What does a commercial litigation lawyer do? People are often confused when lawyers say they practice “commercial litigation” because the term does not have an official or legal meaning. Technically, it means lawsuits involving commerce or business. So it includes pretty much every type of case that can come up when people are doing business. Commercial litigation attorneys often specialize or restrict their areas of practice to one or two special areas. So if you want to know if an attorney handles a type of case, just ask. If they don’t, they should be willing to refer you to someone who does.
In South Florida, commercial litigators see a lot of cases involving problems with banks, problems
between business partners, collection of money owed, trademark infringement, construction problems, breaches of contract, partnership disputes, breach of duty claims, and related disputes with government agencies.
Problems with banks can include mortgage foreclosures and situations where the bank has withdrawn money from a customer’s account without the customer’s signature on a check. Banking law is a specialized area of law that is a type of commercial litigation.
Trademark infringement cases usually involve a claim that one business is using a label or brand name that another company has the right to use. Infringement cases are in the area of law called “intellectual property law” and are also a type of commercial litigation. Construction problems are another kind of case that are a specialized area of commercial litigation.
A breach of contract is where two people or companies have agreed to do something and one of them doesn’t hold up their part of the bargain. There are a lot of different kinds of breaches of contract. For example, a landlord who has leased office space to a tenant and then does not get paid the rent can sue for breach of contract, and so can a tenant who has a problem with his rental space that is the landlord’s responsibility under the lease or under Florida statutes. This kind of case involves landlord-tenant law, but it also can be called commercial litigation.
Partnership disputes are usually just another type of breach of contract claim – that is, where Partner #1 says that Partner #2 agreed to do something or to not do something but went back on his word – or it can be a claim that one partner breached his fiduciary duty to the other. (A fiduciary duty is a duty that each partner has toward the other to take care of the business.)
Not all commercial litigation attorneys handle the exact same kinds of cases, so if you don’t know just ask.