Dedicated business LitiGATION attorneys

Every aspect of the operation of your business, from employee relations to investment issues to litigation, is affected by business law. There are two forms of business law that you need to concern yourself with – public law (e.g. statutes, regulations, etc.) and private law (e.g. contractual provisions). Business litigation can turn on any aspect of either of these two forms of law.

Unfortunately, many business operators treat the prospect of business litigation as they might treat the prospect of an earthquake or a tornado – a remote contingency that probably won’t happen. Once a dispute arises, they may act on the assumption that it can be resolved through negotiation. They are often right. But when they are wrong, they often discover their error too late to avert disaster. At CKB VIENNA LLP, our skilled San Bernardino Business Litigation Attorneys can help you.

Avoiding Litigation

The best alternative to litigation, of course, is to avoid a dispute in the first place. Although this may not be possible in some cases, many disputes arise because someone made a critical mistake before the dispute ever arose. In our experience, the most common major mistakes are:

  • Failing to put the obligations of the parties in writing. Doing business on a handshake almost guarantees litigation sooner or later, and it usually puts the plaintiff at a major disadvantage.

  • Failing to allow an experienced business lawyer to review business documents (especially contracts) before they are signed. Even a small flaw in wording can operate like a ticking time bomb.

  • Failure to organize critical transaction documents that may be needed as evidence later.

Alternatives to Litigation

There are several main alternatives to litigation, each with their own pros and cons. The most common are:

  • Negotiation – Most business law disputes are resolved in this manner.

  • Administrative action – Seeking sanctions and administrative enforcement against the other party

  • Mediation – Seeking a third party to help reach a consensual solution.

  • Arbitration – Hiring a “rent-a-judge” to impose a coercive solution while avoiding the courts.

Once a Lawsuit Is Filed

The filing of a lawsuit does not necessarily end negotiations. The judge will almost certainly encourage negotiations during the proceedings. Your bargaining power, however, depends on the strength of your position in the lawsuit – the stronger it is, the stronger your bargaining power will be. The services of an experienced business litigation attorney can be critical in this regard.

LITIGATION Practice Areas

Our business litigation lawyers handle complex commercial litigation, class actions, product liability, white collar defense cases, arbitration, business contracts, environmental issues, insurance bad faith, products liability, and various other matters. Whether you are a large, medium-sized, or small company, we are committed to your satisfaction through responsiveness and the value of the services we provide. Contact us, our attorneys are well-versed in all areas of litigation involving the following matters:

  • Automotive – The automotive industry is subject to a particularly high degree of regulation. Few lawyers, even business lawyers, understand its nuances. The lawyers of CKB Vienna, however, are experienced and well-versed in this area of law as evidenced by our stellar track record.

  • Construction – Construction law issues can be particularly complicated because of the multiplicity of parties involved and their various legal relationships that exist. Documentation can be extensive, and every clause matters. Construction disputes often involve byzantine complexity, rendering experienced legal assistance all the more necessary.

  • Labor and Employment – Regardless of whether you are a startup, a non-profit, or an established multinational, you will face employment law issues from time to time. CKB Vienna offers training, counseling, compliance, and litigation services to a variety of clients ranging from SMEs to Fortune 500 companies.  

  • Mortgage and Banking – Mortgage and banking is a field that faces a rapidly changing regulatory landscape. In this challenging environment, CKB Vienna represents various financial institutions, mortgage lenders, insurance companies, and investment bankers, among other actors. We represent clients involved in business litigation and government enforcement actions, and we have saved numerous clients tens of millions of dollars in civil liability.    

  • Real Estate/Construction – We represent our clients in a wide variety of real estate  matters including purchase and sale, leaseback and lending transactions, foreclosures, municipal land use disputes, contract negotiations, landlord/tenant issues, taxation issues, financing, and many other types of disputes.    

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between a “material” and a “non-material” breach of contract?

