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Understanding Common Examples of Business Litigation Cases 

business litigation

A company could end up in a legal dispute for a wide range of reasons. In some cases, a dispute with another party—whether customer, partner, or competitor—could end up in court.  At the Law Offices of Andrew Ritholz, we have extensive experience helping clients navigate complex business litigation cases. 

Examples of Disputes that Can Result in Business Litigation

Breach of Contract 

The majority of modern business relationships are based on contracts. A contract is a legally binding agreement. If something goes wrong—meaning one (or more) party fails to fulfill the terms—a dispute can arise. Breach of contract is the most common cause of action cited in business litigation in California. A breach can involve various aspects of a contract—from alleged failure to deliver goods or services on time to failure to provide full payment for goods or services. Through litigation, the matter may be resolved by enforcing contract terms or seeking damages.

Partnership Disputes

Partnerships are among the most common business entities. For a wide range of different reasons, partners could find themselves locked in a dispute. These cases can be especially complex. Conflicts can arise over profit sharing, company direction, investment decisions, or the roles and responsibilities of each partner. While partnership disputes are often good candidates for mediation, litigation may be required to resolve the matter. 

Shareholder Dispute

Shareholder disputes can involve conflicts among shareholders themselves or between shareholders and the company’s management. The core issues at stake may involve anything from the payment of dividends to concerns about alleged mismanagement of the company. Shareholder litigation fits into two broad categories: 1) Direct action and 2) Derivative action. 

Breach of Fiduciary Duty

A fiduciary duty is the highest standard of care under the law in California. In effect, the fiduciary has an obligation to act within the best interests of another party. A breach of fiduciary duty occurs when an individual in a position of trust—such as a corporate director or a licensed professional—fails to act in the best interest of the person or entity to which they owe that obligation. Breach of fiduciary may be a cause of action in business litigation. Indeed, it may be cited in a partnership dispute or a shareholder dispute. 

Business or Consumer Fraud Claims

Claims of fraud against businesses or consumers involve allegations of intentional deception made for personal gain or to harm another party. Some examples include false advertising, selling counterfeit products, making material misrepresentations about goods or services, or engaging in an outright fraudulent scheme to take advantage of another party. These cases may fall under our state’s unfair competition law (California Business and Professions Code § 17500). 

Debt Collection 

Debt collection is complicated. Whether collection efforts are being made against a company or a consumer, there is a significant risk that a dispute could arise. It is not uncommon for debt collection disputes to end up in litigation. B to B collections can be especially complicated as these cases are governed primarily by contract. With any dispute over the collection of debt, a proactive approach is essential. 

Employment Law Matters

California has some of the most comprehensive—and worker-friendly—employment laws in the entire country. For a number of different reasons, an organization may end up locked in a dispute with an employee. An employment law dispute—whether a wage and hour issue, sexual harassment claim, discrimination case, or breach of contract matter—could be the subject of litigation between an employer and employee. 

Intellectual Property (IP) Infringement

For many companies, intellectual property (IP) is among their most important assets. IP infringement is the unauthorized use of legally protected material—such as a copyright, trademark, patent, or trade secret. The violation of a company’s IP rights could adversely impact its competitive advantage and, as a consequence, its revenue/profits. 

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