No business owner wants to face a lawsuit. The process can be stressful and time consuming – not to mention expensive (if you hire the wrong firm). This is why rock-solid contracts are so important – to dramatically reduce your exposure to lawsuits and other legal action.
Lawsuits are a reality in today’s business climate. One survey estimates that 80% of business owners will engage in legal action at some point during the life of their business. If you’re threatened or served with a lawsuit, here’s what you need to know.
1) Don’t panic. Yes, being threatened with a lawsuit can be intimidating. But it’s important to remain calm, gather the facts and call your attorney. First of all, many more lawsuits are threatened than actually filed. A threat to sue made over the phone or via demand letter doesn’t necessarily create legal obligations, but they do provide an opportunity to resolve a conflict before it heads to court.
2) Check “Sunbiz.” Make sure your registered agent information is correct with the Florida Division of Corporations (Sunbiz). Plaintiffs can effectuate service of process on a company’s registered agent in Florida. If your information is not up to date, you could be served and not know it, resulting in a default judgment being entered against your company. Alternatively, having the Trembly Law Firm serve as your registered agent will prevent a default judgment from being entered against your business.
3) Consult your lawyer immediately. A business attorney will be able to help you assess the situation and determine your next move, if any. Of course, we don’t recommend waiting until you’re sued to call an attorney – it’s far more cost-effective, and far less stressful, to take proactive legal measures. But when you are served, the time to respond is short, so it’s vital that you speak with an attorney right away. Remember, a corporation may not represent itself in a court of law in Florida, so you must retain a business litigation attorney in any event.
4) Promptly review the details and gather your documents. Ignoring the situation won’t make it go away, as much as you wish it would. Take the time to review the details of the complaint and gather any and all supporting documents for your attorney. The more organized you are, the easier it is for your attorney to respond quickly.
5) Keep it private. As Winston Churchill said, “Loose lips sink ships!” Resist the temptation to discuss the lawsuit with your peers. The information you share could be used against you, and, worse yet, anyone with whom you discuss your case (other than your spouse) could be subpoenaed to testify. Attorney/client confidentiality is sacred, but everyone else is fair game.
If your business is facing a lawsuit, I want to help. Please give us a call today at (305) 431-5678!