A material breach is a serious breach that entitles the other party to abandon the contract. A non-material breach is a minor breach that entitles the nonbreaching party to compensation, but does not justify abandoning the contract.

What is the best way to avoid a contractual dispute and to win one once it arises?

The best way to avoid a contractual dispute is to draft a clear, logical, tightly-worded contract in the first place. If all rights and obligations are clear from the outset, you are more likely to win a dispute against a breaching party even if litigation turns out to be unavoidable.

What are my options if my former employee or business partner establishes a competing business?

You may have one or more of several options, depending on the circumstances, including:

  • A trade secret law claim

  • A breach of confidentiality claim

  • A non-compete clause claim (relatively rare)

  • A patent, trademark, or copyright claim

  • An unfair competition claim

Are non-disclosure and non-compete agreements easy to enforce in California?

Non-disclosure agreements are typically not terribly difficult to enforce in California as long as they are well-drafted. Non-compete agreements, by contrast, are quite difficult to enforce in California – although successful enforcement is not unheard of.

As a shareholder, is there any way I can be held personally liable for the debts of the business I invested in?

Normally, this will not happen. However, under certain circumstances such as extensive co-mingling of personal and corporate assets, the court will hold a shareholder personally liable. In “legalese,” this is known as piercing the corporate veil.  

What are some of the most types of construction disputes?

A myriad of different types of construction disputes are possible, including disputes over:

  • payments and deliverables;

  • work plans and specifications;

  • the allocation of responsibilities among the general contractor and the subcontractors; and

  • construction defects.

In many cases, the timing of a construction project makes it critical to resolve the dispute without ruining the business relationship.

What happens if I am late responding to a lawsuit complaint?

A lawsuit is initiated by the filing of a Complaint by the plaintiff, and the defendant must typically respond with an answer within 30 days. If you miss the deadline, the plaintiff can initiate default proceedings that can result in a default judgment being entered against you (in other words, the plaintiff wins). If the delay is minor, you can usually have a default judgment set aside.

Can I “counter-sue” a plaintiff who sues me?

Many disputes involve multiple claims running both ways. If you are sued by a party against whom you have your own claims, it doesn’t matter that much that the other party seized the initiative by filing a lawsuit before you did. When you file your Answer to the plaintiff’s Complaint, you can also file one or more Counterclaims. The court will probably consolidate all claims into one proceeding.

Can I bring a third party into the lawsuit?

If you believe a third party is fully or partly responsible for the liability that is being asserted against you, you can file a Cross-Complaint against the third party along with your Answer. If it is approved, the court will issue a summons to the third party and probably consolidate the case. If you are successful, your liability will be reduced or eliminated even if he plaintiff wins.

How long does it take to resolve a business litigation case?

While every case is different, most cases take a year or two to resolve, even if they are eventually settled out of court. Business litigation disputes rarely take less than a year to resolve, and extraordinarily complex cases may take several years.

The Time to Act Is Now

A business dispute operates like wet cement – the longer you ignore it, the more your options narrow until you are finally stuck in place with nowhere to run. Commit to a favorable resolution early while your options are still open. Whether you anticipate a looming business dispute or you are already involved in one, we can help you explore your options and take effective action. Consult a trusted and respected San Bernardino Business Litigation Lawyer today.

Preserve Your Options through Prompt and Decisive Action

CKB VIENNA LLP offers a full range of advocacy services which can be tailored to address each client's unique needs. The firms’ litigation practice has been successful in achieving results in a wide range of adversary proceedings. These results have been achieved in federal and state courts on trial and appellate levels, and through arbitration and other forms of alternative dispute resolution.

At CKB Vienna, we are committed to strategic, aggressive representation of our clients. We absolutely will not let anyone take advantage of you. We  serve clients in San Bernardino County, Los Angeles County, Orange County and Riverside County. Telephone us at 909-980-1040 or contact us online to learn how we can best assist you.