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Types of Commercial Disputes

Every business dispute, however minor it may seem at the time, has the potential to become a troublesome, and expensive, lawsuit. In today's business environment, your best course of action is to have a tough commercial litigation attorney on your side.

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Types of Commercial Disputes

Commercial litigation is an umbrella term that covers a number of distinct business-related issues and disputes. This article provides general information on a number of common commercial litigation situations. Being involved in any sort of commercial dispute can have a negative impact on your business and on your individual livelihood. A commercial litigation attorney at Sanders & Parks, P.C. in Phoenix, AZ, can assist you with any of the following issues.

Contract disputes

Contract disputes can arise in a number of situations — from a supplier's failure to deliver goods to your company according to the terms of your agreement to a dispute with a former employee over a non-compete agreement or employment contract. A contract is a legally enforceable agreement between two or more parties that creates an obligation to do or not do particular things. Once a valid contract exists, a party is under the duty to perform the agreed upon contractual duty. A breach of contract occurs when a party fails to perform. In a breach of contract action, the main remedies that the non-breaching party may pursue depend largely on the injury suffered. Some remedies include: damages aimed at putting the non-breaching party in the position that it would have been but for the breach, specific performance, cancellation and restitution and quasi-contractual remedies.

Tortious interference

Generally, business torts are claims for either intentional or negligent wrongdoing in a business relationship. These claims can be based either on statutes or on common law. One such tort is known as interference with contract or interference with prospective economic advantage. Though the elements of this tort vary from state to state, generally, a plaintiff must establish the existence of a contract or some economic relationship between the plaintiff and a third party; that the defendant knows about that relationship; intent by the defendant to disrupt or harm that relationship; actual disruption of the relationship; and damage to the plaintiff. Other business torts include unfair competition and conversion.

Antitrust and trade regulation

Generally, antitrust laws prohibit anticompetitive behavior and unfair business practices that harm consumers and businesses. Two of the main federal antitrust laws are the Sherman Act and the Robinson-Patman Act. Section 1 of the Sherman Act prohibits any contract, combination or conspiracy that restrains trade unreasonably. Section 2 of the Sherman Act makes it unlawful for companies to monopolize or attempt to monopolize trade or commerce. The Robinson-Patman Act prohibits price discrimination that threatens to harm competition. In order for the Robinson-Patman Act to be implicated, there must be two or more sales, by the same seller, of commodities of like grade and quality, that occurred reasonably close in time, with a difference in price, to two or more different purchasers for use, consumption or resale within the United States or any territory thereof, which may result in competitive injury.

RICO

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act (18 U.S.C. §§ 1961-68) was passed in 1970 to fight organized crime. Today, it has a much broader application, and has been used against businesses, individuals and charities. There are four liability provisions under section 1962. Section 1962(c) is the most commonly used provision, and under that section, it is unlawful for a person to manipulate an enterprise for purposes of engaging in, concealing or benefiting from a pattern of racketeering activity. Under section 1962(a), it is illegal for a person to use an enterprise to launder money that was acquired through a pattern of racketeering activity. Section 1962(b) makes it unlawful for a person to acquire or maintain an interest in an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity. Under 1962(d), it is unlawful for a person to conspire to violate sections (a), (b) or (c).

Uniform Commercial Code (UCC)

The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) governs commercial transactions. The UCC is divided into the following articles: general provisions; sales; leases; commercial paper; bank deposits and collections; funds transfers; letters of credit; bulk transfers; warehouse receipts, bills of lading and other documents of title; investment securities; and secured transactions; sales of accounts and chattel papers. One of the more significant articles from a business perspective is Article 2, which governs contracts for the sale of goods. The UCC defines a sale as a contract in which title to goods passes from the seller to the buyer for a price. Goods are generally all things that are movable at the time of the contract for the sale. The UCC provides rules for sales contract formation, modification, performance and remedies. In addition, the UCC governs sales warranties, important to most parties involved in sales.

Corporate disputes

Businesses, including partnerships and corporations, can face a number of legal disputes that fall under the umbrella of commercial litigation. Perhaps a shareholder brings a suit alleging that a company's officers or directors have breached their fiduciary duties or had a conflict of interest in a transaction that harmed the company. There could be a dispute among the partners or shareholders of a business. Corporate litigation that seeks to challenge mergers, acquisitions and financing arrangements are also common.

Speak to a commercial litigation lawyer

There are many types of commercial litigation. In addition to the types of disputes listed above, franchise dispute, debt collection actions, consumer fraud matters and employment disputes also fall under the heading of commercial litigation. Regardless of the issue you or your company is facing, it is important to have experienced representation from a lawyer who can guide you through the issues and work toward a result that will protect your bottom line. A commercial litigation attorney at Sanders & Parks, P.C. in Phoenix can evaluate your situation and advise you on how best to proceed.

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