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  • Writer's picturePeter Lamont, Esq.

Do These 3 Things if Your Small Business Gets Sued

Help! My small business is being sued!

My small business is being sued


As a small business owner, receiving a lawsuit can be a daunting and stressful experience. However, it's crucial to take swift action to protect your business and minimize potential damages. In this blog post, we'll provide a step-by-step guide on what to do when your small business gets sued.

Step 1: Read the Complaint Carefully

Upon being served with a lawsuit, the first thing you should do is thoroughly read the complaint. Identify who is suing you and understand the reasons behind the lawsuit. Even if you're not familiar with specific legal terms, try to grasp the basic allegations being made against your business.

Step 2: Note the Service Date and Response Deadline

Take note of the date you were served with the complaint, as well as the date on the complaint itself. This information is vital because you have a limited time to respond to the lawsuit, and the deadline varies by state. For example, in New Jersey, you have 35 days to respond after being served, while other states may have shorter or longer deadlines.

Step 3: Hire an Experienced Business Litigation Attorney

The most important step you can take when your small business gets sued is to contact an experienced business litigation attorney as soon as possible. Don't wait until the last minute, as the response deadline approaches quickly, and you'll need to give your attorney enough time to review the case and prepare an appropriate response. Keep in mind that most states do not allow a business owner to represent the business without a lawyer.

My small business is being sued

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Avoid Common Mistakes

When faced with a lawsuit, it's essential to avoid common mistakes that could jeopardize your case:

  • Don't ignore the lawsuit or stick your head in the sand. Failing to respond within the given timeframe can result in a default judgment against your business, which is much harder and more expensive to resolve.

  • Don't wait until the last minute to hire an attorney. Give yourself and your lawyer ample time to build a strong defense.

  • Don't attempt to handle the lawsuit on your own. Legal matters can be complex, and it's best to rely on the expertise of a professional.

Cooperate with Your Attorney

Once you've hired a business litigation attorney, cooperate fully with them. Provide all relevant documents and information related to the case, and be honest about the situation. Your attorney is there to help you, and they can only do so effectively if you work together as a team.


Facing a lawsuit as a small business owner can be overwhelming, but by following these steps and working with an experienced attorney, you can navigate the legal process and protect your business. Remember, the vast majority of legal disputes can be settled out of court, but it's crucial to take action quickly and face the problem head-on. By being proactive and well-prepared, you'll be in a much better position to resolve the lawsuit and move forward with your business.



What should I do first when my small business gets sued?

The first thing you should do is carefully read the complaint to understand who is suing you and why. Make note of the date you were served and the deadline for responding to the lawsuit.

How long do I have to respond to a lawsuit against my small business?

The deadline to respond to a lawsuit varies by state. For example, in New Jersey, you have 35 days to respond after being served. It's crucial to check your state's specific requirements and act within the given timeframe.

Do I need to hire an attorney when my small business gets sued?

Yes, it's highly recommended that you hire an experienced business litigation attorney as soon as possible. Navigating legal matters can be complex, and a professional can help protect your business and build a strong defense.

What happens if I ignore the lawsuit or fail to respond before the deadline?

Ignoring the lawsuit or failing to respond within the given timeframe can result in a default judgment against your business. This means the court may rule in favor of the plaintiff without considering your side of the story, making it much harder and more expensive to resolve the issue later.

How can I find the right business litigation attorney for my case?

Look for an attorney with experience in handling cases similar to yours. You can search online, ask for referrals from other business owners, or contact your local bar association for recommendations. Be sure to discuss their experience, fees, and approach to your case before making a decision.

What information should I provide to my attorney?

Provide your attorney with all relevant documents and information related to the case, including the complaint, any contracts or agreements, and correspondence with the plaintiff. Be honest and forthcoming about the situation to help your attorney build the best possible defense.

Will my case go to trial?

Most legal disputes involving small businesses can be settled out of court. Your attorney will work with you to negotiate a settlement or explore alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation or arbitration, to avoid a trial when possible.

How long will it take to resolve the lawsuit?

The time it takes to resolve a lawsuit can vary depending on the complexity of the case, the willingness of both parties to negotiate, and the court's schedule. Your attorney can provide you with an estimated timeline and keep you informed of any developments throughout the process.


Contact us today to discuss your business or legal matter. Put our 20+ years of legal experience to work for you.


For detailed insights and legal assistance on topics discussed in this post, including litigation, contact the Law Offices of Peter J. Lamont at our Bergen County Office. We're here to answer your questions and provide legal advice. Contact us at (201) 904-2211 or email us at

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Peter J. Lamont is a Top-Rated New Jersey Business Attorney

About Peter J. Lamont, Esq.

Peter J. Lamont is a nationally recognized attorney with significant experience in business, contract, litigation, and real estate law. With over two decades of legal practice, he has represented a wide array of businesses, including large international corporations. Peter is known for his practical legal and business advice, prioritizing efficient and cost-effective solutions for his clients.

Peter has an Avvo 10.0 Rating and has been acknowledged as one of America's Most Honored Lawyers since 2011. 201 Magainze and Lawyers of Distinction have also recognized him for being one of the top business and litigation attorneys in New Jersey. His commitment to his clients and the legal community is further evidenced by his active role as a speaker, lecturer, and published author in various legal and business publications.

As the founder of the Law Offices of Peter J. Lamont, Peter brings his Wall Street experience and client-focused approach to New Jersey, offering personalized legal services that align with each client's unique needs and goals​.


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As with any legal issue, it is important that you obtain competent legal counsel before making any decisions about how to respond to a subpoena or whether to challenge one - even if you believe that compliance is not required. Because each situation is different, it may be impossible for this article to address all issues raised by every situation encountered in responding to a subpoena. The information below can give you guidance regarding some common issues related to subpoenas, but you should consult with an attorney before taking any actions (or refraining from acts) based on these suggestions. Separately, this post will focus on New Jersey law. If you receive a subpoena in a state other than New Jersey, you should immediately seek the advice of an attorney in your state, as certain rules differ in other states.

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