Emergency Commercial Litigation
While the court system is not known for its speed, there are times when opposing parties need the authority of a court but do not have time to wait for lengthy litigation. Today's business world is moving faster than ever and a judgment or an award rendered months or even years after the damage has already been done could very well be too little too late. For example, if your business' trade secrets are threatened, by the time you get relief from a traditional lawsuit, the damage has already been done. In these cases, the loss can be incalculable and irreversible. An award from a court does little or no good if the business has lost customers or its reputation in the community has been tarnished.
These kinds of emergency situations often arise between business partners, shareholders, and employers and employees. All of these relationships involve people working very closely together and the opportunity for one to take advantage of or betray the trust of another. When something goes wrong in such close business relationships, the harm done can be enormous. The types of situations in which emergency commercial litigation would be necessary include:
- Breach of contract between businesses. For example, if one business fails to deliver inventory or make a payment to another business;
- Violations of restrictive covenants in employment contracts; such as non-compete agreements and agreements not to solicit current employees or customers;
- Disclosures of trade secrets and other confidential information;
- Violations of a client's privacy;
- Intellectual property infringement;
- Disputes between business partners, members, or shareholders;
- Business disparagement, trade libel, and other acts that can harm a business' reputation and goodwill;
- Allegations of criminal or fraudulent activity in a business venture such as theft or conversion.
While all of these examples clearly result in damages to one of the parties involved, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to determine the exact amount of damages incurred. Plaintiffs would be well advised to act as quickly as they can to reduce or prevent damages from accumulating.
A declaratory judgment is one way to jump the gun on the other party if you think that they may be preparing to file a lawsuit against you. A declaratory judgment is issued before any damages have actually been incurred and it is a binding ruling given by a judge which lays out the limits that a particular law or contract has on the opposing parties. For example, if an employee wants to go to work for a competing company, but is afraid that her current employer will sue her for breaching her non-compete agreement, she might want to challenge the validity of her employment contract. A declaratory judgment will allow her to do this quickly and efficiently before she leaves her position with her current employer by having a judge decide exactly what the employee is bound by.
A temporary restraining order is another option which parties have. This is a court order which prevents one party from taking certain actions, or compels the party to do something. Because these orders are temporary, plaintiffs usually follow up with an application for a preliminary injunction, which is more permanent. It covers the same actions as the temporary restraining order, but it remains effective until the court modifies or revokes it.
The attorneys at DiTommaso Lubin Austermuehle have decades of experience with emergency commercial litigation including preliminary injunctions and temporary restraining orders. Knowing the courtroom inside and out helps us to resolve disputes as quickly and efficiently as possible. Our attorneys in Lemont, Woodridge, and Oak Brook have represented businesses and business owners throughout DuPage, Cook, Lake, and Kane counties. To schedule a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys today, you can contact us online or give us a call at 877-990-4990.