Just like some colds turn into pneumonia or something else more serious, business disputes can also take a turn for the worse – they can head to litigation. Litigation is expensive, time-consuming, and may not even manage to settle the actual dispute in the long run. Thus, it is very important to know the signs of when your business dispute is heading in this direction to be able to either head it off at the pass or prepare yourself for the onslaught. Here are five common signs that you’re heading to Litigation Station.
1) Breakdown in communication
Either side can be guilty of this one. Chances are if you are being ghosted by the other party in your dispute, they are either pulling back to get their litigation ducks in a row or they have decided to take the head-in-the-sand approach to force you to make the next move.
2) Talk to my attorney
If the other side lawyers up and starts directing all discussions to their attorney, that is a very good sign that some formal dispute resolution will be in your future. In some situations, it can be beneficial to have an attorney involved especially where the attorney is a reasonable intermediary between you and other party. Other times, an attorney being involved means that the dispute will escalate because that was what the other party wanted all along.
3) You are talking past each other
Where neither party is really listening and hearing what the other party is saying about the dispute, there will probably not be any reasonable resolution that does not involve lawyers at a minimum.
4) No compromise
If the other party does not appear to be interested in reaching some sort of compromise, they could in essence be telling you that the ball will remain in your court to escalate matters. Similarly, if you take a position of no compromise, do not be surprised if you are served with a suit sooner rather than later.
5) Your contract was poorly drafted
This is not so much a sign as it is a cause, but if your contract governing your relationship with the party that you may end up in litigation with was not well-drafted or left a lot of questions unanswered, this is almost a guaranteed ticket to the courthouse. If your contract does not address what happens when one party fails to uphold its end of the bargain or is silent on how one party can get out of the contract, the person who is ultimately going to answer this question is a judge.
Seeing these signs for what they are – giant warning signals of approaching litigation – can help you to prepare for the litigation or try to stop the train before it gets going too far. Often times, clients are blindsided by a lawsuit, when in reality, the warning signs were there all along and they were unable or unwilling to see them. By being prepared, however, you stand a good chance of weathering the storm with much less stress and expense.
Of course, competent counsel who is experienced in business dealings is a must, and not just at the litigation stage. A well-drafted contract or agreement can easily avoid many situations that otherwise head to litigation in the first place. In this sense, the best defense is a good offense. Trembly Law Firm can help both on the offense and defense in a business relationship. Contact us today to get started.