Has your business been served with a lawsuit? Your next steps will do much to determine whether you meet success or failure defending the company against a suit. And one of the first steps you should take if you haven't already is to consult with a business lawyer. They will help you draft the most appropriate response containing the three key elements it must have. Here's how they help with each step.
1. Admission or Denial of Allegations
A detailed statement should address each of the allegations in the lawsuit. At its most basic, this involves determining if you will admit or deny each of the items involved. This decision may not be as easy as it sounds. Owners and managers served with complaints often react emotionally or defensively about their company.
You may be tempted to deny everything, but there may be value in not fighting everything involved. An attorney can help you assess the strength of each point and the consequences to your business for which action you take.
2. Your Defense or Cross-Claims
This answer allows you the first opportunity to lay out your side of the story. It doesn't need to lay out your entire case — which you may still be building — but it does need to give enough detail to form a skeleton defense. This will be used to prevent a judge from issuing a summary judgment for the other side.
You may also have the opportunity to make cross-claims against the plaintiff if these are appropriate. Determining your defense strategy and putting it into a legal document generally calls for a legal professional by this point.
3. Which Form of Resolution You Wish
Your business usually has a choice as to which form of judgment or resolution they want to pursue. Many companies prefer the expediency and finality of arbitration by impartial and trained parties. However, if you have a case that may be weaker than you wish or which may go against established precedent, you may want to appeal to a jury instead.
Since this is the point when you make this decision, you should understand the ramifications — positive and negative — of both a traditional path to litigation and alternative dispute resolution options.
Where to Learn More
Whether you have already been served with a lawsuit or you expect to be served in the near future, now is the time to meet with a skilled business lawyer. They will work with you to analyze the complaint, draft the best response, and figure out your path forward. Make an appointment today to get started.