Declaratory Judgments

We do not always get to choose when to fight. Sometimes, the fight comes to us, whether we are ready or not. In cases where you know or have reason to believe that someone is planning to file suit against you or your business, you may feel as though you have no option but to wait. You typically cannot file suit without a specific complaint against the other party, but a suit for declaratory judgment gives you a means of challenging an impending lawsuit before it is filed. A declaratory judgment is a special type of lawsuit that allows you to seek a court order explaining the legal rights and duties of the parties to the suit. The court's order is as final and enforceable like any other legal judgment. This is useful for businesses that believe they have a strong defense to a potential legal claim and wish to gain the upper hand. A skilled and knowledgeable commercial litigation attorney can analyze your situation. Our Chicago business litigation lawyers can advise you as to whether declaratory judgment might be appropriate, and aggressively assert your rights.

Declaratory Judgment as “Preemptive Strike”

For many businesses, a declaratory judgment is like a preemptive strike against a threatened or imminent lawsuit. In litigation that strikes at the heart of a business, such as a dispute regarding large payments under a contract or intellectual property rights, a declaratory judgment allows a business to petition a court to define the parameters of a fight before the fight begins, and gives it the chance to choose the court for the lawsuit. This could be the nearest court to you, or the court you believe is best suited to hear the matter.

Situations that Might Call for a Declaratory Judgment

If you expect that you or your business may be targeted by a lawsuit, you should consider whether a declaratory judgment action might be to your advantage. While a declaratory judgment is not the best course of action in response to all threats to sue, it is particularly well-suited to certain situations, such as those involving:

  • Claims that you are infringing upon someone's intellectual property;
  • Disputes over insurance coverage;
  • Impending adverse actions by government agencies;
  • Clear evidence that someone intends to break a contract with you; or
  • A cause of action that you believe an opposing party could bring against you in an already-pending lawsuit that you wish to avoid litigating in that suit.
Relationship to Injunctions or Restraining Orders

Suits for declaratory judgment may center around an action you want to prevent from occurring, such as a threatened breach of contract or an upcoming government action that you believe will harm your business. In those situations, our business litigation attorneys can advise Chicago clients on whether it might be prudent to seek a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction along with a declaratory judgment. These are orders from a court that prevent a defendant from taking a certain action or series of actions while a case is pending. This allows you to maintain the status quo while the court considers the declaratory judgment.

Lubin Austermuehle, P.C.'s Chicago business litigation attorneys have offices in Chicago and Elmhurst, Illinois. We represent clients throughout Illinois, particularly in the Chicago area and DuPage County. We also handle business legal matters for clients in Indiana and Wisconsin. Contact us via email, at 630-333-0333 to schedule a consultation with a business litigation lawyer in Chicago.

Chicago Business Litigation Lawyer Blog - Declaratory Judgments
Client Reviews
"I was referred to Peter Lubin from someone in the car business to handle a law suit. From the moment I made the appointment Peter and his staff were outstanding. This wasn't an easy case, most lawyers had turned me down. However, Peter took the time to meet with me and review everything. He took on the case, and constantly communicated with me about updates and case information. We beat this non-compete agreement case in record time. I would use him again and recommend him to my closest family and friends. 5 stars is not enough to thank him for his service." Sebastian R.
"I worked on two occasions with Peter Lubin and his staff. They took their time with me and discussed each and every item in detail. The group makes you feel like you are part of the family and not just another hourly charge. I recommend Peter to anyone who asks me for a referral. If you are looking for a top notch attorney at a reasonable rate, look no further than Lubin Austermuehle." Kurt A.
"Excellent law firm. My case was a complicated arbitration dispute from another state. Was handled with utmost professionalism and decency. Mr. Peter Lubin was able to successfully resolve the case on my behalf and got me a very favorable settlement. Would recommend to anyone looking for a serious law firm. Great staff and great lawyers!" Albey L.
"I have known Peter Lubin for over 30 years. He has represented me on occasion with sound legal advice. He is a shrewd and tough negotiator leading to positive outcomes and averting prolonged legal hassles in court. He comes from a family with a legal pedigree and deep roots in Chicago's top legal community. You want him on your case. You need him on your opponents case. He won't stop fighting until he wins." Christopher G.
"Peter and his team helped us with an auto fraud case. They communicated well (timely and very responsive), investigated deeply, and negotiated a very good settlement. We were able to resolve our significant issue without a large burden and in a manner that allowed for us to come out ahead. I'd recommend Peter and his team strongly!" R.J. Callahan
"Peter was really nice and helpful when I came to him with an initial question about a non-compete. Would definitely reach out again, recommended to everyone." Johannes B.