In war there is no substitute for victory.– Douglas MacArthur
A style of litigation in which the lawyer does not tire, refuses to quit, and continues to fight, wherever and against whomever, until the client’s goals are reached.
A commitment to litigation excellence that can only be achieved through hard work, determination, and a willingness to master the facts, law, and audience of each dispute.
The guiding principle upon which Barton Cerjak was founded. We are a litigation boutique focusing on complex commercial disputes.
Cutting Through The Fog Of Litigation
At its core, a trial presents two competing versions of the same set of facts. The judge and jury are like critics; they decide who wins and loses based on which presentation of the facts is more credible. A trial lawyer’s job is to marshal the best facts in his or her client’s favor and, similar to a director, present them in a compelling way to explain why his or her client should win and the other side should lose. This type of critical, ongoing assessment of the story—by sifting through good facts, bad facts, and irrelevant facts—often separates victory from defeat. It’s also why we start thinking about how to tell our client’s story in the most persuasive way possible at the outset of every case.
The law is organic. It is constantly evolving. Trying a simple breach of contract case in Ohio, for example, is different than trying the same case in Wisconsin, California, or New York. The reason is because each state has added its own gloss to the legal issues in dispute through its own statutes and judicial opinions. Further, even if one is generally familiar with the jurisdictional law governing a given claim, the law evolves as courts issue new decisions interpreting it. Thus, to successfully test and hone one’s theory of the case, a basic understanding of the law will never suffice. Extensive legal research is always required. There are no exceptions.
Even the best facts and the most favorable law do not guarantee victory. It is also critical to master one’s audience. Understanding the decision makers who hold your client’s fate in the balance is not a unique skillset employed by trial lawyers. Just as no marketing executive would make an identical sales pitch to different customers, the same holds true with presenting a case to a judge or jury. They make decisions based on their individual (or collective) set of experiences that must be kept at the fore when considering the best way to structure a compelling presentation. Although one can never guarantee how the experience-base of a given judge or jury will affect the outcome of a case, extensive research leads to educated decisions, which translate into better results. This is why we place equal emphasis on researching our prospective audiences for every case we litigate from the start—not weeks before trial.
In The Following Practice Areas
Many commercial disputes are centered on contracts; the parties’ agreement that they reached at the outset of their relationship. Each state has also adopted a version of the Uniform Commercial Code (“U.C.C.”), which defines additional rights and responsibilities that may apply to a wide variety of commercial transactions—from sales, to leases, to letters of credit, for example. We routinely represent clients in a variety of these commercial disputes regardless of where they arise.
A business partnership is akin to a marriage; it is founded upon trust. Once that trust is broken, the relationship becomes irreparable. When these breakups occur, courts are often called upon to decide how to unwind the parties’ relationship, including who gets custody of the business. A significant amount of our practice is devoted to these types of cases, representing shareholders, LLC-members, partners, and/or their respective entities when an intra-corporate dispute arises.
Your reputation is invaluable and once tarnished, restoring it is virtually impossible. But the law provides recourse in the form of a suit for defamation. But defamation only addresses false statements; if the statement is substantially true, no matter how harmful, a defamation claim is not viable. That said, there are many statutes through which you can protect yourself against character assassination or the harmful disclosure of private information. We pride ourselves on protecting your business, goodwill, and reputation.
Intellectual property is the engine that drives many businesses. Copyrights, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets all possess inherent value—precisely why numerous state and federal laws have been enacted to protect these assets. Whether you are attempting to safeguard these assets or have been accused of pirating another’s IP, we know the playing field and are committed to assisting you.
A class action is a special type of lawsuit in which one or more individuals bring the action on behalf of themselves and all others who suffered the same or similar harm. The plaintiffs therefore sue “on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated.” In this type of representative litigation, the few fight for the many who, if forced to fight alone, would never fight at all.
Accidents happen, people get injured, and property is damaged. The question is who (or what) is responsible for causing the harm. We offer a unique perspective on these types of cases, having represented plaintiffs and defendants alike. As a result, we have integral knowledge concerning the pressure points facing both parties in these disputes, which we will employ to your advantage.
Trial courts are where lawsuits originate. In many cases, however, the dispute is resolved at the appellate level. Although similar in some respects, trial advocacy and appellate advocacy have critical differences. We understand our audience “upstairs” and relish the opportunity to serve as appellate counsel—whether to preserve a judgment obtained below, to overturn an erroneous ruling, or to offer a fresh perspective on a dispute that went awry at the trial-court level.
Legal disputes are commonplace in the world of construction and real estate. With so many parties involved—developers, contractors, subcontractors, architects, engineers, and banks, to name a few—there is ample opportunity for a dispute to compromise even the most well-planned project. It is therefore essential to understand and protect your legal rights at every stage of a project. This is a process with which we are intimately familiar.
Alcohol has a unique place in our nation’s history. By virtue of the 21st Amendment, it is one of the few goods subject to heightened state regulation concerning its sale and distribution that would otherwise violate the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. We have represented numerous clients at various levels in the three-tier system and understand the intricacies of this regulatory scheme.