Business & Commercial Litigation
Although business and commercial litigation covers a wide variety of business-related topics and issues, it is primarily understood to be the practice of law that deals with problems and disagreements arising from business relationships. This could involve everything from evaluating and resolving contract and employment disputes to handling construction lien and collection matters.
Determining when litigation is appropriate and formulating a legal strategy can be a complex process. So if you live in Florida and are involved in a business-related dispute, it is critical to contact a knowledgeable business litigation attorney who will aggressively represent your interests.
Breach of Contract
Some of the most common legal cases we encounter at Clearwater Business Law are those that involve breach of contract issues. Although all contract cases differ depending on the specific terms of the agreement, most breach of contract claims occur as a result of one of the following situations:
- One of the parties fails to fulfill its legal obligations as outlined in the agreement within the agreed-upon timeframe;
- One of the parties does not perform to the level it promised;
- One of the parties makes it impossible for the other party to perform its duties; and
- One of the parties does not perform any of its contractual duties.
Depending on the types of damages caused by the breach, these types of claims are categorized as either material or immaterial. A material breach, which is also often referred to as a total breach, occurs when the party’s failure to perform its legal obligation is of such importance that the contract’s main purpose cannot be fulfilled. An immaterial breach on the other hand, occurs when most of the duties contained in the contract have already been performed, even if some were neglected. While the wronged party can seek damages for an immaterial breach, it cannot terminate the contract as a whole.
Finally, a person or company who interferes with a contract between two other parties and so causes one of the parties to breach the contract can be held liable for its tortious interference and any resulting financial losses. Breaching a contract can have devastating consequences for the non-breaching party and could result in significant financial loss as well as damage to the business’s reputation.
At Clearwater Business Law we are familiar with enforcing and defending a variety of different contracts, including:
- Construction contracts;
- Employment contracts;
- Partnership and shareholder agreements;
- Non-compete agreements
- Non-solicitation; and
- Real estate contracts.
One of the key methods of ensuring that a party does not get away with breaching a contract is to carefully draft the contract itself in a way that fully protects the interests of the parties. Disputes are much more likely to arise when contracts are poorly drafted, so if you are interested in forming a contract with another party, it is important to have the advice of an experienced business litigation attorney who can assist with drafting and reviewing contracts in addition to defending them.
Construction Litigation Issues
Our legal team has experience handling a wide range of construction-related legal matters, including those that involve:
- Bond claims;
- Collection disputes;
- Construction defects;
- Insurance claims; and
- Third party claims.
Our firm also handles a significant number of claims involving construction liens. These types of disputes arise when those who work on a property or provide materials are not paid in full according to the terms of a contract. In these situations, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers of building materials can enforce their claims for payment against the property by filing a lien. If a lien is filed, the property can be sold against the owner’s will to pay for labor, materials, or other services. This is true even for those property owners who pay their contractors on time and in full if the contractors do not in turn pay their employees.
At Clearwater Business Law, our business litigation attorneys represent contractors and subcontractors who have not been paid for their services. When property owners fail to make a payment after a lien has been served and recorded, we assist our clients in pursuing payment. This may require filing a lawsuit to foreclose on the construction lien itself. We also assist property owners and developers by drafting a contract containing a stipulation explaining that before any payments will be made, the contractor must provide a written release of the lien to the property owner.
We also have a significant amount of experience defending property owners against foreclosure if the contractors allegedly breached their contracts by abandoning a project, using defective materials, or causing unreasonable delays. Whether we are representing property owners or contractors, our litigation attorneys work closely with our clients to secure the appropriate paperwork and affidavits in advance and so are appropriately prepared for litigation.
Employment disputes can take a number of different forms and can involve any of the following issues:
- Breach of contract;
- Discrimination claims;
- Misappropriation of trade secrets;
- Nondisclosure agreements;
- Restrictive covenants;
- Severance contracts; and
- Unfair dismissal.
Cases involving misappropriation of trade secrets and unfair competition are governed by the Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) and Florida’s Uniform Trade Secrets Act (FUTSA). Our legal team is well-acquainted with these statutes as well as relevant federal law, which gives us an added edge when representing our clients, whether they are being prosecuted for misappropriation or are attempting to preserve their trade secrets.
Contact a Florida Business & Commercial Litigation Attorney
Whether representing a small business owner who is being accused of breaching a contract or defending a property owner against a lien foreclosure, our legal team is well equipped to handle the complexities and stresses that usually accompany these types of legal matters. Commercial litigation issues are often extremely technical and fact-intensive. For this reason, our attorneys have honed their organizational skills as well as their ability to coordinate extensive discovery, so if you have questions or concerns about a business-related legal issue, please contact Clearwater Business Law at (727) 785-5100 to speak with an experienced attorney who can evaluate your case.