What to do when facing business litigation

Some Maryland businesses are fortunate enough to never be the subject of a lawsuit. However, many others find themselves involved in disputes that result in the filing of business litigation. The question then becomes what steps need to be taken in order to deal with the legal claims.

One of the first things that the owners and/or managers of the business need to do is stop and take a breath. Just because the company is facing a lawsuit does not mean that it will ultimately face any liability. The natural instinct of most people facing litigation is to panic and/or retaliate against the plaintiff or plaintiffs, which would be inadvisable since it will most likely only make matters worse. 

The first thing to do is to contact an attorney. Attempting to handle the matter without legal counsel could end up costing more in the long run. A review of the case might reveal that it can be resolved without having to go to court. Alternative dispute resolution methods could be a less costly and time-consuming way to handle the matter.

The second thing to do is gather any relevant documentation and discuss the dispute with employees who have knowledge of it. The facts might reveal that there was a simple misunderstanding that can be resolved quickly. If not, the company has already gathered the information it will need in order to proceed. 

It would also be useful to create a timeline outlining the facts of the dispute, along with identifying any potential liability the company could face. Once these steps are taken in a timely manner, the company will be ready to respond to the complaint. Maryland courts have specific deadlines and filing requirements for business litigation, so it is important to remember that time is of the essence.

Source: Forbes, "Was Your Business Threatened With A Lawsuit? Six Next Steps To Consider", May 19, 2016

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