Commercial Litigation Versus Other Civil Litigation, and Emerging Commercial Litigation Trends

Civil litigation is a lawsuit between two parties to enforce or defend a legal right where the plaintiff typically seeks compensation in the form of monetary damages from the defendant. Many different types of lawsuits fall under the broad umbrella of civil litigation.

When businesses or companies are involved in a dispute, the lawsuit is generally known as commercial litigation. A common question is whether commercial litigation is different from traditional litigation. The answer is both yes and no.


Commercial litigation generally progresses the same way that other civil litigation matters do. These typical litigation stages are:  retaining an attorney, conducting factual investigations, researching applicable law, sending demand letters, engaging in settlement negotiations, filing suit, conducting discovery, participating in motion practice, trying the case before a judge or jury, filing post-trial motions, and so on.


Commercial litigation is different from most other civil lawsuits by virtue of the involvement of businesses rather than just individuals, and because the issues involved are very specialized and typically more complex, both factually and legally. Many times, commercial litigation is filed in federal court, rather than state court, and can be a class action or multi-district litigation. Additionally, commercial litigation can take many twists and turns and persist for years as compared to other types of civil litigation. Commercial litigation also can be more expensive due to the costs of discovery, particularly e-discovery, and the costs of forensic experts.


There are many different types of commercial litigation, including the following:

  • Antitrust;

  • Aviation Disputes;

  • Bad Faith;

  • Breach of Contract;

  • Breach of Fiduciary Duty;

  • Business Torts;

  • Class Actions;

  • Construction;

  • Debtor/Creditor;

  • Employment and Labor;

  • Fraud and Misrepresentation;

  • Insurance Coverage;

  • Intellectual Property and Patent Infringement;

  • LLC Member Disputes;

  • Partnership Disputes;

  • Privacy, Cybersecurity and Data Breach;

  • Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental Litigation;

  • Restrictive Covenants;

  • Securities Litigation;

  • Shareholder Disputes and Derivative Actions;

  • Tax Disputes;

  • Trade Secret and Unfair Competition.


While this is not an exhaustive list of the types of commercial litigation, it highlights some of the more prevalent types of disputes that can arise in the business context.


When a business faces litigation or the threat of a lawsuit, involving an experienced commercial litigation attorney early in the process is critical. Having a commercial litigator coordinate and oversee the gathering of evidence, the retaining of appropriate experts, and the preserving of relevant electronically stored information, among other things, is often the key to a successful outcome.


If you would like further information on any type of commercial litigation, do not hesitate to reach out to any of the litigation attorneys at The Glassman Law Group.