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Business Litigation: Documents to Show Your Attorney

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Minimizing one's legal exposure -- reducing the likelihood of getting sued -- is the primary legal objective of most businesses. But when your business is sued, or you file a lawsuit against another party, it's best handled by attorneys specializing in business litigation. If your business is involved in a lawsuit, it's in your best interests to learn about working with attorneys and how fees work, as well as the basics of civil litigation.  

Documents to Show Your Business Litigation Attorney

Suing someone or being sued yourself is, without a doubt, an extremely stressful and often expensive process. If you are proactive and keep your attorney well informed, the experience will be less stressful and meetings with your attorney will be more efficient. In addition to standard information about your business, you will be asked to provide the following documents to your attorney at your initial consultation if you are suing someone or being sued:

____ Summons and Complaint from the other side

____ ALL your files regarding the other party

____ ALL your correspondence with or regarding

the other party

____ ALL insurance policies

____ Incorporation documents

____ Calendars or day timers if they refer to

the other party

____ Phone logs and message pads if they

refer to the other party

____ Contracts

____ Purchase orders

____ E-mails from the other side

____ Documentation relating to any product at issue

____ Any employee with knowledge of the

events in the litigation

____ Tax returns

____ Financial statements

____ Canceled checks

____ Bills or invoices

____ Receipts

____ Employee files

____ Files from previous litigation

____ Files from previous attorneys

Business Litigation at a Glance

Business litigation, as do all lawsuits, begin with what are known as pleadings, starting with the initial complaint (also called a "petition"). The complaint, a copy of which is served upon the defendant, outlines the legal basis for the plaintiff's legal claim, provides supporting facts to the claim, and makes a demand for judgment (relief for the claim, typically an amount of money). Other pleadings may include an answer to the complaint, a counterclaim (essentially, putting the plaintiff on the defensive) or a cross claim (when several different parties are involved in an incident).

The discovery phase of business litigation usually takes the longest. This is the method by which parties gather relevant information through research, document review, depositions, advice from expert witnesses, and requests for documents from opposing parties. Also, parties may file pretrial motions relating to procedural differences or a need for clarification, or even requesting summary judgment or dismissal.

Find the Right Attorney for Your Business Litigation Needs

Even if you already have an attorney for day-to-day business legal needs, such as taxes and employment regulations, lawsuits are handled by litigators. Check FindLaw's Lawyer Directory for a litigation and appeals attorney near you.

See FindLaw's Hiring a Business Lawyer section for more articles and resources to help you get started.

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