and go to bat for you when things get tough, call Parikh Law, P.A. at 321-558-2704 to speak to a qualified business law attorney.