When you decide that it is beneficial to your business interests to pursue a breach of contract or other commercial litigation action, there are many things that can sidetrack your case, with some of those detours being more severe than others. One choice that can profoundly derail your case is choosing to go forward without skilled Florida commercial litigation counsel representing you. This choice can backfire in many ways, up to and including leading to the dismissal of your case.
An example of this scenario played out in a federal court case in the Southern District of Florida. A South Florida businessman who operated stores focused on gaming and collectibles sought to sue a major miniature war-gaming manufacturing company. In the lawsuit, the businessman sued on his own behalf and listed several of his business entities as “DBAs.” The plaintiff’s lawsuit accused the manufacturing company of breach of contract, restraint of trade, fraud, and a “willful pump and dump scheme.” The businessman chose to proceed without a lawyer.
After the manufacturing company filed a motion to dismiss, the court granted that motion and threw out the case. The shortcoming within the plaintiff’s case was not related to the strength or weakness of his facts or his legal claims. The case never got that far. The court dismissed the case because the plaintiff did not meet the legal standard for standing, which is the capacity under the law to be allowed to bring a lawsuit.
The reason the businessman lacked standing to sue existed in two parts. The plaintiff ran several gaming and collectibles stores, but those stores were operated by a corporation, rather than by the plaintiff individually. In order for the law to allow you to sue, you have to be the person or entity that actually suffered the harm that was alleged in the lawsuit. In this case, the person or entity that actually suffered the alleged harm was the corporation that ran the stores, rather than the businessman himself. That made the corporation the “real person in interest” that had standing to sue, instead of the individual.
This led to the second problem, which was the lack of a lawyer representing the plaintiff. In many cases like this, addressing the standing problem might be as simple as amending the complaint to name the corporation as a plaintiff and proceeding forward. However, the law is very clear that corporations cannot proceed in litigation as self-represented parties; corporations must be represented by attorneys in order to pursue their claims in court. Since this plaintiff had chosen to proceed without a lawyer, that entitled the defendants to win their request for dismissal.
Whether your case alleges damages of $60,000 or $60 million, it pays to have skilled commercial litigation attorneys fighting for you. Your Florida counsel can help you assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case and plot a path forward. The knowledgeable South Florida commercial litigation attorneys at Stok Kon + Braverman have been helping business entities and business people protect their interests for many years and are here to assist you with your case.
Contact us online or by calling (954) 237-1777 to schedule your consultation and find out how this firm can help you protect your interests.
More blog posts:
South Florida Business Defeats Attempt to Have Court Disqualify its Attorney in Breach of Contract Case, Florida Business Lawyers Blog, Nov. 22, 2017
Stok Kon + Braverman Client Secures $8M Award in Breach of Contract Litigation Victory, Florida Business Lawyers Blog, May 18, 2017