The simplest and most succinct definition of commercial litigation describes it as a body of law that covers business conflicts. These conflicts often arise from disagreements over legal contracts. Sometimes referred to as corporate or business law, commercial litigation is generally considered to be a branch of civil law that governs disputes of both a public and private nature
Commercial law regulates hiring practices, corporate contracts, and the sale and manufacturer of consumer products. The most common cases involve class action suits, employee disputes, shareholder issues, debt collection, and partnership disputes. In the United States, commercial litigation is quite complex since it is the governed and regulated by both the states and the U.S. Congress. In other words, the rules often differ from state to state-which is why it is important to speak with legal professionals at established law firms before you file a lawsuit.
If these disputes cannot be resolved through meetings and negotiations, it may be necessary to go to court. Since they do not involve criminal charges, most commercial lawsuits are heard by a jury in a civil trial. It is possible to waive a jury trial so that a judge can decide these cases, as long as both sides agree.
Because most of these suits are quite complex, they can take several months, even years to resolve. It is for this reason that the courts often encourage litigants to reach an acceptable settlement before the case goes to trial. Of course, the court cannot force either side to agree to a settlement against their will. If the plaintiff and his lawyer do not accept the offers made by the defense, the case will inevitably go to trial.
Before the trial, a savvy litigator from one of the area’s top law firms may request that the case be heard in federal court. The reason for this is to minimize the home field advantage for a large company that is based in a particular state. This is only possible when the suit involves a federal program or statute, or when the dispute is between citizens that reside in different states and the amount involved is over $75,000.
Who pays for these cases? There is no established procedure, but a judge may order the losing side to pay all of the court costs and legal fees, including witness expenses, the cost of exhibits, and filing fees. It is for this reason that most commercial litigation suits are settled before they go to trial.