Owning a business almost guarantees that you will be in civil court at some point. You may be forced to file a business lawsuit against a customer who refuses to pay an invoice or against another company that is using your logo or product name without permission. A business lawsuit must comply with specific procedures to have your side of the case heard in court. Many business owners hire lawyers to help protect their interests and navigate the legal process.
File Your Lawsuit in the Proper Court
Your business lawsuit might be filed in either state or federal civil court. Determining which court can hear the case involves the laws that apply and where the parties live and do business. Generally, if the case involves state law, your lawyer will file it in state civil court. Violations of federal law should be filed in federal civil court for the district where the parties live or the events happened. A case that violates state law can be heard in federal court under certain circumstances, such as when the parties live in different states.
Each court system has its own rules for administering lawsuits. The court's specific procedure can involve anything from the number of copies that must be submitted to the court when filing documents to the number of days you have to respond to a notice from the court. Your lawyer should know the procedures required to successfully file your lawsuit in the selected court.
Filing a Complaint With the Court
You can start a business lawsuit by filing a complaint with the proper court. The complaint must state your version of the facts surrounding the dispute and list the laws that apply to the case. You must also ask for some type of relief, such as money damages or an order from the court instructing the other party to stop engaging in certain behavior. Your complaint must also identify the proper responsible party. If you are suing another business, it may be possible to sue the business as well as the owners personally, depending on the type of business structure involved.
The Complaint and a Summons
Your lawyer must send a copy of the complaint to the party you are suing, along with a summons to appear in court. The defending party is required to submit a written response to the complaint, answering the statements made in the complaint and asserting any defenses. The party must also appear in court on the date indicated by the summons.
A Business Lawyer Can Help
The law surrounding filing a business lawsuit is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact a business lawyer.