Business & Civil Litigation
Cottle Keen Lopiccolo & Heyde, LLP is a full-service firm, experienced in protecting the rights of individuals and small business owners in a variety of business related issues, from entity formation to representation when disputes or litigation arise. We can help you successfully navigate your lawsuit from inception to resolution, whether you are a plaintiff or a defendant. We provide each client with individual consultations to determine how best we can assist you with achieving your desired result in the most cost efficient and effective way possible.
We will make every attempt to negotiate in an effort to settle your matter without litigation, if possible. However, if you are facing the prospect of litigation, we can prepare you for what you may expect and walk you through your case, though no result can be guaranteed and not every eventuality anticipated. We work closely with our clients to understand their goals and provide a strategy that gives them the greatest chance to obtain a positive result. It is important that you begin thinking proactively about your case. If a complaint has been filed or if an incident or dispute has occurred, there is a limited amount of time within which you must either respond or proceed with some action.
Once you contact us, please be prepared to inform us of everything you know about your lawsuit. We will likely request the following:
- Details about the dispute
- Contact information
- Copies of any pertinent documents
The more information you convey, the more effectively we are able to represent you. Your legal team can never be too prepared when handling a lawsuit. The following are some of the steps that may occur in your dispute.
If litigation has not been commenced, meaning a complaint has not yet been filed with the court, we will discuss your financial concerns, strategy, and ultimate goals, while keeping in mind the cost-benefit analysis of each recommendation. We will make every effort to resolve the matter without resorting to litigation, although this is not always possible.
Occasionally, the dispute may be required to be submitted to either mediation or arbitration, which are less formal legal proceedings in which a retired judge or an experienced, objective attorney recommends or determines an outcome to the case.
These proceeding are often successful, as it is helpful to hear an opinion of each party’s case from an objective third party. Mediation may also be ordered by the court during litigation, but is generally not binding on the parties. The parties may also choose to participate in either of these proceedings voluntarily, as they can be more cost effective means of obtaining a desired result.
Once a complaint has been filed against you or if you seek to file a complaint against another party, there is a limited amount of time available. Again, we will discuss the litigation strategy with you to determine your goals and the financial constraints. When litigation is commenced, this will require your input in several ways. Although many of the options require legal argument, your input will be very valuable to the process.
During this stage, both sides will send questions and requests for documents, which will require your assistance, as you are the expert on the facts of the case. Additionally, both sides will request depositions of the parties and the various witnesses. In addition to helping us prepare for the depositions, you also have the option of being present at every deposition. Your presence (or at least your availability by telephone) may sometimes be helpful, especially if unexpected facts come to light during the depositions. Should experts be required for your particular case, we will need to retain the appropriate ones and prepare and produce them for depositions. There are also various motions that may be filed or that will have to be opposed during this period, and we will inform you of the options, as the time approaches.
If ordered by the court or requested by the parties, mediation may also take place during this time. Generally, mediation is done with a retired judge or attorney, with the parties splitting the cost of the process. Often, the parties are more amenable to settlement at this stage, in an effort to avoid the additional and often costly expense of retaining and preparing experts and preparing the matter for trial. At the end of this process and if settlement has not been reached, we will begin to fully and actively prepare for trial.
Due to the current state of the overburdened court system, your case may not go to trial on the date originally scheduled by the court, as there are usually several matters set for the same date in the same courtroom. However, we will need to have all the witnesses and documents prepared in advance.
Again, this can be a time consuming and costly process – for example, trial documents need to be prepared, various motions need to be written, witnesses need to be prepared and subpoenaed, and exhibits, verdict forms, and jury questionnaires and instructions must be prepared. Your presence will be required for the duration of the trial.
Generally, if a jury trial is requested, the trial takes a bit longer than if the judge decides the matter. We will, of course, discuss the options with you as the time approaches. However, both sides will need to agree to a bench trial for the judge to render the verdict.
After a verdict is rendered, there may be various motions and appeals filed by one or both sides, and may include motions for new trial, motions for costs and fees, and motions for attorney’s fees. Additionally, although the verdict may have been in your favor, there is still the issue of actually enforcing the terms. Should the opposing party not comply with the terms, motions may be filed with the court to enforce compliance. Similarly, if either party files an appeal, there will be no final resolution until the appeal has been exhausted and the terms of the appeals court’s decision completed.
We handle the following areas specific to Business & Civil Litigation:
- Breach of Contract
- Business Dissolution
- Business Litigation
- Corporate Disputes
- Employment Disputes
- Landlord-Tenant Issues
- Partnerships Disputes