Litigation Can Be The Only Recourse When Justice Is Due
Business and Commercial Litigation
Litigation can be the only recourse to assert a legal right, or defend against a wrongful claim. When litigation becomes necessary, the attorneys of Davidson Backman Medeiros have the experience, skill, and knowledge necessary to represent your interests. We represent clients in all the state and federal courts of Washington and Idaho, including appeals.
We handle a broad variety of legal disputes, including the following:
• Breach of contract
• Misappropriation of trade secrets
• Misrepresentation or fraud
• Partnership disputes
• Employment disputes
• Breach of fiduciary duty
• Breach of non-solicitation and non-competition agreements
• Insurance disputes
• Real estate disputes
• Residential construction disputes
• Consumer Protection Act claims
• Intellectual property disputes
• Buy/sell agreements
• Business torts
• Actions for healthcare credentialing or discipline; and
• General litigation.
If you believe you may need legal guidance in these areas, please contact us for consultation to evaluate and discuss your options.
We frequently attempt to avoid the cost, uncertainty, and disruption of litigation by negotiating a resolution to a dispute without the need for a lawsuit. But sometimes those attempts fail, and you need a litigation attorney to pursue your claims and/or defend you in court.
Business and Commercial Litigation
Many of the above types of legal disputes fall under what is referred to as “business litigation” or “commercial litigation.” Disputes often arise in business relationships. Sometimes the disputes are among the co-owners of a business, and other times, the disputes are with other companies or individuals.
Breach of contract
Breach of contract claims are one of the most commonly asserted claims in business disputes. A breach of contract claim arises when someone fails to live up to their written or verbal agreements.
If someone has failed to live up to their agreements, you can ask a court to enforce the contract, to award you damages, to impose an injunction, and other relief. Further, if you are being accused of breaching an agreement, we can assist you in defending such claims.
Breach of contract claims are often combined with other related legal claims for breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, promissory estoppel, implied in law or fact contracts, quantum meruit, and other claims.
We can also assist you in determining the types and amounts of damages you can recover under your circumstances, and other potential benefits you can obtain.
Contracts frequently contain an “attorney fee provision,” which entitles the prevailing party to an award of its attorneys’ fees against the other party. Such provisions can greatly raise the stakes in a contractual dispute, since the amount of such attorneys’ fees incurred in a breach of contract claim can exceed the amount in dispute.
Misappropriation of trade secrets
Misappropriation of trade secrets can occur when someone has wrongfully utilized the sensitive business information belonging to another.
These claims typically arise against former employees or business associates who have been given access to such sensitive business information.
To obtain protection of trade secrets you must take steps to protect your confidential information. This includes how you store such information, to whom such information is disclosed, and whether such disclosures are accompanied by non-disclosure agreements.
Further, the business information must qualify as a trade secret. It must derive independent economic value from not being generally known by others. If the information is readily ascertainable or known by others, it likely will not qualify as a trade secret. If you are able to prove misappropriation of a trade secret, you may also be able to recover double damages and attorneys’ fees.
“Fraud” is a term that is loosely thrown around by the general public. But in legal disputes, fraud is challenging to prove. The party claiming fraud faces a higher burden of proof when proving their evidence to a judge or jury).
But fraud does occur, and under the right circumstances, it can be proven. One of the benefits of obtaining a judgment for fraud is that the opposing party may not be able to “discharge” that judgment if they file a subsequent bankruptcy proceeding.
Although frequently referred to as “partnership disputes,” such disputes can also be between and among shareholders of a corporation, members of a limited liability company, or owners of other types of entities.
In a typical partnership dispute, the owners of a business no longer want to be in business together. This circumstance can arise from things as simple differing opinions on how the business should be run, to more complicated scenarios involving self-dealing, theft, fraud, or other wrongful conduct.
These disputes can arise from ownership “deadlock,” or they can arise when a minority owner(s) believes the majority owner(s) are oppressing them through conduct detrimental to the minority owner(s). Sometimes these disputes can be resolved through the partners agreeing to buyouts among each other or selling the business or its assets to a third party.
We can assist in drafting and reviewing such buyout agreements. But at other times, the only recourse is litigation. Familiarity with the laws applicable to officers, directors, shareholders, members, partners, limited partners, general partners, etc., is critical to properly analyzing the strength and weaknesses of such claims.
Breach of fiduciary duty
In some circumstances, individuals or companies owe a heightened duty to look out for your best interests. When that duty is breached, it can give rise to claims against the fiduciary.
