Civil litigation is a dispute between people or businesses concerning matters that are resolved by payment of money or orders from the court, as distinguished from criminal cases. A trial lawyer or a litigator is a lawyer who specializes in civil litigation. The attorneys at Penrose Chun & Gorman LLP include highly qualified lawyers who practice civil litigation and represent clients in mediations, arbitrations, hearings and trials before federal and state courts and administrative agencies.
Our attorneys have decades of experience in all aspects of civil litigation from initial consultation through trial. We take a “hands-on” approach to all of our cases from the first meetings with clients through investigation, settlement efforts, mediation, arbitration, and trial. Not all cases go to trial, in fact very few do; most are settled either through direct negotiations with the other side or with the assistance of a mediator or settlement conference judge. But every case must be assessed and evaluated at the outset as if it could go to trial so that the evidence and financial risks and benefits are always put in the most important perspective.
Our firm practices several types of civil litigation, including:
Real Estate Disputes: We represent clients in litigation arising out of disputes relating to real estate purchase and sale contracts, leases, easements and licenses, boundary disputes, commercial and residential landlord-tenant disputes, and evictions.
Contract Disputes: Businesses and individuals often have disagreements over performance of a contract, be it failure to deliver goods and services on time or of a certain quality or quantity, or a disagreement caused by changed circumstances or the meaning of key words in an agreement. Our clients range from large corporations in million-dollar disputes to small businesses and individuals who are seeking an economical way to resolve any number of different types of conflicts over a myriad of contracts, leases and other types of agreements. The key to such disputes is understanding and effective and evaluation of the legal, factual and economic issues and advising our clients of the cost benefits of proceeding as the facts of each case are presented and develop.
Agriculture Litigation: The firm represents farmers, growers, packers, distributors, suppliers and shippers in a wide array of issues ranging from contracts and leases to business disputes and personal injury and property damage claims. Understanding the agriculture industry is important to representing agriculture clients in the broad array of issues that arise in the industry. Attorneys at our firm have represented clients in disputes regarding leases, sales and distribution contracts, property disputes, PACA claims, regulatory actions, pesticide oversprays, insurance claims and foodborne illness claims for over 20 years. Our long involvement with the agriculture industry provides us with insight into our clients’ needs: avoiding litigation through negotiations and dialogue and effectively and economically advocating when matters become legal disputes.
Intellectual Property: We represent people and businesses who have had their unique ideas, processes and other intellectual property wrongfully taken by others. The law sets out specific remedies and procedures for these types of claims which differ from more traditional personal injury cases and contract disputes. Our goal is to protect our clients’ interests and rights as quickly and effectively as possible, and to use the tools and remedies the law provides to rectify the wrongful taking and obtain compensation for our clients’ losses.
Employment and Labor: The most common employment and labor disputes involve allegations of underpayment of wages, wrongful termination and harassment. We represent businesses and management/owners who have been sued and former employees alleging they have been underpaid, fired in contravention of the law and/or the victims of workplace harassment. These cases also have particular laws and procedures that govern their prosecution and defense, as well as the remedies and damages available. Depending on the situation, a labor/employment dispute may be resolved through informal processes or less formal hearings with the Department of Labor or and may never involve the courts at all. Knowing the particular laws, procedures, defenses and remedies is important to assessing the merits and financial implications of such matters.
Personal Injury: We represent plaintiffs (people who are injured) and defendants (people or businesses alleged to be liable for injuries) and/or their insurance companies. The most common types of personal injury cases are auto accidents, slip/trip and falls and dog bites. Our experience on “both sides” of personal injury cases gives us enhanced credibility with adversaries and great insight into the strategy, tactics and evidence our clients will need and that the other side will raise and to evaluate the merits of a case both in terms of liability and monetary value.
Our firm handles a variety of construction disputes.
Commercial & Residential: We represent people and businesses from single family residences to homeowners’ associations and commercial property owners whose properties were built or remodeled below standards and are suffering from unacceptable and sometimes dangerous conditions. We work with top level experts in architecture, general contracting, specialty and subcontracting to investigate the problems, develop construction and economic solutions, and provide expert testimony supporting our clients at deposition, arbitration and trial. We have worked for decades with the most experienced experts and “special masters” the courts usually assign such cases to, and are very experienced with the unique procedures these cases have, and the unique legal issues presented by them.
Construction Litigation & Options: Many construction projects, from small, family remodels to housing developments to apartment complexes and large commercial buildings experience disputes between owners, designers, contractors, subcontractors and/or suppliers during and after construction. We have represented many different entities in these disputes, some of which are resolved without going to court, and many of which are governed by “mandatory” arbitration provisions in the project contract documents. We have extensive experience in resolving disputes that arise while a project is underway, and in mediations and binding arbitrations when matters do not settle. Binding arbitration is a trial held before a neutral person chosen by the parties, usually a retired judge, who has extensive knowledge of construction disputes. The rules of evidence are more lenient than court and so the arbitration hearing takes less time than a court “trial.”
Construction Defect Defense: We also represent builders, designers and material manufacturers and suppliers who are either sued directly by owners or, more frequently, are sued by other entities as “cross-defendants.” Businesses being sued are entitled to sue other entities who they believe have contributed to plaintiffs’ claims of damages (even if they think those are exaggerated) under a number of legal theories including “comparative fault,” “equitable indemnity” and “contribution.”
Many times there are contracts requiring the various trades to “indemnify” each other and/or provide “additional insured” endorsements for them. These cases add the complexities of understanding insurance policies and the laws surrounding them, in addition to knowing and understanding construction projects, processes and professional standards of care.