Resolution of Business Disputes, in or out of Court, including Declaratory Judgment Actions
Most businesses and commercial enterprises simply wish to engage in their core business, grow their market, and ensure that the organization runs smoothly. Unfortunately, the nature of commercial dealing is that issues can and will arise. In some instances the business dispute may be attributed to a unilateral or mutual mistake regarding the terms of the deal, the meaning of certain language, or other factors directly relating to the contract or agreement. In other instances changed circumstances brought about by the economic climate or other business dealings may create a difficult business situation.
However, regardless of how a business dispute may arise most companies simply want the issue settled in an efficient manner that protects the company’s interests. The experienced commercial litigation and business dispute lawyers of Meredith & Narine are dedicated to providing efficient, strategic representation. While we are always willing to litigate and pursue all reasonable avenues, we are also well-versed in cost-control measures and strive to resolve matters early in the process before they develop into costly and lengthy litigation.
Declaratory Judgement Actions Can Provide Court Guidance at the Early Stages of A Business Dispute
A declaratory judgment can serve as an important tool in a litigated matter. Proper and appropriate use of a declaratory judgment can permit a business or an individual to define the operative legal obligations when there is uncertainty regarding a potential cause of action. A declaratory judgment can provide an immediate means to answer this uncertainty so that parties can proceed in the dispute with a full and clear understanding of their obligations and rights. There is a mechanism to request a declaratory judgment under both Pennsylvania and federal law.
The Pennsylvania Declaratory Judgment Act can allow an interested party to file action to define and explore important issues prior to becoming embroiled in a litigated dispute. Reasons to file a state-based declaratory judgment action in Pennsylvania include assessing the validity of a contract or insurance policy or assessing the effect of a particular statue to regulation. However, a court will only grant a hearing for a declaratory judgment action in the Pennsylvania courts if the action will settle or resolve a particular controversy between the affected parties. Other requirements for a properly filed declaratory judgment action includes:
- The action was brought in a court with jurisdiction over the matter.
- The court’s type of jurisdiction is subject-matter jurisdiction.
- The issue is not a matter of federal jurisdiction.
- The contract does not have an arbitration clause or other clause that makes a declaratory judgment action inappropriate.
- All parties with a claim, interest, or who would be affected by the ruling are included.
Any declaratory judgment under Pennsylvania law has the effect of a final judgment or final decree. Declaratory judgments are subject to the same considerations regarding res judicata and collateral attacks on the judgment.
Under the Federal Declaratory Judgment Act a potential litigant may request guidance from any federal court of the United States. However, to seek such guidance an actual controversy must exist. Furthermore, the controversy must occur within the petitioned court’s jurisdiction. In a properly plead declaratory judgment action it is irrelevant whether further relief could be provided by the court. The focus is upon “declar[ing] the rights and other legal relations of any interested party.” 28 U.S.C. § 2201(a).
Attorneys Pursue Solutions through Mediation, Arbitration and Other Forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution
Our firm can also engage in alternative dispute resolution techniques to expedite the resolution of your business or commercial dispute. Engaging in alternative dispute resolution procedures like mediation and arbitration can help the parties resolve the matter and questions in a more experiential and efficient manner than traditional litigation would permit. At a mediation, parties can present their case to a mediator. The mediator can identify the strong and weak points in both sides’ case and use this information to bring the parties to a resolution. An arbitration proceeds much like an in-court trial expect the process is heard in private by an experienced lawyer or by an industry veteran. Arbitrations can be binding or non-binding and often result in a quicker resolution of an issue.
Experienced Commercial Litigation Lawyers Can Help Your Business Resolve Commercial Disputes
The experienced commercial litigation attorneys of Meredith & Narine are dedicated to assisting businesses and corporations resolve their disputes so that they can get back to their core business. To schedule a private consultation with one of our dedicated and strategic attorneys call our firm at 215-995-2769 or contact us online today.