A fiduciary duty arises in a trusted relationship such as an accountant and client, business partners, a beneficiary and trustee, and in other circumstances. If you believe your fiduciary has failed to meet their duties owed to you, contact us for assistance in evaluating potential claims.
In some businesses, employees are given access to customer lists, trade secrets, and other sensitive and important business information.
To protect the business from having its employees leave and make use of that information and/or solicit that business’s customers to leave the business, such businesses sometimes utilize non-solicitation and/or non-competition agreements.
Such agreements typically restrict an employee’s ability to leave that business and compete with it. The enforceability of such agreements frequently turns on the “scope” of those agreements in terms of their geographical reach, the types of businesses for which the employee is not allowed to work, and the period of time that the restrictions remain in place.
Breaching such agreements can have significant consequences, including damages, the impositions of an injunction, and an award of attorneys’ fees. Such agreements also sometimes have a “liquidated” damage clause in which the employee agrees to an amount (usually hefty) of damages for which they will be liable if they breach the agreement.
Consumer Protection Act
Washington’s Consumer Protection Act protects individuals from “unfair and deceptive” conduct by others. When applicable, it provides for damages, tripling of damages (up to $25,000), injunctive relief, and attorneys’ fees. This statute can be a powerful tool to remedy certain wrongful conduct.
Insurance disputes can arise in many circumstances. One frequently encountered in a litigation context is when an insurance company refuses to pay for an attorney to defend a lawsuit that is potentially covered under an insurance policy.
We can assist in attempting to convince the insurer of its duty to defend. If the insurer continues to fail to do so, we can seek damages and other relief from a court.
We can also advise and represent you in other insurance disputes when your insurer is failing to pay benefits that are due to you, including, but not limited to, benefits due under a disability policy. You paid the premiums for your insurance, you should get the benefits to which you are entitled thereunder.
Business torts are claims that often arise in business disputes. Such claims include intentional interference with business relationships and expectancies, civil conspiracy, and other claims.
If you have been wronged in a business context, we can advise you regarding the potential claims you may be able to assert to obtain recovery for such wrongful conduct.
The state courts have jurisdiction over receivership cases. In such cases, the court appoints a receiver to handle the business affairs of the business at issue.
Sometimes the appointment of a receiver is sought by one of the business owners who dispute the manner in which the business is being run by the co-owners. Other times, a creditor may seek the appointment of a receiver to protect the company’s assets from being wrongfully dissipated.
The receiver reports to the court on their activities, and has to obtain permission from the court to undertake certain activities. We have extensive experience both in acting as a receiver and as being counsel to receivers. Substantial additional information on receiverships can be found here.
Healthcare credentialing and discipline
At times, healthcare professionals are subjected to baseless, unfair, and/or untrue complaints of alleged wrongdoing to their licensing board.
We can assist you in responding to such complaints. We can also advise you if you are subjected to discipline or threatened discipline by a hospital.
Such unfair complaints, improper discipline, or other disputes will likely have a “domino” effect and cause health insurers to deny or revoke credentialing. We have extensive experience working with health insurers to overturn credentialing revocations or denials.
Adverse rulings by trial judges are frequently followed by requests for discretionary review or notices of appeal to the Court of Appeals.
Requests for discretionary review arise when a party wants the Court of Appeals to review a ruling before the end of the case. Such requests are rarely granted.
Notices of appeal typically arise at the end of a case after the final judgment is entered. Any party dissatisfied, in whole or in part, with rulings made in the case can seek reversal of such rulings from the Court of appeals.
We have extensive experience in appellate practice. Aaron Goforth has represented clients in over twenty-five appeals to Washington’s Court of Appeals, numerous appeals to the Washington’s Supreme Court, and appeals to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Bankruptcy Court Litigation
Litigation can also arise within bankruptcy proceedings. The increase in size and complexity of business bankruptcy cases, especially under Chapter 11, has required bankruptcy attorneys to become proficient in the litigation of contested matters and adversary proceedings.
Frequent litigation matters include motions for relief from stay and abandonment. Other litigation claims include lawsuits for the avoidance of pre-petition transfers, such as preference actions or actions for the recovery of fraudulent transfers.
The administration of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy case will normally require: claims litigation; the determination of numerous matters that arise during the course of administration; and the adjudication of facts and legal issues that pertain to confirmation of a plan of reorganization.
We are experienced in litigating all of these issues, having brought hundreds of avoidance actions; hundreds of claims objections; and having gained confirmation of numerous Chapter 11 plans of reorganization over the past thirty years.