Business, Commercial And Construction Litigation
People are in business to make money and spend as little as possible to make a profit. While there are times when there is a need for a business or other commercial venture to engage in litigation, it should always be a last resort. When we are approached about a business dispute that may lead to litigation, we sit down with the client and make sure they understand the costs of litigation. Often, lawyers will engage in litigation on behalf of a client without fully explaining to them the potential costs and, as the legal fees build up, the lawyer and the client have a problem. We try to find alternatives to litigation.
For example, sometimes the matter can be resolved by simply preparing a draft complaint and advising the other side of the costs involved if they do not try to resolve the matter. Of course, if the situation is such that litigation is inevitable, we can take a case from inception to trial and appeal, and do so efficiently. We specialize in disputes over the separation of businesses, claims against agents for imposing liability on the principal, and manufacturers who have to sue or disengage themselves from their distributors. We also can manage your lawyers for you, by reviewing bills, examining the staffing of the matters, and demanding efficiencies and discounts based on our vast experience in large-scale litigation nationwide.
Our firm has for many years specialized in construction litigation involving subcontractors and general contractors. This type of litigation can be exceedingly complex, because not only do the claims by the plaintiff involve negligence, they also involve New York’s Labor Law § 240(1) and § 241(6). Labor Law 240 is known as the scaffold law and imposes broad liability on contractors for falls from an elevated height, which involve not simply scaffolds, but also ladders and any other elevated surface. The defense of these claims also involves issues of contractual indemnification and additional insured coverage.
As a standard practice, general contractors demand both contractual indemnification and additional insured coverage from their contractors. However, often the paperwork is carelessly prepared, contracts are not signed and insurance companies are not notified that their insured was required to provide additional insured coverage. New York also does not allow a contractor to be indemnified for its own negligence. This type of issue is often hotly disputed and adds to the complexity of the litigation.
While New York no longer has a strict late-notice requirement favoring insurers in personal injury cases, there are still complex issues concerning whether notice was timely given and whether the insurance company was prejudiced by any delay in the giving of notice. These complex issues require prompt action at the commencement of the lawsuit and an understanding of the interplay between negligence, the Labor Law, contractual liability, common law indemnification and additional insured coverage. We can provide that service.
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