Emergency Business Litigation: Overview
When it comes to the misappropriation of trade secrets, infringement of trademarks or copyrights, and breaches of restrictive covenants, time is of the essence and emergency business litigation may be warranted. In such circumstances, clients need more than just a money judgment. What they need is injunctive relief such as a temporary restraining order (commonly referred to as a “TRO”) or a preliminary injunction.
Not all circumstances call for emergency litigation but when the future of your business is threatened, speed is of the upmost importance. The pace of regular litigation will not grant relief soon enough. This is where an experienced emergency business litigation attorney can be invaluable. The attorneys at Lubin Austermuehle understand that each day that passes increases the risk of irreparable harm to your business such as the loss of goodwill, the loss of customers, the loss of market share, and the loss of valuable employees.
To help our clients avoid this harm, we offer emergency litigation services including temporary restraining orders, preliminary injunctions, and declaratory judgments. Emergency business litigation requires strategic thinking and quick preparation, often requiring preparing pleadings and responses overnight. Defendants in emergency litigation are no less affected by the frantic pace of emergency litigation. Our Chicago commercial litigation lawyers also defend individuals and businesses involved in emergency litigation, helping them respond within short deadlines and prepare for TRO and preliminary injunction hearings, which amount to mini-trials, in an effort to avoid potential restrictions on their business or livelihood.Legal Emergencies
Though the circumstances that can give rise to a business emergency are myriad, most often the need for emergency litigation arises as a result of disputes between business owners or between employers and employees. They also occur frequently when there has been a misappropriation of the company's intellectual property such as trade secrets and trademarks. When a dispute has occurred or a legal wrong committed, the aggrieved party, whether a business or individual, has every right to file a lawsuit and obtain the recompense allowed by law. However, the typical lawsuit takes months or even years, and studies show that the lifespan of cases is only growing. Some legal emergencies, however, require immediate relief. Common legal emergencies which call for emergency litigation include:
- Breaches of restrictive covenants, such as non-compete agreements, non-solicitation agreements, and non-disclosure agreements;
- Misappropriation or infringement of intellectual property such as trade secrets, copyrights, and trademarks;
- Minority shareholder oppression such as freeze-out and squeeze-out attempts;
- Partner or member disputes that threaten the business’s ability to continue; and
- Business disparagement, trade libel, and other acts that can harm a business's reputation and goodwill.
When faced with the potential of suffering irreparable harm, several emergency litigation tools are available. The business dispute litigation attorneys at Lubin Austermuehle can advise you on which of these options may be best for your circumstances.Temporary Restraining Orders
Temporary restraining orders are court orders that prevent the defendant from doing something or pursuing a particular course of action. TROs can also compel the defendant to do something. TROs typically have a very limited duration. Illinois law permits a TRO to last for 10 days unless notice is provided to the defendant and a preliminary injunction hearing is scheduled or the defendant agrees to extend the TRO. Because a TRO lasts for such a short period of time, a preliminary injunction hearing is usually scheduled for as quickly as possible after the entry of a TRO.Preliminary Injunctions
Preliminary injunctions are similar to TROs but remain in force for a much longer period, typically for the duration of the case or until modified or dissolved by the court. A preliminary injunction may cover the same actions as a TRO or may be broader or narrower than a TRO. While a TRO can be granted without notice to the defendant in certain circumstances, Illinois law prohibits granting a preliminary injunction without notice to the defendant. Courts characterize the granting of TROs and preliminary injunctions as “extraordinary relief,” and tend to limit them to certain circumstances where the plaintiff has made a clear showing of an imminent likelihood of suffering irreparable harm.Declaratory Judgments
If there is a dispute over the meaning of a contract and as a result of that disagreement a lawsuit against you or your business is imminent, filing for declaratory judgment allows you to make a preemptive strike against the opposing party. A declaratory judgment lawsuit asks the court to interpret an agreement and “declare” (enter an order) each party’s rights and obligations under that agreement. A declaratory judgment is a useful emergency litigation tool that can help clarify legal rights in advance of a lawsuit or before you’ve taken certain actions that could incur liability. It also gives you the opportunity to choose the court where the dispute might take place.
Lubin Austermuehle, P.C.'s Chicago commercial litigation attorneys bring more than three decades of experience to the service of clients in Illinois, especially in Cook, DuPage, Kane, and Will counties. We also serve clients in Indiana and Wisconsin. Contact us today online, at 630-333-0333 to schedule a consultation with an emergency business litigation lawyer in Chicago.