Defending Your Business in a Lawsuit
When it comes your business—the business you have built from the ground up—dealing with litigation brought against the company can be beyond overwhelming. Unfortunately, ignoring the lawsuit will not work; you have to confront the issue head-on with the assistance of an experienced business litigation attorney.
While an individual who is being sued can, legally speaking, represent him or herself, when a company is sued, it must be represented by an attorney. Working with an experienced business litigator located outside of the company is typically necessary, as any internal general counsel will need to work with outside attorneys in order to properly defend the company.
First and foremost, you and your attorney will want to discuss any important deadlines you face in defending against the lawsuit, and will also want to talk about any insurance coverage that may be available for legal costs associated with the lawsuit.
Defending Your Business Against an Employee or Former Employee
With the assistance of an experienced attorney who practices in this field, ensuring that you implement and enforce sound employment policies, which include training, can often serve as the best defense against potential lawsuits from employees and/or former employees. In particular, defamation claims are becoming more and more common against employers in the workplace, and can be prevented by simply having strict policies in place concerning potentially defamatory statements about employees when it comes to management.
In addition, former employees who no longer work for your company may also still have access to the business’ systems, and be able to get into current employees’ email and other personal files. Thus, it is crucial to work with an attorney who is able to advise you on business liability in general and how to implement policies where privileged account information is protected in general. Your files will not only need to be protected when it comes to former employees, but also customers.
Defending Your Business against a Customer, Partner, or Another Company
There are simple steps you can take to protect your business from inviting lawsuits from customers. Probably the most important step is to keep tight control over the types of statements your business is making, including actual announcements made by employees and any business conduct, including the business you conduct with other individuals and businesses. This also includes working against creating any conflicts of interest and having a business litigation attorney available to consult with on a regular basis.
You will want to work with your attorney to ensure that your business is properly classified, as well, so as to protect against someone coming after the business owner’s personal liability. Part of this involves obtaining liability insurance for the business to protect against, for example, a customer injuring themselves on the business premises, as well as directors’ and officers’ liability insurance, if applicable.
You will also want to build protection into your contracts with customers, other companies, and even any business partners. Based upon what type of business you are involved with, your attorney will assist you in building that protection into your contracts.
If your business is being sued, you want to ensure that you preserve any and all records, and do not attempt to contact the plaintiff unless it is done through your attorney. Your attorney will also assist you in understanding the claims against you, the potential liability, as well as the litigation plan, potential exit strategies, and estimated costs, based upon what stage you are at in the litigation. Remember that litigation itself is yet another business decision.
Experienced Texas Business Litigators Defending Business Owners
A contract dispute, accusation of fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, or any other business-related litigation claim filed against you can ultimately destroy your business if it is not handled properly.
At the law firm of Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C., we understand your need to turn such matters over to business litigation attorneys you can trust. If you have been served and are located in Texas, contact us today to discuss your defense.
Michael P. Fleming is a highly experienced litigator who has argued and won a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a Houston resident who was twice elected to serve as the Harris County Attorney. He is also an avid runner who has completed eight marathons, to date, including two in Ireland. Only a small group of Texas lawyers are Board Certified as specialists in both Personal Injury Trial Law and Real Estate Law. Michael is one of them. He also proudly holds his B.A. degree from the University of Saint Thomas and his J.D. degree from the University of Houston College of Law.