Simplifying Complex Commercial Issues

Civil litigation, as opposed to criminal litigation, generally involves a dispute between two or more parties seeking to enforce or defend a legal right. In many cases, the plaintiff is seeking compensation in the form of money damages from the defendant. However, some civil lawsuits seek injunctive relief—to force another party to do or refrain from doing a particular act. When civil disputes involve businesses or companies, the lawsuit is generally described as “commercial litigation.” Litigating a commercial dispute can drain time and resources. In many commercial disputes, negotiating a settlement is the most cost-effective solution. In other situations where the opposing party’s liability is clear or a settlement is not financially viable, litigation may be the most prudent option.

Timmins Harlan represents individuals and businesses, of all sizes, in a wide range of commercial litigation disputes, some of which are highlighted below. As a full-service law firm with a dedicated Commercial Litigation Practice, we have the expertise and experience to handle your specific situation.

Should you have any questions regarding our commercial litigation services, please feel free to fill out a request form or contact us directly.

Business Partner & Shareholder Disputes

When assets are combined in a commercial venture, there can be disagreements on the management of the business, allocation of resources and personnel, shareholder control, among a host of other aspects. Disputes between shareholders and partners can be detrimental to a company’s success, especially when involving financial and succession matters. In some instances, disputes can arise from simple carelessness or innocent mistakes. In others, officers, directors, or shareholders may be liable for intentional mishandling, misallocation, or outright fraud against other shareholders. Internal business disputes can take several forms, with the most common being the breach of a shareholder agreement. We are equipped to handle the full spectrum of business disputes, including:

  • Oppressed shareholder actions
  • Breach of fiduciary duties
  • Limited liability corporation (LLC) member disputes
  • Partnership disputes
  • Intellectual property disputes
  • Freeze-outs by one partner against another

Fraud & Business Interference

Fraud and tortious interference fall under the umbrella of business torts. Fraud is one of the most common bases for business litigation. Fraud claims arise when a party intentionally deceives another party in a business transaction. Tortious or business interference claims arise when a third party intentionally interferes with an existing contractual or future business relationship. These claims frequently arise from acts of defamation, libel, slander, false advertising, and unfair competition. We are equipped to advise on all types of business torts, including:

  • Consumer Fraud Act violations
  • Common law legal fraud
  • Common law equitable fraud
  • Interference with contractual relations
  • Interference with prospective economic advantage

Contract Disputes

While many contractual disputes relate to intentional misconduct, other disputes stem from the parties’ misinterpretation of their contractual rights and duties. The party that allegedly breached the contract may have misread or misunderstood its rights and obligations as conveyed in the contractual language. In these cases, preservation of valuable business relationships may be possible while still remedying the breach. In other cases, the breaching party may have truly failed to fulfill the terms of the contract by failing to deliver payment, failing to deliver materials or products, failing to complete work in the required time frame, or failing to complete work to the required standards. The breach may also relate to a specific clause in a contract, such as a noncompete agreement. We advise on an array of contractual matters, including disputes over:

  • written contracts
  • oral agreements
  • implied agreements
  • digital terms and conditions

Insurance Bad Faith

A bad-faith claim arises when an insurer unreasonably denies or delays a claim without proper cause. When this happens, the insurer violates the duty of good faith and fair dealing inherent in every insurance policy. Because of the special relationship between the insurer and its insured, such a violation can entitle the policyholder to a wider array of damages than those that are available on a typical breach of contract claim. We handle bad-faith and related claims arising from virtually every kind of insurance, including health and disability, long-term care, life, auto, homeowner’s, commercial property, and business interruption. Some of the types of matters we handle involve:

  • Unreasonable claim denials
  • Failure to investigate a claim
  • Failure to promptly pay an undisputed claim
  • Settlement offers that are unreasonably low
  • Failure to defend the policyholder

Creditor Rights & Bankruptcy

The bankruptcy process is designed to protect individual and corporate debtors from creditors and provide a means for debtors to eliminate, reduce or restructure their debt. While many bankruptcies are filed in good faith, many are not. Regardless of the motivation underlying the bankruptcy filing, creditors are forced to comply with the decisions of the bankruptcy trustee and bankruptcy courts. However, creditors are not without rights. The federal bankruptcy code provides businesses, lenders, banks, and other creditors with legal protections against unpaid debts and with means to recover bad debts, including post-judgment debts. Not only can we secure and collect these debts, but we can also protect creditor rights through:

  • Challenging the ‘automatic stay’ after a bankruptcy petition has been filed
  • Adversary proceedings to challenge the discharge or existence of certain debts, such as those incurred through fraud or malicious conduct
  • Preference litigation
  • Fraudulent conveyances
  • Challenging lien avoidance
  • Bankruptcy reclamation
  • Commercial debt collection

Should you have any questions regarding our commercial litigation services, please feel free to fill out a request form or contact us directly.