Subfields of Disputes
What Can You Do When a Business Relationship Breaks Down?
In business relationships, the guide for communication is a contract. Ideally, parties should have a well-drafted contract to minimize legal problems. However, conflicts can arise whether there is a written contract or no contract at all. When a dispute arises, it is important to evaluate the facts, review the applicable law, assess the risks and benefits and determine the ideal resolution. Sometimes, the relationship between the parties can be salvaged, sometimes it’s best to move on. If a dispute cannot be resolved through negotiation or mediation, litigation or arbitration may be necessary. Our attorneys help clients understand their options and pursue a solution that meets the goals of the business and its owners. Whether in negotiation or litigation, our lawyers focus on protecting our clients’ interests and advocating for their rights.
Who We Represent
Our litigation team represents businesses and their owners, including partners, shareholders, directors and officers, LLC members and other parties. We advise clients on a range of matters, including breach of contract claims, partnership and shareholders disputes, complex intellectual property and securities cases, and actions brought under the Civil Racketeering Act. Our clients come from a variety of industries, from technology and fashion to medical and manufacturing.
What We Do
We take a close look at the client’s circumstances to identify strategies that will best resolve the dispute. Sometimes, it may be as easy as sending a demand letter to remind the other side of their obligations. We can pursue solutions amicably, if preferred, through negotiation or mediation. If that does not work, our litigation team has substantial experience arguing before New York state and federal courts and arbitrating disputes before the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), the Independent Film and Television Alliance (“IFTA”), the Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services (“JAMS”) and the International Chamber of Commerce (“ICC”).
Mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution where parties have the opportunity to settle their matter with the help of a neutral third party agreed upon by the parties (the mediator). The mediator does not impose a decision on the parties; instead, the mediator facilitates discussion to help the parties reach an agreement. The parties can provide for mediation of disputes in a contract or agree to it after a problem arises. While this is an out-of-court process, our attorneys advise clients regarding the best strategy to achieve a positive outcome and can represent them during the mediation.
Arbitration is another private form of alternative dispute resolution. As with mediation, the parties must voluntarily agree to the process, usually in a contract. It differs from mediation in that the neutral third party (the arbitrator) renders a binding decision or an “award.” Binding arbitration is final and enforceable in court with only a very narrow scope of review and right to appeal. Arbitration has stages similar to a litigation, but the parties have more flexibility over the rules and process. Our attorneys have extensive experience representing clients before many of the top arbitration organizations, including AAA, FINRA, JAMS and ICC.
Whether you are the one filing a lawsuit, or you are being sued, having a skilled litigation assist you through the process attorney is important. We start with an extensive analysis of the facts and law to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a case, then provide clients with a clear assessment of their likelihood of a successful outcome. Our litigators aggressively advocate for clients at every stage of litigation, including pre-suit negotiations, motion practice, trial, appeals and collection of a judgment.
Contracts are part of almost every business relationship. When one of the parties breaches the contract, legal assistance is usually needed to resolve the issue. Not all breaches are treated the same under the law, and the available remedies can vary greatly depending on the type of breach and the terms of the contract. Our attorneys advise clients regarding the most effective way to enforce the contract or defend against a lawsuit.
The law prohibits someone from making a false statement of fact about a person where the statement is harmful to that person’s reputation and is made without privilege or consent. However, defamation is difficult to establish because not all harmful statements constitute defamation. There are also various defenses to the action. Courts undertake a fact-specific analysis, and an attorney can help by presenting appropriate evidence and advocating on behalf of the client. Our attorneys are experienced representing plaintiffs and defendants in defamation cases.
The consequences of copyright infringement are severe. Copyright owners may suffer substantial damages because of an infringer’s unauthorized use and exploitation of their creative works. Infringers may be liable for significant damages if found responsible. We help owners secure and enforce their copyrights through cease-and-desist orders and litigation. Our attorneys also represent alleged infringers to ensure they present any valid defenses to avoid or limit liability.
Trademarks enable businesses to protect their brand. When someone uses the brand’s mark (or a similar mark) without permission, it can result in significant damage to the trademark owner. However, trademark infringement may be difficult to prove because it is fact-sensitive. Alleged infringers also have various available defenses. Our attorneys have extensive experience bringing and defending infringement actions.
The best way to avoid a partnership dispute is to have a well-drafted partnership agreement. However, even then, conflicts can arise. Partners may breach the agreement, act in a way that is harmful to the business, or simply fight over the operations of the business. We assist partners in finding an appropriate resolution, whether that means negotiating a settlement, facilitating a buy-out of the other partner(s) or dissolving the business.
While all shareholders want to protect their financial interests in a business, they may have disagreements over how that should happen. Disputes may arise over the operations of the company, or alleged misconduct or unfair treatment by some of the company’s shareholders. A Shareholders’ Agreement and other documents typically provide mechanisms for resolving conflicts. Our attorneys help clients be proactive and minimize problems with detailed provisions in these agreements. We also represent shareholders and directors in negotiations and litigation to enforce their legal rights.
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