Business agreements seem straightforward on the surface. Each party agrees to specific terms that are laid out in a contract that is signed by both parties. Unfortunately, regardless of the effort that goes into explaining the contract and negotiating terms, the final form is always open to some interpretation. While the writing may, in effect, be airtight, the language is often involved with possible variations in definitions. The fluidity of language makes business disputes and commercial litigation a natural part of operations in most industries.
The Uniqueness of Commercial Litigation
Unlike in consumer litigation or other civil proceedings, commercial litigation does not have a clear plaintiff and defendant. When it comes to business and contractual disagreements, typically, both sides have defenses and claims. The reason that neither side is entirely blameworthy in commercial suits is that each party likely plays a role in the disagreement. It is extremely rare to have an instance where one party is entirely at fault in a contractual dispute.
The Dispute Types
Commercial litigation can involve several case types. Breach of contract or joint enterprise and partnership disputes are among the leading commercial cases. However, other suits may include breach of fiduciary duty, business torts, class actions, civil litigation or shareholder-to-shareholder litigation. Each type of claim will be subject to its own forum, but as with case types, there are several forum options.
The Multitude of Forums
Because most commercial issues arise from contractual disputes between business entities, the forums can vary. For example, while a dispute between business partners who operate in the same state may be handled in state court, if the partnership spans multiple states, then a federal court will oversee the case.
A dispute may be handled outside of the court system with private arbitration. In fact, it is not uncommon for contracts to state arbitration as a mandatory first step in resolving disagreements.
Like arbitration, an administrative hearing uses a neutral third-party to help resolve the dispute. However, instead of being overseen by an arbitrator, the meeting is managed by a hearing officer, and it may only involve disputes under the authority of governmental agencies.
Commercial litigation is a complex and, at times, confusing process. Even the most experienced CEOs will have difficulty navigating the process alone. Since litigation is a legal process, it is often in your best interest to contact a business lawyer in Wilkes-Barre, PA, like from Hoegen & Associates, P.C., for assistance. They will listen to your side of an argument and help you decide how best to move forward.