Six Tips Every South Dakota Business Owner Needs To Know About Lawsuits

Tip # 1 - A lawsuit will cost money.

Litigation is not cheap. You’ll need South Dakota lawyers who are skilled in handling litigation matters, and you’ll need to begin conducting discovery unless you can get the case dismissed very early. During the beginning of the case, each side asks the other for information and documents, including electronically stored information (ESI). Preserving, collecting, and reviewing documents and ESI can be costly. There’s also the cost of taking depositions, paying for flights across the country, and possibly hiring experts to help prove your case.

Tip # 2 - A lawsuit will take up your time and your employees' time.

Litigation takes time. Even if your company has an in-house legal department, there will be times that outside counsel will need to meet with the business people to:

  • Understand the facts of the case
  • Obtain accurate information for discovery responses
  • Determine where potentially responsive documents might be
  • Follow up for more information as the discovery process proceeds and the legal arguments evolve on both sides.

Tip # 3 - You may have to disclose confidential information.

The discovery process may require disclosure of your confidential information, including business plans, pricing, and other proprietary information. In response to these concerns, the parties will ask the court to enter a protective order, which restricts the use of such information.

Tip # 4 - Even if you did everything right, you may not be able to win the case immediately - or at all.

Of course, some lawsuits filed against your company have no merit.  And while this is frustrating, unfortunately, if there are factual disputes, it will be hard to win right away. Also, if your case goes to trial, there is the expense of litigation and no guaranteed outcome. 

Tip # 5 - Trial can sometimes be like gambling. 

No matter how strong your case is or how good your lawyer is there is always a risk that you could lose at trial. 

Tip # 6 - However, in some cases, settlement simply doesn't make sense.

Despite the risks, sometimes a case should not be settled, and you should take it to trial. If you have a strong case and the other side simply refuses to agree to a reasonable resolution, there is no reason to cave. Likewise, even if you have a fair risk of losing, sometimes sending the signal to others in the market that you are not afraid to take a case to trial will save you money in the long run. While paying the nuisance value just to get rid of a case may make sense in some instances, be sure you’re not sending the message that you are willing to pay $25,000 to $50,000 without any fight - or you can count on being sued more regularly.