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What is the Meaning of Burden of Proof in Business Litigation?

Business disputes are quite common, as conflicts and disagreements can arise in many aspects of business dealings. No business is immune to business disputes. Common sources of business disputes include contractual, employment, business transactions, and intellectual property disputes. When a business dispute arises, one way of resolving the dispute is through business litigation. It is crucial that, as a business owner, you understand how business litigation works.

Even if you are currently not involved in a business dispute, it is important that you take the time to understand how business litigation works. One of the many crucial things you need to understand when it comes to business litigation is the concept of “burden of proof.” This article discusses the meaning of “burden of proof” in business litigation.

What Does Burden of Proof Mean?

“Burden of proof” means the responsibility of a party to provide enough evidence in court to prove their case. In business litigation, the burden of proof is usually on the party bringing the lawsuit (the plaintiff). However, the burden of proof can sometimes shift to the defendant.

What is the Standard of Proof in Business Litigation?

Most people are familiar with the standard of proof that applies in criminal cases. In a criminal case, the prosecutor is required to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the highest standard of proof. It is used in criminal cases because due process requires that no person be penalized in the criminal justice system if a reasonable person could question the individual’s guilt.

However, a lesser standard of proof applies in civil litigation, including business litigation. In business litigation, the plaintiff is required to present evidence that is enough to convince the court that their claims are more likely to be true than not. In other words, the plaintiff needs to convince the court that there is more than a 50% chance their claims are true. This evidentiary standard is known as the “preponderance of the evidence.”

In a business dispute, there are several types of evidence that a plaintiff can use to meet their burden of proof. Generally, the kind of evidence needed depends on the type of case. For example, in an employment discrimination case, the plaintiff needs to prove discriminatory behavior. On the other hand, in a breach of contract claim, the plaintiff must prove that there was a valid contract, which the defendant failed to comply with.

When Can the Burden of Proof Shift to the Defendant in a Business Dispute?

If a defendant in a business dispute raises an affirmative defense, the burden of proof may shift to them. An affirmative defense is one that asserts that even if the plaintiff is right, the defendant is not liable or should be responsible for lesser damages or a lower amount. For instance, suppose a defendant argues that the plaintiff filed the lawsuit after the expiry of the statute of limitations. In such a case, it is up to the defendant to provide evidence to support their argument.

Get Help From a Qualified Business Litigation Attorney

A qualified business litigation attorney at SAC Attorneys LLP can help you understand the meaning of the burden of proof in business litigation. Also, if you are involved in a business dispute, we can help defend you or prove your case against the defendant. To contact us, call (408) 436-0789 or fill out our online contact form.

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