Do you need a breakdown of the ins and outs of business and commercial litigation in federal courts?
When it comes to business and commercial litigation in federal courts, the thought can be intimidating. Damaging publicity? Enforcement action by regulators? Criminal prosecution?
Any one of those situations can bring on a major case of heartburn. However, it’s not always as dire as it seems. With the right legal strategy, you can emerge from the federal system unscathed. There are just a few facts you need to keep in mind:
1. You May Never Reach the Courtroom
Being sued might sound scary, but there’s a good chance you never actually set foot in the courtroom. In fact, a majority of lawsuits are settled before they get to trial. But why?
Well, lawsuits are expensive for all parties involved. Unless there’s a pressing reason to take you to trial (i.e. publicity, setting an example, and so on) most of the time everyone wants to reach a resolution as quickly as possible. This is known as an out of court settlement.
But what does that actually mean?
Well, a settlement basically is an agreement by both parties to not pursue the matter further. However, you can add a lot of terms and conditions to this deal. Mutual non-disclosure is often a standard clause. As is some form of monetary compensation or business arrangement. But, most importantly, a settlement is NOT an admission of guilt.
2. If You Do Go to Trial, Prepare for the Long Haul
Court trials (especially Federal trials) are not a speedy process. Filings, counter-filings, motions for dismissal…all are pieces of the game designed to eat up time.
If you have deep pockets, congratulations. You might be able to stick it out for the entirety of the trial. However, if the thought of investing tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees make you blanch, you may be better off opting for an early settlement.
The particulars of your case should, of course, be discussed with your lawyer, as well as any prospects for a counter-suit to recover things like attorney fees, damages, and lost revenue.
3. Regardless of the Trial Outcome, You Have Alternatives
There are always going to be options your legal team can pursue on your behalf. Counter-suits are a frequent tool used to recover damages when the outcome of the original trial is murky.
There is also the option of appeals, depending on a variety of factors. During an appeal, the court (usually a panel of three judges) will review the application of the law in the case at hand. Rulings can be overturned for a variety of reasons, so if there’s a chance the factual finding is against the weight of the evidence, then an appeal stands a good chance of success.