Running a business is a difficult endeavor, and it cannot be done alone. At times, issues will arise that require expert decisions, and most business owners are not experts in business law. When a legal concern arises, an experienced Los Angeles business litigation attorney must be called upon to provide you with the options available and how best to proceed after choosing an option.
Options before Litigation
Legal matters concerning a business do not necessarily have to go to litigation. An experienced attorney will exhaust all other options before going to litigation. If an initial settlement is not reached, a lawyer need not go immediately to litigation. In many cases, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) may provide the most benefits. ADR can include mediation between the two parties, arbitration involving a neutral third-party, or a combination of the two. ADR takes place in a more relaxed environment than a formal trial. The rules of ADR are not as strict, and it is generally less expensive.
Another option that can be used in some cases is small claims court. This type of court proceeding is for minor lawsuits involving small monetary sums. Small claims courts do not require an attorney present if the cost would be prohibited by the amount of the claim.
If a business case goes to litigation, several steps must be followed in order to achieve a successful judicial resolution. Once the initial pleading is filed and the other party has been allowed to respond, the judge will begin to accept motions. The pleadings are the initial claims and counter-claims, while the motions are requests for a judge to take some action pertinent to the case.
After the motions are filed, a pretrial will commence. A pretrial is an effort to make the actual trial run more efficiently and smoothly. The strengths and weaknesses of the parties’ claims can be determined so a course of action can be determined.
The actual trial may be heard by a judge alone, or it may be heard by a jury and presided over by a judge. Trials involving litigation and a Los Angeles business litigation attorney may take months or even years to be heard. Once it begins, the trial may end in an hour, or it may last for several days.
When the trial has finished, a judgment is made. The judgment may result in the clearing of the case, one or both parties being ordered to take specific actions or it may result in damages being awarded.
If one party disagrees with the judgment rendered from a business litigation case, the party who disagrees may file an appeal with a higher court. The appellate court will review the facts of the case and may require another trial. However, the appeal may also be found to be without merit, letting the original judgment stand.