Are some business disputes inevitably headed to trial?

Although parties to a business contract may enter into their agreement with a spirit of cooperation, a recent contract dispute illustrates that serious differences of opinion can arise.

According to the court filings, trucking company J.B. Hunt Transport claims that the custom software it purchased from MercuryGate did not satisfy the terms of the parties’ contract. It has requested damages of $3.1 million for the failed functionality of the software. Notably, J.B. Hunt has also requested a jury trial.

With that amount of money at stake, the terms of the business contract were likely extensive, including a description of the software’s expectations. The software was reportedly intended to help J.B. Hunt Transport in booking its delivery loads, tracking carriers, and various other logistical matters. In addition, the software was supposed to be completed by Nov. 2013. According to the allegations, however, the software is still not operational and late by nearly two years. For that reason, J.B. Hunt reportedly sought a refund, and when that was refused, initiated the instant litigation.

Despite the most proactive due diligence efforts, businesses may find themselves in a dispute that’s headed to trial. In that forum, a trial attorney that focuses on business litigation and other corporate law matters will be needed to provide strong advocacy.

Although some business disputes may be resolved through mediation or arbitration, the amount of damages sought in today’s example may have discouraged alternative dispute methods. It will be up to a jury to determine whether the software company failed to perform under the terms of the contract. In addition to determining liability, a jury will also have to evaluate the amount of damages sought. J.B. Hunt claims the amount is based upon its costs, including the refund amount, attorney’s fees and court costs.

Source: Overdrive, “JB Hunt hits trucking software provider with $3.1 million lawsuit,” James Jaillet, Aug. 6, 2015