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Seattle Business Law Firm Handles Business Disputes

Washington Firm Has Experience with A Broad Array of Business Matters

Smyth & Mason, PLLC handles many different types of matters. Business, Commercial and Insurance Disputes are a major part of our practice. Here are representative examples of the types of Business, Commercial and Insurance Disputes we handle.

Business Breakups. Shareholder and Partner breakups and valuations are a common occurrence in business. We are often hired to represent owners of a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or closely held (private) corporation, such as a minority owner who wants to cash out or is not getting enough information or majority owners who want to get rid of a non-performing or uncooperative owner or seek new investment. These cases require interpretation and enforcement of Shareholder Agreements, LLC Operating Agreements, Partnership Agreements, Corporate Bylaws, Articles of Incorporation and Employment Contracts. They can involve Shotgun Clauses and other types of Buy Sell arrangements. Disputes can also arise over the value of a business or a minority share in a business. These cases also can trigger events of default under mortgage and security agreements with creditors. Whether you are a majority or minority owner, you need help in navigating these situations in order to maximize and protect your investment and avoid unintended creditor defaults.

Law Firm Breakups. Smyth & Mason is also hired by our colleagues for our expertise in a unique subset of breakups: law firm breakups. These cases also require a clear understanding about how to advise law firm clients on the choice of whether to stay put or move with a departing lawyer and how to value contingent fee cases that are under way when such a split occurs.

Corporate Waste and Mismanagement. Investors faced with mismanagement, corporate waste, and theft of corporate assets or opportunities need to take action to protect their investments. Often, leaders rely on the “business judgment rule” to insulate their behavior. We can help you understand when the line has been crossed. When theft of assets or corporate opportunities is under way, Smyth & Mason can provide a variety of strategies, including derivative claims, to protect the business and bring appropriate pressure to bear.

Trade Secret and Non-Compete Violations. Proprietary information and non-competition disputes are another common area of work for us. These cases can involve injunctive litigation if not promptly settled. Businesses need to protect their client base and their trade secrets. Departing partners, shareholders and employees, on the other hand, sometimes face claims that they are taking trade secrets when the information is not really secret. Sometimes non-competition claims are made based on over-broad agreements or agreements not supported by consideration, simply to shut down competition. These can be challenged in court. If you want to enforce a non-competition agreement or protect trade secrets or if you are being accused of violations of such obligations, Smyth & Mason can help.

Contract Disputes. We are commonly hired to enforce or defend claims for breach of contract. These involve Leases, Master Service Agreements (MSAs), Statements of Work (SOWs), Security Agreements, Construction Contracts, Employment Contracts, and other types of agreements. These cases can often involve temporary cash flow concerns and be resolved with enhanced efforts at communication.

Insurance Disputes. Buying an insurance policy is only a first step. Legal help is called for when you face excess exposure and need to make sure your insurer settles within your coverage limits. Legal help is also necessary when your insurer decides to contest the scope or applicability of your coverage and only defend you under a reservation of rights. Our state is pro-insured. Smyth & Mason can help you argue claims of bad faith against your insurer for avoiding its policy responsibilities or have an ambiguous term in a policy interpreted favorably to you.

Trademark and Copyright Disputes. Smyth & Mason is also called upon to help clients enforce protected trademarks and copyrights. This is another example of areas where matters can often be resolved with enhanced efforts at communication. The risk of doing nothing is loss of rights and confusion between competitors.

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