It is not unusual that a dispute between the owners of a closely held business also involves a dispute about the authority of one of the owners to act as agent for the entity. We had a recent case, for example, in which a central issue was whether the manager of a limited liability company exercised his business discretion in a way that was in the best interests of the business.
Once that dispute was on the table, we had to look at whether the manager had express or implied authority to act — in this case to hire a third party — and whether that exercise of authority was within the scope of the generally delegated authority provided to the manager by the operating agreement, or required an affirmative vote of the owners.
Professor Douglas Moll, writing on the law professors blog, parses the issues nicely under the most recent iteration of the Uniform Partnership Act, which has been widely adopted by state legislatures. For Professor Moll, the question of authority turns on the extent to which an ordinary business transaction is involved.