Articles Posted in Dissolution

Shareholder Deadlock AttorneyIs an intractable deadlock among the shareholders good grounds to force the sale of a large, successful corporation? That was the issue before the Delaware Supreme Court in a case in which the trial court’s decision to sell the business as a going concern – over the objection of one shareholder –was affirmed by the Supreme Court.

In this case, a trial court’s ability to fashion and equitable remedy based on the circumstances of the case ran into direct conflict with the limited remedies that are available to minority shareholders under Delaware law.

Court Orders Sale of Corporation in Shareholder Deadlock

Limited liability operating agreement
It may take a unanimous action of the members of a limited liability company to dissolve the entity or to change the date on which the company will dissolve according to the terms of its operating agreement. But unless the Operating Agreement specifically requires the members to act unanimous to extend the company, a simple majority may suffice.

That was the holding of the New Hampshire Supreme Court in McDonough v. McDonough, a case in which one of the members of this family business attempted to enforce a dissolution provision in the operating agreement to force the purchase of his shares.

Limited Liability has Limited Term of Existence

Joint Venture Litigation Attorneys
A partnership has no obligation to complete performance of its executory contracts, the Texas Court of appeals held in affirming a multi-million dollar trial court verdict involving a chain of TGI Fridays in Dallas.

The case involved a joint venture formed with TGI Fridays and several entites that qualified as “disadvantaged.” The joint venture operated restaurants in four Dallas International Airport terminals from 1995, but as a result of changes in FAA regulations and disputes among the joint venture participants, the enterpise began to unravel in 2004.

The case was tried to a jury, which apportioned substantial awards of damages and attorneys fees and found that good cause existed for the dissolution of the business in that it was no longer reasonably practicable to carry on the business in conformity with its governing documents.

business litigation attorneysHere is the hard reality.  The chances that your case, or any case, will get to a real trial on the merits is way less than one in 10.  The truth is that only between two and five cases out of 100 will be resolved with a trial.

What does that mean for a party drawn into civil litigation?  The statistics point to a group of “best practices” that effective litigation counsel should employ.  It is a blend of efficient trial preparation, motion practice, management of discovery and, perhaps most of all, advanced negotiation skills.  We review some of those here as a starting point for developing a case strategy.

Civil Trials in Business Litigation is a Rare Event

LLC Member Enjoined from Competing

An LLC member breached his fiduciary duty by competing with his own company, a trial court in New York City holds in issuing an injunction against one of the principals of a successful company that makes automated parking systems.

The case involves the company that makes Parkmatic parking systems, mechanical stickers and carousels for parking cars in limited spaces. The complaint in Zacharias v. Wassef alleges that the defendant Max Wassef responded to complaints of misconduct by his partner Zacharias by forming a new company to siphon off business using the Parkmatic name.

Limited Liability Company Member Claims Unfair Competition by Manager

Oppressed Shareholder Litigation Attorney
New York’s oppressed shareholder statute has a unique provision that was initially intended to prevent the oppressed shareholder from destroying a viable business.  That is because the New York statute otherwise gives the court only two options: send the oppressed shareholder away or force the dissolution of the business.

Other states give court’s more discretion, and a judge also has the ability to force a sale of an interest.  New York’s statutory scheme, however, takes a different approach.  (See our discussion here of some of the quirks of New York’s oppressed shareholder statute:  Business Divorce New York Style.)  One of the wrinkles in the statute, however, is that once a litigant invokes the oppressed shareholder provision in Business Corporations Law § 1104-a, it’s very difficult to stop the process.

Peter Mahler’s New York Business Divorce blog reports on an decision by a trial judge in Nassau County’s commercial part who declines to allow the plaintiff to withdraw a claim under BCL 1104-a.  In that case, the plaintiff tried to get out of the substantive and procedural limitations that flow from the conclusory assertion of a claim under 1104-a.

Conflict and Negotiation Case Study: The Importance of Sincerity
One of the hardest things about being an effective negotiator is the ability to leave your ego at the door.  We need to listen, not impress.

Seasoned Negotiators, Effective Apologies

As negotiation trainer Jim Camp warns, an effective negotiator learns how to let the other side be “ok,” even when you’re not.  The fact is that no matter how well we listen, no matter how well we employ our negotiator’s tool kit to learn the real interests of the other side, we’re going to make mistakes.

Dissolution of Texas Oil Drilling Partnership
When is a partnership dissolution not a dissolution? When the partnership is not subjected to the formal dissolution procedures, even if it appears that the Court may have intended otherwise.

Express Finding of Dissolution of Partnership Required

That was the result of a split decision of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, coming some 14 years into the business divorce litigation between the partners to an oil well drilling venture, in Akuna Matata Investments Ltd. v. Texas No Limited Partnership. The Court affirmed a trial court decision terminating the partnership and awarding one of the partners a share of unpaid partnership profits.

New York | New Jersey Oppressed Shareholder Limited Liability Company atorneys
Reading through a recent court opinion out of the New York Supreme Court, I am struck by the way the law has diverged in corporate governance litigation.  There are two distinctly different approaches to the business divorce. Crossing the Hudson can make a world of difference in operating a closely held business.

Business Divorce State by State

Understanding the different approaches taken by the courts of different states is something that should be considered by business owners not just when they form the business, but as they work through the inevitable conflicts that are part of running a business.

partnership dissolution of mining company

In a case turning on an unusual provision in West Virginia partnership law, the state Supreme Court sent a partnership dissolution action back to the trial judge to determine whether the plaintiffs were actually partners of the partnership that they were trying to dissolve.

The opinion in Sugar Rock, Inc. v. Washburn (Supreme Ct. Appeals June 3, 2016) turned on a specific, and unusual, provision in West Virginia law that requires that an interest in “mining partnerships” to be in writing. The existence of a statute of frauds, however, doesn’t mean that this is not a question that arises with some frequency.

Formation of General Partnership Under RUPA

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