As a business owner, you attempt to anticipate and prepare for a variety of circumstances, disputes, and problems. However, no matter how well you have prepared, sometimes you need help with difficult legal issues.
Our attorneys have successfully advocated for our clients in mediation, and other alterantive dispute resolution negotiations. We pride ourselves at resolving disputes effectively and efficiently so that you can focus on running your business.
Our alternate dispute resolution services cover a wide range of potential business pitfalls, including:
- Employment Law Litigation
- Tortious Interference with Contract or Business Expectancy
- Partnership Disputes
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty
- Defamation – Libel and Slander
- Contract Disputes
- Non-Compete and Non-Solicitation Agreements
- Misappropriation of Trade Secrets
- Copyright Infringement
Our attorneys are admitted to the following jurisdictions and courts:
- Virginia State Courts
- District of Columbia Courts
- District of Columbia Court of Appeals
- Maryland State Courts
- US Distrct Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
- US Distrct Court for the Western District of Virginia
- US Distrct Court for the District of Nebraska
Employees are valuable assets to businesses. However, navigating the variety of federal, state and local laws and regulations that apply to employees can be incredibly complicated. There are often heavy penalties for noncompliance. Arlington Law Group can provide guidance on compliance as well as dispute resolution and litigation services when allegations of noncompliance arise. For more detail, see our employment law services.
Fraud is when someone misrepresents a material fact to induce another party or person to act to its detriment. For example, a business owner may lie to a potential investor about one of his clients signing a long-term contract in order to induce that person to invest in his business. In that situation, the business owner has likely committed an act of fraud against the potential investor and the investor would have the right to file a lawsuit to have his money returned. If the circumstances warranted it, the court might also award the investor punitive damages that go above and beyond the original investment.
Tortious Interference with Contract or Business Expectancy
Another common business dispute arises when one business "steals" a client away from another company. For example, if one business has a contract with a client and another company knowing about that contract, nonetheless induces the client to breach that contract, the first business may have a claim for tortious interference with contract. Additionally, if a business has an ongoing relationship with a client and another company uses defamation or deceit to cause the client to stop working with the first business, there may be a claim for tortious interference with business expectancy. With either of these claims, the business that is wronged may be entitled to substantial damages.
No matter how good relationships are between business partners, disputes arise and can be difficult to resolve. Establishing dispute resolution rules from the outset of a business venture in an operating agreement or similar governing document can provide an efficient and effective means of navigating those disputes [link]. However, sometimes that is not possible or the problematic circumstances were simply unforeseeable. With or without dispute resolution rules in place, an experienced business attorney can be critical to achieving the best possible results.
Breach of Fiduciary Duty
Officers and employees of a company owe certain duties to their employer, called "fiduciary duties", that prohibit them from acting against the best interests of the company. For instance, an employee cannot do side work for a company client while still working for the company and a corporate officer who learns about a business deal that the company would otherwise pursue cannot keep that opportunity a secret and pursue it himself. Breach of these duties can cause substantial damage to the company and entitle the company to compensation and other legal redress.
Defamation – Libel and Slander
Defamation is when a person makes a false statement of fact about another to at least one third party. Defamation in writing is called "libel." Defamation in verbal conversation is called "slander." Because a business’s or professional’s reputation is incredibly important and valuable, defamation in the business context can be incredibly detrimental to the business’ interests and reputation. Accordingly, the law protects against defamation and allows for monetary recovery in such situations.
Contracts make organizing business relationships much easier. When all parties comply with the terms of their agreements, contracts make reliable long-term planning possible. However, when one party does not hold up its end of the bargain, problems and conflict arise. Because of the variety of parties and contracts that businesses deal with on a day-to-day basis, contract disputes are one of the most common types of legal disputes a business is likely to face. Contract disputes can be as simple as one party failing to pay an invoice or as complex as contract interpretation that requires the parsing of specific meaning and intent (e.g. does the website delivered meet the particular requirements of the contract). Either way, attorneys that have experience drafting, negotiating and disputing contract provisions are invaluable when these issues arise.
Non-Compete and Non-Solicitation Agreements
Companies often have legitimate reasons to require their employees to sign non-competition and non-solicitation agreements. These agreements can provide protection against the loss of customers to former employees or competitors, and the disclosure of specialized or confidential knowledge to competing businesses. However, these types of agreements are scrutinized by the courts, and must be very carefully drafted and narrowly tailored if they are to be enforced. The courts will strike down an overly burdensome non-competition or non-solicitation agreement, leaving the former employer with no contractual protections. Having an experienced attorney involved in the drafting and defense of your non-competition and non-solicitation agreements can be pivotal in successfully protecting your business.
Misappropriation of Trade Secrets
A business’s confidential and proprietary information can be its most valued asset. If the information meets certain requirements, it can be protected as a trade secret. While trade secrets can be highly complex information, such as an algorithm or an aircraft schematic. A trade secret can also be simpler, but no less valuable, pieces of information, like a restaurant’s special recipe or a business’ customer list. The Uniform Trade Secrets Act offers clear protections for a business’ trade secrets, and provide an established path for enforcing those protections.
As soon as a person creates a story or document, takes a photo, or makes a drawing, that person automatically has a copyright in the "work". If another party uses that work without permission (e.g. by taking copy or photos from a company website and using them to compete), the copyright owner has a copyright infringement claim and can pursue it in a court of law.