Articles Tagged with business dissolution

  • New York’s BCL requires at least 50 percent of shares to petition for dissolution based on deadlock, unless there has been a failure to elect directors.

  •  The fact that a shareholders agreement required the election of two deadlocked directors was not a basis to waive the statutory requirement.

  • Parties avoid claims of wrongdoing and oppressed shareholder action that could trigger mandatory sale of minority interest.


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Judicial Dissolution Petition Requires 50 Percent Shareholder

A minority shareholder in New York will have a difficult time pursuing a claim for dissolution because of a deadlocked board of directors or a deadlock among the shareholders.  New York law permits a cause of action for judicial dissolution based on deadlock, but only by shareholders with holdings of 50 percent or greater, unless the shareholders are unable to elect directors.

The statute can be harsh in its application, as demonstrated by a trial judge’s decision to dismiss a petition for dissolution under BCL § 1104, the provision of the New York Business Corporations Law that creates a statutory cause of action for judicial dissolution. (We discuss the issue of deadlock in more detail in our series on the topic, here and here.) Continue reading

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.

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Corporate Dissolution Claims of Foreign Entities Not Proper

Corporations and other business entities are creatures of the law of the state where they were organized. Delaware and Nevada, for example, compete as the state of choice when organizing a new business entity. And the simple fact is that most of the businesses organized under Delaware or Nevada law have no operations in those states.

Does that mean that other courts are limited in the ability to grant relief in the event that litigation develops among the owners over corporate governance issues?  That was the issue in a recent decision by Chancery Judge Carroll in Lerner v. Heidenberg, BER-C-64-12 (Chancery Div. June 8, 2012).  The decision is a warning that electing to organize a company under a particular state’s law may also be a commitment to have the courts of that state resolve certain disputes if things go wrong.

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