Business Legal Advice: When to Sue
Bradley I. Kramer is a M.D, Esquire. at The Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer (http://www.biklaw.com/). In this video he shares business legal advice on when to sue.
- Identify potential claims: breach of contract, fraud, or unfair practices
- Breach of contract: when one party breaks a specified provision
- Fraud: intentional misrepresentation or concealment
- Unfair business practices: actions that adversely affect your business
- Determine if damages are substantial to your business
- Lawsuits vary based on details, but average 1-2 years
As a business litigator, one of the principle questions that I get asked frequently is when do I sue or can I sue? And the advice that I give to my clients generally is first you want to look at the claims that you have the potential for bringing.
And when it comes to those claims in the business context, there are three real issues that I get confronted with on a regular basis. The first is the breach of contract, the second is fraud, and the third is unfair business practices. Any of those claims serve as a proper basis for bringing a lawsuit.
Breach of contract obviously involves when you have a signed contract with another party, and they run a foul of one of the provisions in that contract so they do something that is prohibited by the contract.
With regard to fraud, you are looking at intentional misrepresentations or concealment that have a material effect on your business practice and cause you to incur damages.
And unfair business practices are similarly practices that another business for example might carry on that adversely affect your business.
The second question that I have to answer for clients generally is what is the damage amount that makes sense to file a lawsuit? And that’s a little bit of a touchy subject but in general, if you have damages that are significant to your business and have an adverse material effect on your business, then that is the proper time to at least consider bringing a lawsuit. And after you consult with an attorney he will be able to determine whether or not from a financial perspective it’s a proper avenue for recovery.
The third issue that I have to answer for clients frequently is what is the time commitment for bringing a lawsuit? And that varies depending on what the claims that are being brought and who the defendant is and who the other parties involved in the action are. But generally, when you file a lawsuit the time from beginning to the end of that lawsuit is about a year to a year and a half, and that’s a reasonable expectation of how long it’s going to take from filing the initial complaint to the end of a trial if there is one.
So these are three items that I would say are most important in determining whether or not you want to bring a lawsuit against another party, and certainly consult with an attorney at any time before you decide to do that.