It usually takes more than one person to build a business. By teaming up with other professionals, business owners can divide and conquer the various aspects that go into starting and running a business. When a business partnership works well, it can save all parties enormous amounts of time and money, and contribute to the ultimate success of the company. When a partnership fails to be mutually beneficial, or harms one of the members, the resulting break up can be as nasty as any divorce.
Our Chicago commercial litigation attorneys are here to try to make the break as clean as possible and make sure all sides are treated fairly. Because litigation can be so costly and time consuming, the first responsibility of a business dispute attorney is to try to avoid litigation. Arbitration hearings and mediation are both common forms of dispute resolution that can get results for all parties involved much more quickly and less costly than litigation.
In order to avoid this, many people insist on a contract before entering into a business partnership with another individual or entity. A solid contract can prevent a lot of problems later on down the road, but sometimes one party refuses to abide by the contract. If both parties have agreed to a contract in writing, the side that was harmed by the breach of contract can sue for damages, but only in specific situations.
Illinois law lays out four elements of a breach of contract that must be met in order for one of the parties to sue. Those elements include:
- a valid contract must be in place;
- the plaintiff must have performed their duties under the terms of the contract;
- the defendant must have breached the contract; and
- the breach of contract must have resulted in some sort of injury to the plaintiff.
An experienced commercial litigation lawyer in the Chicago area can help determine if all these qualifications have been met. If they have, then they can help the plaintiff move forward with a lawsuit to compensate the plaintiff for her losses.
When most people think of hiring a business litigation attorney to resolve a dispute between business partners, they usually think of getting representation for the business partners and/or the business owner. It's assumed that the business owner wants what's best for the company, but that may not always be the case.
Even when that is the case, the owner might not always know what's best for the business or how to go about getting it. In those instances, the business itself might need representation separate from its owner. A good commercial litigation attorney in Chicago can help determine if a business needs separate representation, and if it does, provide that representation for the business.
Fiduciary duty is another sensitive subject. Being responsible for someone else's money is a heavy burden and not everyone is well equipped to bear that burden. The temptation to satisfy one's own personal greed can sometimes be too much to resist, and when that happens, a business litigation attorney should be consulted to bring justice to a business and its shareholders.
In addition to direct interference with a business or business contract, people or entities can sometimes interfere with relationships or contracts between a business owner and a third party. This is known as tortious interference with a contract and the injured party can sue to recover damages as a result of this interference, but only if certain qualifications are met. These qualifications include:
- a valid contract between the plaintiff and a third party;
- the defendant must have been aware of said contract;
- the defendant must have acted knowingly and with the intention of breaching the contract;
- the third party's breach of contract was a direct result of the defendant's wrongful actions; and
- the plaintiff was damaged by the defendant's interference.
Even if no contract exists between business partners, one of the parties involved may still have a valid claim for tortious interference with prospective economic damage. To determine if you have a legitimate claim, contact a Chicago commercial litigation lawyer today.