How to Protect Your
Business While Being Sued
Feb. 14, 2022
Disputes in business are part of the landscape. Whether disputes arise from customers, employees, partners, outside contractors, the government, or even family members, if matters boil over into lawsuits, your business might find itself in sudden jeopardy. Just dealing with a lawsuit can rob you of precious time and resources needed to operate your business.
Common types of lawsuits include breach of contract, slip-and-falls and premises liability, employee discrimination, trademark infringement or theft of trade secrets, breach of fiduciary responsibility, and tortious interference.
Whenever your business is faced with a lawsuit, even if it has yet to be filed, you need to move quickly and decisively. Do not sit back and hope it disappears or the plaintiff suddenly has a change of heart. You need professional, experienced legal counsel to counter the lawsuit and protect your business. After all, the survival of your enterprise could be on the line.
If your business is involved in a lawsuit filed against you in or around Birmingham, Alabama, or anywhere throughout Alabama or the Florida Panhandle, contact Clark Law Firm LLC.
John has a background in business administration, banking, finance, as well as commercial and business litigation. He can meet with you, evaluate the situation, and develop an aggressive strategy to counter the lawsuit, whether through negotiations or in the courtroom.
How to Handle a Business
Lawsuit Against You
While optimism is always an attractive trait, don’t just shrug off a lawsuit, thinking it will go away or take care of itself. If you don’t respond to the lawsuit within a given time frame, the plaintiff suing you can ask the court for a default judgment. Pretty soon, you’ll be taking out your checkbook to settle the lawsuit without ever getting a day in court.
A lawsuit is a serious matter. And here are a few steps you should take to protect your business when being sued:
RETAIN AN ATTORNEY IMMEDIATELY: Find a business law attorney who has handled the type of lawsuit you are facing, whether it is a breach of contract, a fraud accusation, a discrimination complaint, or something else. Remember what Abraham Lincoln famously said: “If you are your own lawyer, you have a fool for a client.” Plus, a non-natural entity (LLC, corporation, etc.) cannot represent itself in most courts in Alabama and Florida.
Obviously, no successful business owner is going to head into court without legal representation, but Lincoln’s saying also applies to the early days of a lawsuit. You may think you can handle everything on your own and prevent the lawsuit, so you reach out to the plaintiff with an offer. Most likely, the plaintiff’s lawyer will be the next voice you hear on the phone. You need an attorney of your own from the beginning of a lawsuit.
AVOID MAKING PUBLIC COMMENTS OR MISTAKES: Whatever you say or do in public will no doubt become fodder for the plaintiff’s attorney. If you make slanderous statements about the person or entity suing you, those comments will come up in court or in negotiations to avoid going to court. Anything you say or do should be vetted beforehand by the attorney you hired as your first step.
CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY: If you are being sued for something that is, or may be, covered by any available insurance policy, then reach out to your insurer. This is especially important in cases of injuries or accidents that occur in your place of business involving individuals other than your employees (who are covered by workers’ compensation).
WORK WITH YOUR ATTORNEY TO SETTLE OUT OF COURT: If you go to court to litigate, you can never be sure of the outcome. A jury might make a high-dollar award to the plaintiff that could jeopardize the survival of your business or see you end up in court for endless appeals. In light of that, most business lawsuits end up being settled outside of the courtroom.
You should work with your attorney to determine if an early settlement - to avoid the uncertainties of a trial outcome - may be beneficial. Granted, some lawsuits may be so outrageous and threatening that you need to go through the court process. But you always need to weigh the costs – and time lost in a courtroom – versus the survivability of your business through negotiation.
Remember also that settling out of court will also be more private that litigation, so your business’s reputation won’t take an unnecessary and potentially fatal hit in the court of public opinion.
SAFEGUARD ANY RELEVANT DOCUMENTS OR MATERIALS: If you know there is the potential for litigation or a dispute, then put in place safeguards to prevent the destruction or deletion of any relevant documents or materials. Nothing is worse for your business or case than to have a great defense to an action but be unable to make the defense because documents were lost or destroyed. Or, even worse, have the court determine that the plaintiff is entitled to an "inference" of wrongdoing by you because documents were not saved or protected.
Let Clark Law Firm PC Help
Each situation and each lawsuit is going to present different challenges. Whenever a lawsuit looms, you need to obtain experienced legal counsel and representation immediately. Clark Law Firm PC will give you and your business personalized attention and strive for a solution that protects you and your business in a time of stress and survivability.
If your business is being sued anywhere in Alabama or the Florida Panhandle, contact Clark Law Firm PC immediately. John will fight for your rights and the best possible outcome, whether through negotiations or in a court of law.