The concept of fair play hopefully is something we all have learned in school or at home. But when it comes to business, the dominant concept is competition. In the free market world we have in Louisiana and the rest of the U.S., nearly any practice might be deemed to be OK as long as it gives you an edge over the competition and consumers benefit.
But markets aren't quite as open as many might like to think. There are federal, state and local fair trade laws that need to be complied with. And, of course, there is the entire area of contracts that seek to document the expectations of any business relationship. If they work as they should, they provide through which all involved parties can hold each other accountable.
Because of the competitive nature of business, we think many would agree that it is fair to say that paranoia is something that goes with the territory. In order to be successful, an entrepreneur has to be pragmatic about the threats posed by competitors.
When violations of agreements or antitrust laws are suspected, litigation may be called for. But very often there are other, less aggressive options available for resolving disputes. Whether the conflicts pit business partners against each other, management against employees, or the threats come from outside -- from competitors, suppliers or customers -- it's important to be fully aware of all the possible strategies for protecting the business.
Ultimately, the protection of business may depend on knowing where threats might come from and having plans for how to respond. And to do that, you should turn to capable legal counsel.