Many in the corporate world use the terms interchangeably, but there are very specific differences between business litigation and commercial litigation. It’s true that they both involve court action and there is some overlap in the general legal concepts. However, there are important distinctions you need to understand as a Florida business owner, whether you’re pursuing a lawsuit or defending against one. Of course, you want to rely on your attorney for the details, which brings up another important point: You’ll need to retain a Clearwater litigation lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to protect your interests in both.
As an overview, you may find it useful to check out some general information on how business and commercial lawsuits are different.
Business Litigation Encompasses a Range of Operational Issues: This type of lawsuit centers on the federal and state laws involved with setting up and running a company, most notably the Florida Business Corporations Act. Litigation arising under this statute may be regulatory in nature, in which case the other party might be a state governmental body. However, the Act also covers disputes among directors and shareholders in connection with your company’s Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, distributions, and other operational issues. Therefore, a business lawsuit matter could involve the company and stakeholders as parties.
In addition, business litigation also encompasses:
- Compliance with wage and hour regulations;
- Workers’ compensation;
- Lawsuits arising under insurance policies;
- Employment issues, such as harassment, discrimination, and wrongful discharge;
- State and federal tax laws;
- Environmental requirements;
- Workplace safety regulations;
- Whistleblower complaints;
- Breach of fiduciary duty; and,
- Many other topics.
Commercial Litigation Focuses on Contracts and Transactions: Lawsuits in this category are derived from the term “commerce,” so they focus on any disputes or issues arising out of trade – buying, selling, providing services, and related transactions. The key statute is the Florida Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), which governs contracts involving:
- The sale of goods;
- Secured transactions; and,
- Commercial paper.
In common law, there are basic requirements for contracts, including offer, acceptance, and consideration. The UCC imposes additional, sometimes overlapping requirements when the contract involves a topic that the law covers. For instance, a contract for the sale of goods in excess of $500 is unenforceable unless there’s a writing that indicates an agreement was made between parties who meet the definition of “merchants.” Plus, in the event that the seller or buyer breaches, the UCC provides for alternatives to litigation. For instance, a seller can withhold delivery of the goods or a buyer can revoke acceptance of noncomplying goods.
Retain a Clearwater, FL Business Litigation Attorney for Legal Assistance
Though there are key differences between business and commercial litigation, the two types of actions share a common element: It’s essential for company owners to rely upon experienced, knowledgeable legal counsel as soon as a lawsuit becomes imminent. Our team of business and commercial litigation lawyers at Clearwater Business Law advises stakeholders on how to protect their interests and comply with fluctuating regulatory landscape, so please call (727) 785-5100 to set up a consultation. We handle both business and commercial lawsuits throughout Pinellas County, so we’re prepared to fight for your company.