What Types of Cases Does a Commercial Litigation Attorney Handle?

Norma Billups
January 22, 2013 — 1,632 views  
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Commercial litigation is a broad term covering legal disagreements between businesses. The disagreement may be over a financial issue, or a contract. A commercial litigation attorney spends his or her time handling these cases with the goal of settling most such disputes without having to go to trial. Commercial lawyers help in the area of mergers and acquisitions by negotiating contracts, ensuring the sale follows all legal requirements, and reviewing stock sales related to the merger or acquisition. Types of cases handled by commercial litigators include breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, securities-related litigation, and disputes with stockholders.

Breach of Contract

Breach of contract happens when any party to a contract fails to live up to his or her contractual requirements without a legal excuse. Breach of contract may mean that one party to a contract does not complete a job, or it may mean that one party does not pay the other on time or in full. If one party fails to deliver the agreed-upon products or services, or substitutes significantly different or inferior goods, breach of contract has occurred. Even actions that show a party will not meet the requirements of the contract can be considered anticipatory breach of contract. A commercial litigation lawyer handles breach of contract cases frequently because it is such a broad legal area.

Breach of Fiduciary Duty

Agents, brokers, and high-level employees of certain businesses are responsible for certain duties to clients and employers, and these obligations vary widely. Fiduciary duty means that an agent asks in the best interest of the client or employer and does not abuse his or her position for personal advantage. Conflict of interest or the acceptance of secret commissions violates fiduciary duty. In cases where there may or may not have been fraud, breach of fiduciary duty may be the subject of litigation instead because the claimant doesn't have to prove fraudulent or criminal intent. Rather, he or she must show the defendant was in a position of trust and breached his or her duties for personal gain.

Securities Litigation

Securities litigation can be extremely complex, and may involve violations of securities law on a state or federal level. There may also be common law claims having to do with fraud or breach of fiduciary duty related to securities. Sometimes engaging the counsel of a commercial litigation lawyer and pursuing justice in state or federal court is the only way for shareholders to recover losses from corporate misconduct.

Stockholder Disputes

Stockholder disputes are often settled by arbitration or mediation rather than going to trial. With binding arbitration, parties agree to an independent arbiter (often a former judge) to decide the issue. With mediation, the parties, with the help of a mediator, discuss all issues until they come up with a solution to their conflict. Once an agreement is met, parties sign a contract settling the issue. But even when shareholder conflicts are headed for arbitration or mediation, the services of a commercial litigation specialist can prevent a party from unnecessarily giving up his or her rights.


Norma Billups