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Responding to a commercial lawsuit in New York and New Jersey

Getting served with a complaint and summons in New York is a serious matter, but with good planning and a strategy geared toward the long term goals of your business, it is possible to confront such threats quickly and effectively.

A commercial complaint should be assessed for any defects that could render service invalid. Knowing whether a complaint was validly served can help determine whether the complaint can be dismissed on procedural grounds.

If the complaint has been properly served, it is important to file an answer that not only addresses the allegations in the complaints, but that preserves your affirmative defenses. Failing to do so may close the door down the road to some important an helpful arguments.

Analyzing the complaint for weaknesses can also help prepare to file motions that can result in having the case decided on summary judgment or dismissed on procedural grounds. Where such options are available, it can put a quick end to an otherwise lengthy headache.

Developing a plan for discovery can also help your company get ahead of its adversary by identifying which documents you will want to ask for, which key people to depose, and what information your adversary is likely to seek.

Successfully answering a commercial complaint begins as soon as the complaint is served. With quick action and a sound strategy, you can minimize the damage and put the dispute behind you sooner rather than later.

How Well-Written Contracts Can Protect New York and New Jersey Business Owners

Good contracts can help hold business relationships together, while bad contracts can spell trouble for the parties involved. More than just a formality, contracts help make sure that each party understands each other’s rights and responsibilities, and they can help head off lengthy litigation when conflicts arise.

There are some important elements that every good contract should have. Of course, each contract should be tailored to the individual needs of your business. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all contract. However, there are some elements that every good contract should have.

1. Choice of jurisdiction – In the event a conflict leads to litigation, a choice of jurisdiction clause allows the parties to specify where a complaint must be filed. Being able to file a complaint in the jurisdiction where your business is located can help avoid increased discovery costs and the need to find local counsel in another city.

2. Merger clause – This makes it clear that the entire agreement is contained within the contract. Often times, one party will argue that the other party agreed to do something that was not included in the terms of the contract. The merger clause can be helpful in defeating such arguments.

3.  Limitation of Liability – The contract can be written to limit the liability of one or both parties, disclaim warranties, or set forth the parties’ sole and exclusive remedies. This can be useful where it requires one party to notify the other in the event of a malfunction or defects, and allow the other party to attempt to fix it before filing a breach of contract claim.

4. Severability clause – While the contract should be carefully reviewed by an attorney to be sure that each of its clauses will be upheld in court, there are times when a clause may not be upheld due to a change in the law or other unforeseen circumstances. Buy including a severability clause, it ensures that if any single clause of the contract is held invalid, the rest of the contract will remain intact.

This is just a brief sample of some of the contract clauses that are common to many business contracts. There are many more clauses and terms that should be included in contracts depending on the specific needs of the contracting parties. A careful review of all contracts can help avoid costly legal battles down the road.