You are a tailor working as an independent contractor in what insiders call the rag trade, and you just worked hard on a three-month project that promised to be very lucrative. After the project is over, however, the payment your receive is a fraction of what you agreed to. You show the project manager the compensation agreement you both signed, but he points to a clause in tiny font at the bottom of the agreement which says your pay was contingent upon the timely and satisfactory completion of the work you agreed to perform. He never complained before, but now he suddenly claims that your work was neither timely or satisfactory, and that's why your pay was cut. You're shocked. This was totally unexpected. Your rent is due in a week.
How I Can Help
Generally speaking, litigation is the process by which disputes are settled in a court of law. The term litigation covers a wide variety of situations. Opposing parties can be a greedy project manager on one hand and a short-changed tailor working as an independent contractor on the other, as in the above example, or they can be a naive young entrepreneur on one hand and the screen printer who pocketed his money but who, months later, still has not produced his line of clothing, or they can be shareholders in a failing corporation who cannot agree on how to fairly divide the company assets before turning off the lights one final time.
When commercial disputes first arise, the opposing parties will normally try to work out a resolution to everyone's satisfaction. If they are unable to, however, one side may file a complaint in their local civil court, and the opposing party will be served with a copy of that complaint along with a summons to appear in court on a specified date and time. If you are the plaintiff - the party that initiates the lawsuit - how you word and support your complaint can be the difference between winning your lawsuit and your case being dismissed for anything from failure to properly serve the opposing party to failure to present a viable cause of action. Likewise, if you are the defendant, how you respond to that complaint can be the difference between having the plaintiff's allegations thrown out by the judge on a summary judgement and losing a substantial amount of money should the decision go against you.
I strongly recommend that if you are involved in a situation that may lead to litigation, you hire an attorney as early in the process as possible. The world of civil litigation is confusing, counter-intuitive and difficult to navigate, and its rules and regulations are woven around several layers of complex state and local law. The morale of the story? Don't try it yourself. Contact me for a free consultation on how we can try to settle your dispute out of court, and what strategies we might employ in court should those settlement efforts fail.