Entanglement in occasional litigation is almost inevitable. Even the most skilled and reputable designers and builders get swept up in lawsuits. Certain kinds of disputes can only be resolved in court. Serious disputes require serious litigators. Substantial courtroom experience and ability is a must for design and business litigation attorneys in Chicago.

Advantages of Litigation In Chicago

The courtroom is the best venue to resolve certain kinds of disputes. Court rules and procedures enhance due process, which protect litigants from rushed or incorrect outcomes. The principle of stare decisis – which forces judges to follow precedent set by earlier cases – promotes predictability. Court decisions are also freely appealable.  Litigation provides a number of important safeguards for important disputes.  

At times, litigation is the only option. Claims based on statutes – like mechanics liens, mortgage foreclosures, surety bond claims, lawsuits for infringement of intellectual property, and claims about the accessibility of property by disabled persons – often must be resolved through court litigation. 

Choosing litigation over Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is often the most strategic option. Taking apart your opponent’s claim with motion practice, requests for admission of fact, or early depositions is sometimes the cheapest and quickest way to resolve a case. Attorneys who practice design and construction law must always be ready to do battle in the courtroom.

Disadvantages of Litigation In Chicago

Litigation also has huge drawbacks.  It is the slowest and most expensive way to resolve disputes. Arcane court procedures and rules seldom promote early, cost-efficient dispute resolution. Businesspeople want to focus on design and construction, not depositions and trials. Thus, with some exception, litigation is best viewed as a last resort. 

Nearly all design and construction disputes settle before trial. But they settle too late, after too much inconvenience and expense. Years of avoidable hassle and expense – often incurred for needless formal discovery and procedural disputes – come before disputes settle, often on the eve of trial. This is both predictable and avoidable.

Business leaders need information to make decisions. However, they do not need to know every single fact to decide whether or not to settle disputes. They need to know ‘enough’ to make smart business decisions. And litigation is the most inefficient means of information exchange ever devised. Lawyers fight each other at every step! ADR is often a more efficient way to get businesspeople the information they need. 


The fact is, compared to many other kinds of disputes, it is relatively easy to predict the outcome of design and construction claims. Vast disagreement about the claim’s true dollar value is often lacking. This is not true with many other claim types. Experienced design and construction counsel – chest-pounding aside – can often agree on a range of likely claim outcomes at the case outset. Usually any real uncertainty turns upon a few disputed facts or legal issues.  

Knowing this, savvy design and business construction attorneys litigate intentionally. They go right at the key issues. They take the key fact depositions early. They find pressure points early and squeeze – HARD. They force opponents to confront the weakness of their positions. They use court procedures to set up early successful outcomes, often forcing favorable settlements with targeted information exchange and motion practice. And when all else fails, they win at trial.

This should be uncontroversial: lawyers who mindlessly ride waves of court procedures towards trials which are unlikely to occur – with no strategic ‘off-ramp’ in site – waste their clients’ time and money. Clients should not stand for it – not when aggressive, targeted advocacy by skilled design and construction attorneys often promotes early and favorable court outcomes.

Vast Litigation Experience

Jeremy has litigated continuously since 2002. He has successfully prosecuted and defended countless lawsuits in over 30 state and federal court venues, representing clients in far more depositions and court appearances than he can number. He spent the first 4 years of his career aggressively representing plaintiffs in dozens of lawsuits across the Midwest on a 100% contingency fee basis as an attorney at Cozen O’Connor PC. Jeremy is equally experienced defending clients from lawsuits. Thanks to his ‘big law’ experience at Schiff Hardin LLP, he served on skilled teams which litigated claims in excess of $100 million. However, Jeremy has served as first-chair litigation counsel far more times than not throughout his career.

In 2001-2002, Jeremy served in the chambers of Honorable Morey L. Sear, Chief Judge Emeritus, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, New Orleans. He assisted the late Judge Sear, a member of the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation (MDL), with the centralization of mass litigation involving air disasters, intellectual property, antitrust, products liability, securities, sales, and employment practices.  Besides MDL matters, Jeremy helped to dispose cases pending on Judge Sear’s general civil docket.

What is Commercial Litigation (and Are There Better Ways to Resolve Design and Construction Disputes)?

Commercial litigation describes resolution of “business disputes” through litigation and court process. Business disputes can involve a wide range of issues, including those which have nothing to do with design and construction law. Business disputes might be best resolved through litigation, but design and construction disputes are better resolved through alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods like arbitration and mediation.

Business disputes are often resolved by rules which judges can easily understand. The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) is a set of rules which addresses commercial topics like Sales (UCC Article 2), Leases (UCC Article 2A), Negotiable Instruments (UCC Article 3), Bank Deposits (UCC Article 5), Fund Transfers (UCC Article 4A), Letters of Credit (UCC Article 5), Documents of Title (UCC Article 6), Investment Securities (Article 8), and Secured Transactions (UCC Article 9). Judges understand these rules. Litigation around this wide range of commercial topics is arguably a good way to resolve disputes.

Design and construction disputes are different. Design and construction claims arise for many reasons, but there is no single set of rules to govern design and construction claims. Specific legal doctrines have “grown up” around design and construction disputes. Usually, only experienced design and construction attorneys, who focus exclusively on design and construction, understand these unique doctrines. Judges and juries rarely understand the design and construction process. They often cannot understand the intricacies of issues like calculation of construction cost damages and critical path methods scheduling disputes. Judges and juries often struggle to identify which disputed facts are most important. 

By contrast, Arbitrators and mediators who resolve design and construction disputes have experienced and knowledge in construction law and practice. Because of their expertise, arbitrators and mediators may not need the same legal briefing that a judge unfamiliar with design and construction law. Experienced design and construction attorneys will instinctively understand the right questions to ask, the right doctrines to apply, and will have a better sense of the equities, than judges.  Construction arbitrators and mediators are often better equipped than judges and juries to reach the “right outcome,” the fair outcome, the one the project participants can accept, in resolving design and construction claims. 

What Litigation Services Do You Offer?

Baker Law provides litigation services to design and construction professionals in areas like the following:

  • Schedule delays and disruptions
  • Productivity impacts
  • Construction defect analysis
  • Access to expert witnesses and opinions
  • Government contract disputes
  • International construction disputes
  • Claims management strategies and services
  • Legal team coordination
  • Appeals in state and federal court

Although we encourage alternative dispute resolution methods like negotiation and mediation, we won’t hesitate to litigate your case should settlement prove impossible.

What is Chancery Court?

Chancery Court is a court of equity, meaning that it deals with cases that don’t involve a potential monetary award. For example, if you wanted to seek an injunction against an individual or company that’s interfering with your business, you would go to chancery court. No juries are involved with these cases- the court makes the final decision.

What are the Deadlines for Filing a Commercial Litigation Lawsuit?

You should see an attorney as soon as you believe you have a case, as most actions have a statute of limitations. If you don’t file before the specified time limit, you are forever barred from pursuing your claim. 

It is important to note that different issues have different time limits. For example, you have up to five years to take action for breach of an oral contract and 10 years for a written one. If you’re a property owner filing a claim against an architect for improper design, there is a four-year statute of limitations for construction issues. Again, consult with an attorney as soon as possible so that you don’t miss the deadline.

To learn more, contact Baker Law today.

Hale Boggs Federal Courthouse

The Hale Boggs Federal Building Courthouse, in New Orleans, is home of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, where Jeremy served in Judge Sear’s chambers in 2001-2002.