Nuts and bolts of California business litigation

The old saying is that there are only two things certain in life: death and taxes. If you’re a business owner, there’s likely a third certainty: business-to-business disputes. Whether a disagreement arises with a competitor, supplier, customer or neighbor, business disputes are virtually inevitable over time.

Difficult disputes

While many of the disputes can be resolved with give-and-take in negotiations, some can only be fully resolved through litigation. These disagreements often include the following:

  • Breach of contract (payment or performance issues)
  • Intellectual property violations (patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets)
  • Fraud or unfair business practices
  • Issues involving commercial real estate or construction

If you find your company embroiled in a dispute with another business and negotiations have stalled out, you might conclude that litigation is the only avenue available for a full and final resolution of the matter. If you decide to file a lawsuit, you should know that only a legal entity can file a suit. Examples of legal entities include corporations and a business partnership.

Next, you must determine whether the business is a sole proprietorship or partnership, a corporation or a limited partnership.

Who to name in your lawsuit

When suing a sole proprietor, you file against the person who’s running the business; when suing a partnership, you include the names of each partner in your lawsuit. (Go the county or city clerk or recorder’s office to get those names.)

When suing a corporation, you file against the corporation using its legal name. (The California Secretary of State has the names and addresses of officers of corporations.)

We will have more California business litigation “nuts and bolts” in future blog posts. Please check back.