Business Litigation and Dispute Resolution


The business litigation attorneys at Purcell, Flanagan, Hay & Greene help companies and individuals efficiently manage and resolve a wide range of legal disputes.  We encourage the utilization of alternative dispute resolution options such as arbitration and mediation, where our proven and creative negotiation skills assist in finding pathways to early dispute resolution.  We believe full-blown litigation should be a last resort to resolving business disputes.  

When pre-suit resolution cannot be found, we turn to our combined decades of litigation success in the courtroom for both plaintiffs and defendants.  We believe in aggressively, yet strategically, litigating disputes in the context of each client’s unique cost-benefit landscape and working collaboratively with clients to develop powerful litigation strategies to achieve the greatest likelihood of success.  

Comprehensive Litigation and Dispute Resolution Services

Legal issues and disputes can arise from a wide range of business activities, including entity inception, asset and inventory acquisition, debt management, vendor and customer disputes, ongoing partnership relations, business conclusion, and clashes with competitors. Our lawyers represent businesses and their owners in litigation and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceedings involving matters including (but not limited to):

Contract Enforcement and Defense

Contracts are binding legal agreements that identify the specific terms of a relationship between two or more parties.  A breach of contract is a legal claim where one party to the agreement alleges that another has violated terms of the deal and damages have been incurred as a result. 

Business Torts

Businesses and their owners are subject to bringing or defending against non-contractual claims for relief. Claims based on interference with a contract or business expectancy, fraud, and trade secret misappropriation are business torts that impose obligations on businesses to operate fairly.


Fraud is a type of claim involving an allegation of intentional deception to secure something of value. A fraud claim is a powerful tool for a business to employ to recover damages where a former business partner or competitor has misrepresented important information, without which the business would have taken an alternate path.

Florida Uniform Trade Secrets Act

Many businesses’ most valuable assets include its trade secret-protected confidential, technical, or financial information.  A trade secret misappropriation claim is brought to recover financial damages and injunctive relief where current or former employees, business partners, or competitors have acquired or disclosed the trade secret without authorization.

Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA)

Businesses are prohibited from engaging in unfair or deceptive practices that harm consumers and undermine open competition.   

The Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) prohibits businesses from engaging in unfair and deceptive practices that “cause substantial injury to consumers or other businesses and [that] cannot be reasonably avoided by the consumer or the other business.” These include practices such as false advertising, bait-and-switch advertising, making false misrepresentations about a competing business, and executing unlawful multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes, among others.

To pursue a claim under FDUTPA, a plaintiff must be able to prove actual damages or financial losses that are directly attributable to the unfair or deceptive practice. Plaintiffs who prevail in litigation under FDUTPA are entitled to recover their attorneys’ fees and court costs as well. 

Shareholder Disputes, Breach of Fiduciary Duty

A company’s officers and directors owe a general duty of care and other specific fiduciary duties to the company and its shareholders. These duties require the officers and directors to operate in the best interest of the business and bar them from self-dealing and conflicts of interest that put their individual objectives above those of the business.

Other Business Disputes

Along with the types of disputes discussed above, our Florida business litigation attorneys have significant experience advising clients in a wide range of other matters, including:

  • Defamation and slander 
  • Negligence
  • Civil conspiracy
  • Real estate disputes
  • Restrictive covenants and unfair competition
  • Landlord-tenant disputes
  • Civil theft

Identifying and Addressing Potential Disputes Before They Lead to Unnecessary Costs and Risks

It is important to spot potential disputes and legal issues as early as possible. When spotted early, potential disputes can often be resolved informally through negotiation and/or pre-suit mediation. This can help preserve valuable business relationships while also preserving the company’s resources for research and development, expansion, investments in new equipment and technology, and other business-related matters.

When we represent clients in connection with potential disputes, our primary focus is on helping our clients achieve efficient and amicable resolutions that serve their long-term business goals. With decades of relevant experience, our attorneys can help you make informed decisions about your next steps, and we can assist with achieving a positive outcome as cost-effectively as possible.

FAQs: Resolving Business Disputes Without Unnecessary Costs, Risks or Disruptions

What is the best way to resolve a business dispute?

