Business in the Courthouse
The courthouse can be one of the best places for information about how businesses operate. In addition to all of the filings regarding business licenses and deeds for property purchased in the course of business, companies often head to the courthouse to file a lawsuit when they have a dispute with a customer, a supplier, a competitor, or an employee. In addition, people who come in contact with a business may also find the need to file a lawsuit against a company.
Litigation as a business tactic and as a way to redress a wrong committed by a company is on the increase, making an understanding of how the court system is used in the business world vital to any reporter.
In the federal court system, there were more than 274,000 civil case filings in 2002, a 9.5% increase from the previous year. Although there is no breakdown in what percentage of those cases involved businesses, it is fair to say that the increase in business-related litigation has contributed to the rise. In addition, there were 1.5 million bankruptcy cases filed in 2002, a 7.7% increase from the previous year. (For more on bankruptcy cases, see chap. 12.)