When business co-owners and partnerships enter into their business venture, they typically see eye-to-eye about the obligations that each owner has relating to control, intellectual property, capital contributions, buy-outs, operations, and how to best grow the company. Minority shareholders feel protected despite their minority status and 50-50 partnerships feel safe and long-lasting. Family members, close friends, and neighbors often go into business together, creating an added sense of security and no one is worried about shareholder disputes.
However, as businesses grow, disagreements are sometimes inevitable. Majority owners may want more of a successful company for themselves. 51-49 owners may seek to take control over all decision making. Minority owners who held employment status with the company may be let go or forced to accept unfair proportions of compensation. Closely-held business shareholder disputes can threaten a company’s health and growth.
Our business litigation attorneys have handled shareholder disputes relating to:
- Enforcing operating agreements and articles of incorporation.
- Fiduciary duties and obligations of officers and managers.
- Issues with “sweat equity,” where one owner is working and others are not.
- Conflicts of interest and self-dealing.
- Forced buyouts and freeze-outs
- Policies and procedures of corporate governance.
- Dissolution and issues with non-competition, trade secrets, and intellectual property.
- Failure to pay dividends or distributions or reasonable compensation to minority shareholders
The firm can be creative with regard to fee structures with shareholder disputes and minority shareholder clients. We can handle cases hourly or can reduce our fee in order to obtain a partial contingency in the amount recovered. We are willing to work with you to ensure that you have the ability to pursue a fair outcome. Our firm also gives free consultations for business shareholder cases. If you are having an issue with a co-owner or partner, we may be able to help.