There is no single “best” way to resolve a business dispute. Instead, determining the most appropriate course of action requires carefully analyzing the relevant facts and the relevant law. In the business context, contracts often play a key role as well—and if the parties have a contract, looking at the relevant contract terms will usually be the first step toward assessing the parties’ respective rights and determining their available options.

What are the main differences between litigation and alternative dispute resolution (ADR)?

While litigation and ADR share the end goal of resolving parties’ disputes, they approach this goal very differently. Litigation is typically much more complex and time-consuming, and while it will often be in both parties’ best interests to avoid litigation, going to court is necessary in some cases.

There are two forms of ADR—mediation and arbitration—and these are very different from one another. In mediation, the parties work with a neutral third party (the mediator) whose role is to help them negotiate a settlement. In arbitration, an arbitrator or arbitration panel hears arguments from both sides and then renders a binding decision, similar to a judge or jury rendering a verdict in court. Many commercial contracts include mandatory ADR provisions that require the parties to submit any disputes to mediation or arbitration (or both). However, these provisions often include exceptions for certain violations, such as those requiring immediate injunctive relief.

What can I expect during business litigation?

Business litigation begins with one party (the plaintiff) filing a complaint. The other party (the defendant) must respond by filing an answer before the applicable deadline in order to avoid a default judgment. After this initial pleadings phase (which may involve a variety of other filings as well), the parties will engage in discovery. During discovery, each party will request relevant documents, propound interrogatories and requests for admissions, and schedule depositions to take company representatives’, shareholders’, employees’, and/or other witnesses’ testimony under oath.

Following discovery, the parties will typically engage in pre-trial motions practice. This has several purposes, one of which is to begin narrowing down the issues that will go to trial. Litigating parties can (and often do) settle at this stage, but if they don’t, they will need to be prepared to present their evidence and arguments in court.

What can I expect during mediation or arbitration?

As mentioned above, mediation and arbitration are very different—despite both being forms of ADR. Mediation can roughly be described as guided settlement negotiations, although the mediator’s role extends beyond simply facilitating the parties’ discussions. Arbitration is closer to a “mini-trial,” though there are several significant differences between arbitration and litigation. If you are preparing for the possibility of mediation or arbitration, our attorneys can walk you through the process and help you start plotting your next steps.

How do I enforce a commercial contract in Florida?

Enforcing a commercial contract in Florida may involve initiating mediation, filing for arbitration, going to court, or some combination of the above. To determine what options your company has available, you will need to review the dispute resolution provisions of the contract at issue. Mandatory mediation and arbitration clauses in commercial contracts are generally enforceable, so if your company’s contract includes one of these provisions, pursuing ADR might be your next step. However, exceptions often apply, as noted above, and if your company needs immediate relief, our attorneys may be able to seek enforcement in the Florida courts.

What is considered commercial fraud in Florida?

Commercial fraud can take many different forms. This includes fraud prior to contract execution (i.e., misrepresenting a company’s financial standing), fraud during contract performance (i.e., misrepresenting compliance), and other forms of fraud (i.e., consumer fraud) that negatively impact competitors and other third parties. If you believe that your company may have suffered financial harm, loss of business opportunities or other losses due to fraud, we encourage you to speak with a business litigator at PFHG.

How long do shareholders have to file claims in Florida?

The amount of time shareholders have to file a claim in Florida depends on the nature of the claim they need to file. Shareholder derivative actions (filed on behalf of the company) are subject to different rules, requirements, and timelines than lawsuits that shareholders file directly to protect their contractual or statutory rights. If you need to file a shareholder claim in Florida, we encourage you to contact us promptly so that we can take immediate legal action on your behalf if necessary.

Can a company sue without hiring a lawyer in Florida?

Under Florida law, companies must engage legal counsel to file a lawsuit. While there are exceptions in certain cases (i.e., those involving small claims), filing a lawsuit as a non-lawyer can lead to liability for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.

Speak with a Business Litigation Attorney in Confidence

If you would like to know more about our firm’s business litigation practice, we invite you to get in touch. To speak with an attorney at PFHG in confidence as soon as possible, please contact us online today.