Business Disputes FAQ’s

Frequently Asked Questions
What is civil litigation?

Civil litigation is the process by which two or more parties resolve a dispute through the court system.  One party files a complaint, which initiates a lawsuit.  The other party must then file an answer to the complaint.  Following the complaint and answer is a period called discovery, during which any party may take depositions, issue subpoenas and serve other parties with written discovery, such as interrogatories or requests for production of documents.  The discovery stage can last anywhere from six months to a year or longer, depending on the complexity of the case.  Following the completion of discovery, there is oftentimes motion practice, and if the case still has not resolved, a trial on the merits will take place.

Another company has harmed us. Is filing a lawsuit our only option?

When one is harmed by a company or other individual, it is sometimes the best course of action not to immediately file a lawsuit, but instead to try and resolve the harm with a pre-lawsuit demand.  If we are unable to satisfactorily resolve the harm for you with a pre-lawsuit demand, then we would need to discuss the best course of action going forward, including the possibility of filing a lawsuit.  Keep in mind, however, that depending on the type of harm caused, there are various statutes of limitation that come into play that require a lawsuit to be filed within a certain amount of time and if the lawsuit is not filed with the set time frame, the claim is forever barred.

What evidence do I need to prove my claim?

In employment discrimination cases, the best form of evidence are independent sources of evidence, such as emails, text messages, and witness statements. Once a claim is made, an employer will generally place the blame and focus on the employee making the claim, turning the case into a “he said/she said” case. Emails, text messages and independent witness statements are the best forms of evidence because they are difficult for an employer to attack from a credibility standpoint.

What is alternative dispute resolution?

Alternative dispute resolution, also known as ADR, is a process by which two or more parties attempt to resolve a dispute without using the court system.  ADR can be either binding or non-binding.  For example, arbitration is typically a binding process in which the parties present their case to one or more arbitrators who will ultimately make a final decision on the merits.  On the other hand, mediation is a non-binding process in which the parties will present their case to a mediator who will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the case with each party separately in an attempt to bring the parties together to reach and amicable resolution.  Both arbitration and mediations are forms of ADR.

My business has been sued. What should I do?

Immediately consult with a lawyer.  Once a lawsuit is filed, there are very quick deadlines that, if not met, could potentially place your business in default and unable to defend the lawsuit on the merits.  If your business is sued, you should call MGA Law immediately to discuss your options and how best to proceed.

What steps can I take to protect my business from being sued?

Although it may not be possible to completely insulate your business from litigation, there are several steps you can take as a business owner to lower the risk of lawsuits, increase the chance of success in litigation, and to avoid incurring substantial attorney’s fees and costs.  MGA Law can review your business structure and existing contracts in order to protect your business from the dangers of litigation.