General purpose for cease and desist letter

They say actions speak loud than words, but this is not always the case. In the case of illegal activity, it all begins with a letter. This may or may not be enough. Read about the what a Cease and Desist letter is and why sending even just one of these may be enough to put a stop to unwanted activity by another party.

What is a cease and desist letter?

A cease and desist letter is a clear and formal request that a business, individual or party stop a potentially “illegal” activity immediately or risk further legal action to put an end to this allegedly illegal activity. The behavior itself can be offensive, violating a company’s clauses or an individual’s rights simply be interfering with the sending party’s ability to conduct themselves or their businesses in a way that is allowed by law. Essentially, it is a formal demand that is based on the claim (within the letter) that the action or behavior is illegal and that the sender as a legal right to do something about it. Cease and desist letters are usually full of case citations and examples, past simply stating all instances and details of the violations. These citations are intended to set a precedent and act like a kind of warning shot, essentially trying to convince the receiver that they are right on the law with this formal demand.

What it doesn’t cover

A cease and desist letter is not legally binding. It is also not a guarantee of an incoming suit. A receiver should carefully outline what the violation concerns and what the area of law is that the violation falls under, before consulting a lawyer that specializes in that field. It’s possible to use a general purpose cease and desist letter, especially if the recipient is another individual who may not be a legal expert themselves. But cease and desist letters are usually written [i]for[/i] lawyers and there are certain elements that have to exist in order to show that there is an actual claim that can be justified and substantiated.

What the cease and desist letter exists for is to commence legal action but not necessarily take it. More often than not, neither party wants to actually go through the rigmarole of actually going to court. If the party receiving the letter has a legal expert on hand, they can always choose to countersue and fire back with a “writ” of their own. If the sending party really does intend to follow through with legal action, their best case scenario might be bringing both parties to the table to negotiate the terms of a settlement. However, a well-crafted cease and desist letter can hopefully prevent such action.