Business litigation is unfortunately a common reality that most businesses will face at some point. Simple mistakes can lead to costly lawsuits. Even if a business is acting prudently and even if its employees are doing everything they can to keep up with all of the applicable laws, rules and regulations in their industry, that business can still be dragged into court by overreaching litigants. Once a lawsuit is filed, businesses must respond quickly or face potentially devastating consequences.
The attorneys at Theta Law Firm can represent businesses in disputes involving any of the following kinds of actions:
- Breach of contract:
Business disputes often stem from a breach of contract. Contracts are legally binding agreements that can be based on actions as simple as a promise and a handshake, or they can be based on complex written agreements. Under California's laws, both oral and written agreements can be binding. If one party breaches the agreement, the other party may be entitled to damages and other relief. Common legal issues are whether the breach was "material" and what relief (damages, court orders that the contract be performed, attorneys fees, etc.) are available to the non-breaching party.
- Employment disputes:
Employment disputes can arise from discriminatory actions, pay/overtime/scheduling issues, and breaches of written employment agreements, among other reasons. While employment in California is "at-will," employers can still be sued for taking adverse employment actions (firing, demoting, suspending, etc.) against employees if that action is taken for an unlawfully discriminatory reason. Employers are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of: race, religion, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, and marital status.
- Consumer litigation:
Consumers sue businesses for all sorts of reasons, including: breach of warranty, false advertising, unfair business practices, and so on. Consumers may claim that a product is defective (e.g., a phone, a laptop, a household appliance, or even a car). Our attorneys have experience working on both ends of consumer litigation claims. Our attorneys have represented major manufacturers and Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, as well as individual consumers. Our experience on both sides makes us more effective in our practice because we know the tricks on both sides.
Fraud is an intentional misrepresentation that causes another person or business to suffer damages. Fraud comes in many forms. It can be based on a simple misrepresentation of fact to induce a sale, falsification of tax records, identity theft, or hundreds of other possible scenarios. A defrauded party can recover relief by suing in civil court. In additional to standard money damages, defrauded plaintiffs can also seek punitive damages because of the intentional bad conduct by the defendant.
- Unfair business practices:
California's Unfair Competition Law (UCL), codified at California Business and Professions Code § 17200, et seq., prohibits "any unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent business act." Yes, the law really is that vague. The UCL is very broad because of its vague language and gives substantial latitude in arguing what conduct is "unfair." Businesses in California should be prepared to defend against such lawsuits, including the frivolous ones. Experienced counsel can help growing businesses develop preventative measures to minimize their exposure to such claims.
- False and deceptive advertising:
Businesses can be sued for making false or misleading statements in their advertising. For example, this can include misstatements of a vehicle's fuel economy, promising that an inflatable toy will float in a pool when in fact, it sinks in a matter of minutes, advertising performance figures for a product that the product can't actually achieve, and so on. The false representations don't have to be blatantly obvious for a business to be found liable, which is why it makes sense to run seemingly innocent advertisements by experienced counsel before publishing them!
- Breach of fiduciary duty:
Corporate power carries substantial responsibility. Certain business executives have fiduciary duties. Fiduciary duties arise out of special business relationships. For example, partners owe a fiduciary duty to each other. Corporate board members owe special duties to each other. Breach of fiduciary duty lawsuits are often based on a betrayal of those special relationships. Growing businesses should have management that understands these duties.
- Lawsuit prevention:
The attorneys at Theta Law Firm not only provide cost-effective and rigorous defense every business, but they also provide their clients advice on how to prevent litigation again. Unlike other attorneys, the attorneys at Theta Law Firm give their clients the advice they'll need to hopefully avoid needing to require a lawyer again.