What to do when served with a business litigation summon and complaint

21 June 2016
 Categories: Law, Blog


Business ownership comes with certain legal risks. Generally, businesses are prone to the dangers of being served with business litigation summons and complaints at any moment. Customers can infer all manner of reasons to file a lawsuit against your business. While some complaints are legitimate, others are not. In this regard, business owners should take some specific steps to protect themselves and their businesses when served with these summons and complaints. Read on for more insight.

Summons and complaint

A summon is a notification sent to the accused or defendant in a case brought in front of the court. It basically informs you when and where you're supposed to appear to answer to the summons. Additionally, the summons also contain the name of the individual or petitioner that's suing your business. Moreover, the summons also feature a warning regarding a default ruling being automatically sustained if you fail to file a response. Usually, you have a certain timeframe to file your response.

The complaint informs the business owner of the reasons why the petitioner is seeking legal course of action against the business. By way of example, if the petitioner is claiming a contravention of contract or fiduciary duty of the part of the accused person, this will be recorded in the complaint. Additionally, complaints must also specify the cause of action as well as the components of each cause. The key function of the complaint is to inform the defendant about the lawsuit against them and the reasons why.

When served with a legal summon and complaint, here are two steps you should immediately take.

  • Hire a lawyer

In the case of a business litigation summon, read when the response is due and get in touch with your business lawyer. If you don't have a lawyer, the day you're served is the day you should actually retain one. The lawyer will help you file a response to the issued summons within the specified response timeframe. Lawyers need time to come up with an effective strategy for your defense so it makes sense to contact them immediately.

  • Gather all relevant paperwork

It's crucial to gather all the relevant paperwork related to the situation that lead to the lawsuit. Collect any written communication you've previously had with the petitioner, including sent and received emails and letters. Hand them to your lawyer. The more details you reveal to your lawyer the better. Additionally, any recorded conversations between you and the petitioner should also be handed over to your lawyer. The documents can reveal the transaction details and will assist your lawyer devise the best possible legal defense.