Being sued is every business organisation’s worst nightmare. Nothing can be more draining than being dragged into a court battle where not only your personal reputation is on the line, but your business as well. Depending on how well you manage the legal tussle, being drawn into a lawsuit can have substantial impact on how your customers will see you. Here’s how you can handle a business lawsuit and retain your brand’s positive image when the smoke has cleared.
Always review the lawsuit with an attorney who has the experience working on such cases. Don’t pretend that you know the law. Even if you have a firm grasp of business laws and other statutes that may be pertinent to the affairs of a business there will always be instances when minor technicalities can warrant the motion to dismiss the case. Only a trained lawyer can go through the technical underpinnings of a lawsuit, making sure that it is valid.
If the lawsuit is correctly addressed, then you and your attorney should sit down and review the case. Read through each line of the lawsuit especially the allegations made against you or your company. Your lawyer can then initiate a variety of legal measures that will help put you in the best position to build up your defence. Your next steps will be to preserve any and all records or pieces of evidence that may have a relationship to the lawsuit at hand.
Additionally, don’t make the mistake of communicating directly with the person or entity suing you. If the lawsuit involves an employee or someone else in your company and you have to communicate with this person as part of your organisation, under no circumstance are you going to talk about the case once it has already been filed in court.
If your business organisation has insurance it is best to talk with your provider now. You would want to know if the accusations or claims by the aggrieved party are covered by your policy. This way you can take the necessary steps to address the financial implications of the lawsuit in case your insurer doesn’t cover the lawsuit as it may have certain circumstances that exclude it from coverage.
Upon receipt of a lawsuit you are typically given a set number of days to respond. It is imperative that your attorney write the response which will usually include three fundamental things. First, whether you admit or deny each of the allegations stated in the lawsuit. Second, your counter claims, cross claims, or defences against each of these allegations. Third, your proposed terms of defending yourself whether it is by jury trial or some other alternative. Don’t hire just anybody to write the legal response for you. Only a lawyer has the professional competency to write such important legal documents.
That being said, it is imperative that you have reviewed the case very thoroughly and have discussed with your lawyer how to best approach the lawsuit before responding to the allegations. This is one of the most critical steps to handling a business lawsuit effectively.