EXPERTISE COMMERCIAL & COMPLEX LITIGATION
Commercial litigation arises out of transactions between two or more businesses. Disputes are generally over money or property, but can be about getting an injunction for reasons such as unfair competition. Major personal transactions can also fall within the ambit of “commercial,” when, for example, there are significant property disputes in a divorce, a bankruptcy, a family business, a probate matter, a large real estate transaction, or the construction of a home or commercial space. Our law firm has experience in both bringing and defending against commercial litigation claims.
Breach of Contract and Disputes: Disputes can arise in any facet of your business, including those involving customers and employees, banks/lenders, transactions and agreements concerning real estate, leases and transactions to provide goods or services. Well-drafted contracts usually serve their purpose. Sometimes, however, disputes will arise. Disagreements can be resolved out of court and through negotiation (we often accomplish resolution this way), but some require litigation, arbitration, mediation or, at least, legal advice about how litigation might fit into an overall resolution framework. Often, parties disagree about the performance of a party or just about what the contract means. We have tried, litigated and resolved many contract interpretation disagreements. An important thing to remember in Colorado is that every contract has an implied duty of “good faith and fair dealing.” This means that a party that exercises some discretion with the contract terms must not overreach. These types of cases can arise where there is a simple contract or in HOA disputes, where a court will use this implied duty to cure bad acting.
Business Torts, Fraud, and Deceptive Trade Practices: Business torts (or wrongs) include misrepresentations and fraud. Contracts can be fraudulently obtained, overreaching or unconscionable. Fraud can be intentional or simply negligent. A misrepresentation can be on purpose or by mistake/negligence. All are actionable. There are statutory claims for deceptive trade practices, including under Colorado’s Consumer Protection Act and the Federal Interstate Lands Sales Full Disclosure Act (for deceptive real estate sales). These types of cases often arise where money and wealth are targeted by unethical or plain dishonest people.
Breach of Trust: Positions of trust or “fiduciary duty” include corporate officers, directors and major shareholders, limited liability company members/managers, agents (including types of real estate brokers), trustees, joint ventures, estate administrators, and partners in a business. They can and do breach their “fiduciary duties.” A shareholder, partner, LLC member, trust beneficiary, and others can recover damages or injunctive relief for these breaches. These are duties inherent in the relationship rather than a contract; although one often sees breaches of both in a business situation gone sour.
Collection of Debt: Breaches and failure to perform under agreements such as promissory notes, guaranty agreements, and mortgages/deeds of trust often create debt owed from one party to another. Court judgments can also create debt, which are subject to specific rules to collect.
Tortious Interference with Contract/Anti Trust: Interference with a contract is actionable conduct by an outside or third party that is not fair competition. It is not uncommon to see someone actively interfering with your contract. If the third party impedes or prevents contractual formation or performance, a tortious interference claim is often a powerful tool to stop the interference and obtain damages. A “cousin” of this tort is interference with “prospective business advantage,” which again is anti-competitive or just unfair behavior. We can tell the difference and often advise on and prosecute these claims. There are federal antitrust laws that have been enacted to protect competitive behavior, protect consumers and outlaw bid-rigging, price-fixing and monopolistic practices. Colorado has very similar antitrust laws that can be powerful tools often overlooked by lawyers. Colorado also has its own version of the federal RICO laws. These outlaw and prohibit enterprises that break various laws and come with private civil rights to sue and collect damages.