Commercial and Business Litigation

Our commercial and business litigation attorneys represent retailers, family business institutions, manufacturers, financial institutions, shareholders, owners, and large corporations. Our attorneys work with you to understand your goals, discuss how the court’s previous rulings will affect your case, and identify the best means to resolve your dispute cost-effectively.

We represent clients in a broad spectrum of business-litigation matters, including shareholder disputes, partnership disputes, non-competition agreements, the liability of corporate officers and directors, breach-of-contract claims, civil conversion, theft and embezzlement, trade secrets and unfair competition.

The commercial business and litigation team offers Rhoades McKee clients a unique advantage not found in other firms.  Our attorneys are multi-specialty trained with a strong background in finance. With advanced degrees in business administration and finance as well as completed course work through both the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the American Society of Appraisers (ASA), our team is able to understand and uncover the critical financial benchmarks and apply them to create a successful litigation strategy.

In addition, our team readily consults with other Rhoades McKee attorneys that are also CPAs and tax attorneys. This specialized and concentrated skill set in one team provides our clients with not only a unique advantage but also a cost-effective approach to litigate cases quickly and economically.

Recognition of Commercial Litigation Team

We have successfully tried hundreds of cases before juries, judges, and arbitrators in federal and state courts and in administrative agencies throughout Michigan. Our efforts and representation of Michigan businesses has earned the respect and recognition of our peers. US News Best Lawyers named our commercial litigation team a Tier 1 Best Law Firm serving the Grand Rapids metropolitan area.

In addition, our team is regularly recognized by Chambers and Partners, an organization that has been ranking lawyers since 1990 and employs 150 full-time editors and researchers to evaluate law firms across the United States on a yearly basis. According to the evaluations, one Rhoades McKee client stated, “It is excellent at litigation. It has a lot of talent at partner level and some very business-savvy attorneys.” Rhoades McKee’s Commercial Litigation team is honored to be one of only 11 firms ranked in the entire state of Michigan for their commercial litigation each year.

Sample of Representative Work:

  • Post-Acquisition Disputes. We assist both sellers and buyers when disputes arise after the sale and purchase of a company. In one case, representing the sellers, we successfully resolved a claim against one of the company’s advisors and then initiated arbitration against the buyer to pursue the remaining purchase price.  We prevailed at arbitration and then entered into a settlement for the sellers valued at more than $2.25 million. In another situation, we represented a buyer in a dispute with the seller over misrepresentations concerning the financial condition of the business and the violation of a non-competition agreement. At mediation, we secured a modification of the client’s purchase price, reducing it by more than $100,000.
  • Expertly Avoiding Shareholder Litigation. Shareholder disputes often erupt when shareholders fail to address succession appropriately, either by way of governance documents or through personal dialogue. With expertise in business valuation, we helped two sets of 50/50 shareholders reach agreements for succession, including specific valuation protocols and the terms of the ultimate agreements, and avoided very costly shareholder litigation and the resulting harm to the companies and human relationships.
  • Shareholder Cases. Sometimes litigation cannot be avoided. We handled and resolved, a host of shareholder litigation matters in 2018 and 2019.  We defended majority shareholders in a suit involving over 17 companies and, after months of smash-mouth litigation, resolved it for less than was offered by corporate counsel prior to litigation.  In another case, we represented the plaintiff and resolved the case for more than 100% of the value, together with attorneys’ fees, following the first wave of discovery.
  • Noncompete Knowledge. We routinely litigate the enforceability of non-competition agreements, but we also use that expertise in counseling our clients on hiring and firing decisions. In one case, by specifically tailoring an employee’s job duties, we were able to help our client add a key executive to its leadership team. In another, we were able to carefully draft a non-compete based on how we knew the provisions would be enforced by the local courts, thereby protecting another client from potential damages if a key employee left the company.
  • Preserving A Client’s Reputation. A high-profile client was targeted in a bogus lawsuit seeking to exert leverage in an unrelated dispute by embarrassing the client and damaging its reputation. Rhoades McKee jumped to the client’s defense, filing a motion instead of an answer that resulted in the lawsuit being dismissed and the Court ordering the plaintiff to pay our client’s fees and costs.

At Rhoades McKee, we understand and respect our client’s budgets and deadlines, emphasizing case management, risk evaluation analyses, frequent communication, and, above all, adherence to our client’s goals of protecting their business interests.


how may we help you?

Stephen Hulst_Rhoades McKee

stephen hulst | attorney

To learn more about our commercial and business litigation services or speak with an attorney, connect with us below or call Stephen at 616.233.5155.

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