Defending Against Frivolous Business Litigation
Business and Commercial Disputes By Harvey Binnall PLLC - 2020/02/28 at 11:14am
Experienced Business Litigation Attorney in Alexandria, VA
Have you been subjected to frivolous business litigation, whether brought by a competitor or a customer? Though the process may seem overwhelming, it’s important to remain calm.
Recognize that truly frivolous litigation is not likely to survive dismissal. Even if the plaintiff has an actionable claim, if it is “weak” then you will be in a great position to negotiate a favorable settlement.
Let’s take a closer look.
Frivolous Lawsuits Do Not Survive Dismissal
No matter the jurisdiction, frivolous claims are not actionable and can be dismissed. These lawsuits may not have any legal merit.
So, why do plaintiffs engage in frivolous litigation?
Oftentimes, a plaintiff — in the business context — engage in frivolous litigation with the intention of harassing the defendant (i.e., distracting them from normal business concerns and drowning them in legal fees), or even creating a media stir to damage the defendant’s brand.
Fortunately, if you can show that the plaintiff intentionally engaged in frivolous litigation, then not only can you have the original claims dismissed, but you can file a counterclaim for malicious prosecution.
Weak Claims Can Be Resolved Through a Negotiated Settlement
As a general rule, the “weaker” the plaintiff’s claims, the more likely it is that they will be amenable to an early settlement, and further, that the settlement can be negotiated in a favorable manner.
There is not an exact science to negotiated settlements, but when they do occur (and whatever value is deemed a fair compromise), they tend to represent a calculation of the overall risk of potential litigation. For example, if the plaintiff is suing you for $100,000, and you both come to the realization that their argument has only a 50 percent likelihood of succeeding at trial, then a fair settlement compromise might be $50,000. This allows both parties to avoid extensive, uncertain, and expensive litigation.
The key to securing a favorable settlement as a defendant, then, is to push to minimize the potential damages recovery available to the plaintiff and to persuade them that their likelihood of success (in the event of trial) is low. Returning to the above example, if you can introduce an argument that persuades the plaintiff that they are only 30 percent likely to succeed if the case were to proceed to trial, then you would have the leverage to negotiate a lower settlement (i.e., $30,000).
Contact Harvey & Binnall, PLLC for Legal Representation
Harvey & Binnall, PLLC is a boutique litigation firm serving clients throughout the DC metro region. Our experienced attorneys represent clients in business litigation that ranges from basic contract disputes to tortious interference, and more.
Unlike many of our competitors, we are committed to the provision of truly personalized legal advocacy — to that end, we work closely with clients from beginning-to-end to ensure that we have the information and insight necessary to effectively represent their interests at every stage of litigation.
Ready to speak to an experienced Alexandria business litigation attorney about your business dispute? We encourage you to get in touch with the team at Harvey & Binnall, PLLC. Call us at 703-888-1943 or complete an online intake form to schedule a consultation.
We look forward to helping you secure your rights.