The very first thing you need to do is pick up the phone and call your attorney. In Texas, there is a short window–only 20 days–in which to file a formal Answer to defend the lawsuit. If this is not done, the party filing the lawsuit can get a default judgment against your company–essentially getting everything they asked for in their lawsuit. So, it is important that you work with your lawyer to make sure you file an Answer immediately so that you do not lose your right to vigorously defend you side of the story.Likewise, your attorney will be able to help you formulate a plan of action for the case. In Texas, all corporations are required to have an attorney represent them in litigation, so for most businesses an attorney is not a luxury, but a necessity.
Circle the Wagons
Make sure that you take the allegations levelled against you very seriously. If there are any allegations of wrongdoing by company employees or executives (e.g. sexual harassment claims, discrimination claims, etc.), you will need to work with your attorney to remedy the situation so that you prevent future lawsuits on the same matter. Likewise, if the claim that was brought was over a contract, there is no better time to review and revise your contract so that any ambiguous language is made clear for all future transactions.
Maintain All Evidence
It is important that you work with your attorney to retain all documents, emails, and even electronic communications that could have any bearing on the lawsuit. The opposing party will likely ask for these documents in Discovery (a process where both sides are able to ask the other side for relevant documents, evidence, and facts), and if you have unintentionally destroyed these documents when you knew there was a lawsuit at hand, you face the risk of having the court impose sanctions on you and your company. So, make sure you take measures to preserve all communications, documents, emails, and other internal records that may have anything to do with the case.
If your company has been sued, and you have questions about what to do next, our Dallas Business Law Attorneys at Cook & Gore would be happy to help guide you in the right direction. Give us a call at 214-236-2712.