Lake City Business Litigation Lawyer
Keeping your business moving forward usually consumes all your time and energy. It does not matter if you are a work-at-home freelancer or the head of a multibillion-dollar multinational conglomerate. It also does not matter if you just started your business yesterday or you have been in operation for years. When disputes arise, as they inevitably do, you need fast solutions that are also long-lasting and cost-effective.
The Lake City business litigation lawyers at Douglas & Carter also know what it’s like to run a business in Columbia County. So, we take as much stress as possible off your shoulders. Every business litigation matter we handle begins with a conversation. Once we understand your needs and goals in a particular situation, it’s much easier to suggest an appropriate course of action. Throughout the entire litigation process, we keep the conversation going. That way, you are never in the dark and have peace of mind about the whole situation.
Some Common Business Disputes in Lake City
Your business runs on contracts. Some are written and some are oral; some are express and some are implied. When contract disputes arise, the first step is usually determining if there was an enforceable agreement between the two parties. The elements of a contract are:
- Offer and Acceptance: This element is straightforward in some agreements and quite complex in others. Both the offer and acceptance must be clear and unequivocal. Any “maybes” usually mean the agreement is not an enforceable contract.
- Consideration: Each side must either give something of value, or give up something of value. Mere recitals or de minimis consideration, like one dollar, usually does not constitute consideration.
- Mutuality: A contract must include a “meeting of the minds.” Both parties must agree on the same thing at the same time. Therefore, a string of emails or text messages may not form a contractual obligation.
- Capacity: Many businesses and individuals rely on agents to conduct their affairs. Even if the agent does not technically have the authority to make the contract, the agreement may still be binding.
- Writing: Generally, contracts for real estate and agreements that cannot be performed within a year are subject to the Statute of Frauds. Moreover, the four-corners rule usually applies to these agreements. Evidence concerning additional oral agreements may be admissible in court.
If the parties had a contract, the matter of damages is relevant. Most parties have a duty to cover their losses and minimize their damages as much as possible before they file legal claims.
Our Lake City business law attorneys also handle other types of claims, such as employment law matters. This umbrella term includes claims like wrongful discharge, sexual harassment, and wage/hour claims. Sometimes these cases involve individuals and sometimes they are large class-action matters.
Discovery in Lake City Business Law Claims
After each side files initial pleadings and the judge rules on any procedural motions, most commercial cases move to the discovery phase. One might think that technology has made the information-gathering phase shorter and less expensive. But in many cases, the opposite is true. e-Discovery is often very time-consuming and very expensive. Both sides are usually eager to avoid this expense, so many cases settle on favorable terms at this point.
e-Discovery is not all bad. Today’s litigants have access to more information and evidence than at any other time. Moreover, e-Discovery prevents big companies from using “discovery dumps.” In the old days, a company might produce millions of pages of documents and force the other side to meticulously go through every one of them. Now, a lawyer can handle a discovery dump with a few hours, a scanner, and a laptop.
In Columbia County, roughly 90 percent of civil cases settle out of court. That settlement could happen quickly or could literally occur on the courthouse steps just before trial.
Rely on Tenacious Business Litigation Lawyers
The outcome of a business dispute could radically affect the trajectory of your enterprise. For a free consultation with an experienced business litigation lawyer in Lake City, contact Douglas & Carter. After-hours visits are available.