Tuesday, June 7, 2011
notice of intention to sue
The first time you ever receive one of these (notice of intention to sue), you will have a bowel movement. Sweat suddenly decides to leave your body at great speed, your throat is suddenly very dry, and you may develop a stammer.
By the time you get here, there must have been some background, and this may seem like the justified step to take.
Unfortunately in business, situations where you have to resort to courts of law often occur. Here is when you need a good lawyer. Although some would argue that if you had used one in the first Place you would not have got here.
Assuming you are the aggrieved party, you may have to prepare well, unfortunately one way to do that is to put more money aside. This process can be costly.
But what happens when you are the one being sued? The answer doesn't change much. Prepare well too. Call up an equally good lawyer, (big firms first, please), though your banker could be of help here. Luckily most disputes in business revolve around money and unless there is simply bad blood and ill intention, you may be lucky if you have a friendly banker.
Truth is, lawsuits are often a pretty poor way of resolving business disputes. The problem however is that we have yet to come up with something better and so litigants are usually forced to make some hard choices.
The cost goes beyond money. You will spend a lot of time, emotions flare and you are not immune either from being sued in return.
Sometimes though, that is the only way to get justice, closure or just recover what is lost. I warn you though. It is quite draining, and to both parties. You may also need to check in with your doctor before a big show down.
Of course there are ways to avoid the suits and you could try some.
Threaten a lot of action. People in business generally dislike litigation and work to avoid it. Use that. If you have a grievance, consider hiring the big names (firms and individual lawyers), have them threaten to sue, but offer to settle for less. Your defendant just may come to the same conclusion that you did – that a lawsuit is just not worth it – and therefore may look to settle.
Being willing to settle for less than you are owed is another sometimes wise action: If you want to avoid the expense and time of a lawsuit it is almost a guarantee that you will have to settle for less than you want. Be happy if that is the case. Plenty of defendants will not settle. But if your good lawyer friend offers a reasonable settlement, and the other side agrees, you just avoided paying a lot in legal fees, and your Accountant will be the happier for your action.(Did you know good lawyers bill by the hour?)
Walk: Not every dispute is a litigation-worthy dispute. Even in the best of cases, you should think that your odds of winning are 50-50. The judge may say yes, or she may say no. It's 50-50. Of course some suits are better than others, but you just never know what a judge may return with, and your work my friend is to make money, to do business, if it is not worth the fight, don’t waste your time.
But you only have these choices if you are the aggrieved, other wise if you find yourself on the opposite side; this is what the Bible says;
“Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison.”(Mathew 5:25)