As a North Carolina business owner, you know that success relies in part upon compliance with your legal obligations, protecting your financial interests, and enforcing the company’s rights. When issues arise in any of these areas, there are numerous options for resolving disputes through negotiations, mediation, or arbitration. In some cases, alternative dispute resolution may even be required by contract. For all the conflicts your business faces, it is a relief to know that most will not result in a lawsuit.
However, litigation may be unavoidable when it comes to some disputes. You cannot put your company’s future at risk when the acts of business partners, vendors, and other entities affect your interests. Alternatively, you may need to defend your business from allegations of wrongdoing. Whichever side you are on in a potential lawsuit, you will need an experienced North Carolina litigation attorney to advocate on your behalf. Still, you are in a better position to protect your company when you have a basic understanding of the litigation laws every business owner needs to know.
- Contracts That Require a Writing: Many operations and transactions can be based upon a verbal agreement, even though business owners often put the arrangement in writing as a precaution. An aggrieved party still has the right to seek legal remedies without a written document in many situations. However, some contracts must be in writing before a court will enforce them. Examples include:
- Certain transactions involving land;
- Business dealings subject to North Carolina’s Uniform Commercial Code (UCC); and
- Restrictive covenants in employment contracts.
- Statutes Protecting Your Intellectual Property: Your employees may use your company’s confidential information as part of their job; business partners and other entities might also need access to valuable IP assets to provide goods and services. By making this information available, you also risk misappropriation. Fortunately, the North Carolina Trade Secrets Protection Act allows you to seek legal remedies for theft. You can recover monetary damages for your pecuniary losses, but you may also qualify to obtain a cease and desist order or other equitable relief through litigation.
- Special Remedies Under the UCC: You may be aware of the basic remedies for breach of contract, but note that there are special provisions for any transactions that fall under the UCC. For instance, there are options for both buyers and sellers in a breach of contract for the sale of goods. When both parties are merchants, it is possible to seek:
- Rescission, which cancels the contract and puts both parties in the position as if the contract had never been made; or
- Specific performance, in which the court orders a breaching party to uphold its end of the bargain.
- Time Limitations for Business Litigation: North Carolina has established statutes of limitations for various types of lawsuits, so you need to file a lawsuit in court before the time period expires. If you fail to sue by the deadline, you are forever barred from seeking legal relief in court. In business litigation, the most common one you will encounter is the three-year statute of limitations for breach of contract. The clock starts to run on the date of the alleged breach, so this is an important litigation law to know.
Count on a North Carolina Litigation Attorney for Details
While some disputes can be resolved out of court, a lawsuit may be necessary when business conflicts could harm your company’s financial interests and reputation. Knowing some basic litigation laws is helpful, but you can rely on our team at Mullen Holland & Cooper P.A. to handle the details. To learn more about our legal services for business owners throughout Western North Carolina, please call our Gastonia, NC office at 704.864.6751 or go online to set up a consultation.