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Commercial Litigation

What do I do if my company or I get served with legal papers?

Who pays the expenses of commercial litigation?

What is alternative dispute resolution?

If I contact your law firm, will I meet with a lawyer?

What can a plaintiff recover in a commercial or consumer lawsuit?





Q: What do I do if my company or I get served with legal papers?

The service of legal papers initiates a lawsuit.  It is important to remember that the papers you receive represent only one side of the story.  Most litigation wind up in court because there is a dispute which cannot be resolved between the parties.  It is vital to contact an attorney immediately, as there is a statutory restriction on the time in which you have to answer and tell your side of the story.  Depending on the method of service you will have twenty (20) or thirty (30) days in which to answer.  Ignoring legal papers will not make the problem go away, in fact it will make it worse.

My company is involved in a dispute with another business and we want to commence a lawsuit.  What is the first step?

Obviously retaining the right attorney is the first step to successfully litigating your issues.  After the attorney fully debriefs the issues, a summons and complaint will be drafted and filed, and then served upon the defendants.  After the papers are served the defendants will have twenty (20) or thirty (30) days to answer.


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Q: Who pays the expenses of commercial litigation?

A judge may order the losing party to pay the costs of the lawsuit. These costs may include court filing fees, witness expenses and the costs of preparing exhibits. As a general rule, each party is responsible for paying his or her own attorneys fees, with the following exceptions:

  • Parties may have agreed in a contract to pay the other party's attorneys fees in the event of litigation
  • The lawsuit may involve a statute that provides for payment of attorneys fees
  • Courts may award attorneys fees to one party, if it is found that the other party engaged in bad faith or frivolous litigation, or pursued legal theories that have no merit


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Q: What is alternative dispute resolution?

Alternative dispute resolution is the method by which legal conflicts and disputes are resolved privately rather than through litigation. These disputes are usually resolved through either mediation or arbitration. It typically involves a process less formal than traditional court proceedings and includes the appointment of a third party to preside over a hearing between the parties.


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Q: If I contact your law firm, will I meet with a lawyer?

Your first contact, probably a phone call, will be with Mr. Berfond.  Mr. Berfond personally oversees every case in the office.  If your case is accepted by our office it will be given the individual attention needed to obtain a successful result. 


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Q: What can a plaintiff recover in a commercial or consumer lawsuit?

In most cases, a plaintiff seeks damages measured by financial losses or possibly lost profits believed to have been caused by the defendant. Sometimes a plaintiff seeks relief other than money such as an injunction or court order to require or prevent some action by a defendant.  How much and whether a plaintiff will recover depends on many variables, including the nature of the loss and whether and how it can be measured, and many other factors, including whether a contract or statute limits or provides for a certain amount of damages or attorney’s fees.


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Melvin B. Berfond, Attorney at Law assists clients in the Five Boroughs (Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and Staten Island), Nassau County, and Suffolk County with personal injury, commercial litigation, auto accident, slip/trip fall, wrongful death, and commercial transaction matters.



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| Phone: 212-385-4800

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