Commercial disputes may arise between two conflicting businesses, a business and a customer, or between business partners. Regional, state and federal laws may all factor into how a dispute proceeds. For this reason, the expert advice of an attorney is often necessary.
Organization and good business practices will help you in your resolution of a commercial dispute. Make sure all contracts are reviewed and approved by a reputable attorney to reduce the chance a contract will be found invalid or unlawful. Keep a secure and accurate filing system so that you can easily access records in the event of a business dispute.
Commercial disputes may involve issues of breach of contract, defamation, or other types of fraud.
Breach of Contract
A contract is a legally binding agreement that outlines each party’s obligations and prohibitions. Breach of contract is when a party that has entered into the contract does something he has agreed not to do, or does not do something he has agreed to do. Violating even one portion of a contract can constitute a breach in contract. A major breach of contract can result in the agreement being dissolved, and the wronged party receiving restitution or compensation for damages incurred by the breach.
A tort of defamation is a kind of legal action brought against someone who is accused of making claims against another person or organization that may be damaging to the reputation of that person or organization. There are two types of defamation:
- Libel – damaging statements or claims made in writing or similar medium.
- Slander – damaging statements or claims made verbally.
A tort is a type of action considered to be a breach of civil responsibility. Most defamation cases are civil cases, although they may occasionally also result in criminal charges.
Business fraud involves dishonest conduct by a business on a consumer or other business. The conduct may involve misrepresentations of facts, suppression of facts, broken promises to perform future acts, and other deceitful conduct. Beasley Allen has successfully represented consumers in business fraud cases involving insurance companies, mortgage companies, banks, manufacturers, retailers, and other business entities. For example, Beasley Allen attorneys received a record $581 million jury verdict in a fraud case involving a door-to-door sales and finance scam.
Additionally, Beasley Allen has successfully represented businesses against other businesses in cases involving fraud, as well as breach of contract, third-party interference with contract, and disclosure of trade secrets. For example, Beasley Allen has represented businesses against insurance carriers, banks, suppliers, franchisors, and competitors, to name a few. Beasley Allen also represents eight state Medicaid programs against various pharmaceutical companies related to a fraudulent drug pricing scheme.
A consumer or business injured by business fraud is entitled to recover compensatory damages, in the form of money awarded by a jury to compensate the defrauded person or business for the loss suffered. The purpose of compensatory damages is to place the defrauded party in the position he would occupy had the fraud not occurred. In some cases, a defrauded person may also be able to recover money for mental anguish suffered because of the defendant’s conduct.
Also, in some cases, a defrauded consumer or business may be entitled to recover punitive damages, which is money awarded by the jury to punish the wrongdoer and to deter the wrongdoer and others of similar wrongful conduct in the future.