Business Litigation Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Filed Under: Articles, Business Litigation

  • Another company has harmed us. Should we sue?

The business of business is business, not litigation. Because lawsuits can be expensive, the economic viability of a case depends on having both a good claim and a solvent defendant who can pay a judgment. Moreover, litigation diverts the energy of executives away from potentially more productive activity, which is a hidden cost of litigation. Nevertheless, in some situations, filing a lawsuit is not merely an option; it is the right thing to do. Consultation with an experienced litigator is the best way to evaluate the risks of litigation and both the intangible and direct economic viability of a potential lawsuit. At Schachter Harris we pride ourselves on the ability to give sound advice to clients considering whether to bring a lawsuit.

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  • What are the chances we will be able to settle the case without a trial?

Statistically, relatively few lawsuits result in a full-blown contested trial. Thus, odds are that a case will settle at some point. Yet, the best way to obtain a favorable settlement is to be fully prepared for trial. Accordingly, it can be in a client’s best interest to engage counsel with a reputation for the ability to try cases to a verdict. Unfortunately, because the vast majority of business lawsuits do not result in trials, many litigators have experience in pretrial procedures, but far fewer have substantial experience completing trials. At Schachter Harris, we have that experience.

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  • What are the costs of business lawsuits?

A litigant can expect to incur attorneys’ fees, charges for expert witnesses, court reporter’s fees for transcribing and video-taping trial depositions, and various costs and expenses necessary to prosecute the case such as filing fees, investigative expenses, travel expenses, long-distance telephone charges, postage, and copying costs. The magnitude of the costs depend on many factors, including the type of case, the forum, the unique facts of the specific case, court rulings, the tactics employed by the opposition, and the point at which the case is resolved. An experienced litigator is the best person to consult for estimates of the costs of business litigation.

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  • What is arbitration and when is it available in a business case?

Some contractual disputes arise from agreements that contain arbitration provisions which require that the parties resolve their dispute out of court before a specified individual or panel. If the arbitration provision is enforceable (a question that can itself lead to litigation), then the case cannot be filed in court and will not have a jury trial. Even without an arbitration clause, the parties to some disputes agree to submit their case to arbitration. Absent a binding arbitration provision or agreement, the case must be handled in the court system.

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  • Do I need a lawyer for an arbitration proceeding?

The usual arbitration proceeding is supposed to be less formal than litigation. Nevertheless, it is still a contested proceeding in which a party presents both legal and factual arguments to the person or panel deciding the case. Parties are usually represented by counsel in significant arbitration proceedings.

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  • How are jury consultants used in business litigation?

Distilling complex facts into a winning presentation for a lay jury has never been easy. Not so long ago, seasoned trial lawyers relied solely on their own experience and intuition. There is still no substitute for a lawyer with sound judgment. Yet in the last few decades, a significant body of scientific data has accumulated on how jurors decide cases. Experts trained in this science can make valuable contributions to trial preparation and jury selection. They can also design mock trials to help a company evaluate a case before it goes to trial. Understanding when to use trial consultants and knowing how to work with them productively are important skills for today’s commercial litigator. At Schachter Harris we have worked with preeminent trial consultants throughout the country.

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  • What does it mean to be board-certified in civil trial law?

The Texas Supreme Court has authorized The Texas Board of Legal Specialization to grant certificates of special competence to attorneys in more than a dozen specialty areas. Board certified attorneys have met specific experience, peer review, and examination requirements. The specialty most relevant to business litigation is civil trial law.

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