Commercial Law


When the Soviet Union collapsed, one of its biggest problems was the lack of laws governing commercial interactions.  It was just like playing a game of Monopoly where the rules were not written down and could be changed by anyone, at any time.  If any of you have ever played this game with either an older or younger sibling, you fully know of the chaos of which I speak. 

Commercial litigation is that branch of the law which involves solely the business of money.  Whether it is Hobby Lobby selling arts and crafts, or Bank of America financing a sub-prime bail out, it is a commercial transaction and, when it goes awry, commercial litigation follows.  The disputes could be anything from a bad loan, to a business divorce.  The most common cases involve breach of contract, fraud, and/or breach of a business duty by one party to the other. 

We have a whole series of laws, both federal and state, which regulate how we conduct ourselves in business.  When something goes wrong, we look back to the laws to determine what should have happened and what we can do about it now.  If the parties agree, they can normally make the necessary adjustments and move on.  When they do not agree, it is the job of each  lawyers to present his/her client’s case to the court, and allow the court system to make the decision. 

The majority of “contract” law began in the commercial dealings between merchants in England before this country was this county.  There is a very long history of judicial opinions which outline these dealings into a set of mostly common sense rules.  These laws have evolved from the days of horse and buggy to the days of the information super highway.  In many ways, knowing that a ‘deal is a deal” is what has allowed all of the economic growth since the industrial revolution.  Commercial litigation is the stick which controls the desire for a quick carrot. 

Some of the more important statutes relating to commercial transactions are the following: 

Uniform Commercial Code: This series of laws governs a wide array of business dealings which you would normally think of as concerning merchants There are several segments which deal with very specific items.  Article 2 deals with the sale of goods. Article 2a deals with the rental of goods. Articles 3 and 4 deal with banks and their checks, deposits and loans.  Article 9 deals with security interests for contracts and loans. 

Fair Debt Collection and Practices Act: The State of Texas has enacted one version and Congress has enacted a second version.  Businesses  who deal with and give credit to consumers are regulated by both. 

Deceptive Trade Practices Act: This is Texas’ consumer protection act.  Its main goal is to help the consumer avoid or correct  problems with unscrupulous sellers of goods and services.  This is a uniquely Texan law and is quite a powerful tool for consumers. 

Case Law: Contract law has roots which go back to England.  This law was imported and has stayed alive through some of the courts writing down  their decisions on the law  when they decide a case.   Unfortunately, this law is one of the most inaccessible to the population at large.  While the books can be found in most county libraries, trying to find a case which is relevant to your particular subject at hand is something which even most attorneys have difficulty mastering.

Civil Practices & Remedies Code.:  After you arrive at the Texas Quick Search page, select "Civil Practices & Remedies Code." from the Code drop down menu. (More)


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