Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, P.A.

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majority shareholder

Oct 16, 2017

Misunderstandings Among Owners Can Lead To Business Divorce Litigation

One of the most common reasons for a minority shareholder to file “business divorce litigation” is because that minority owner feels left out, pushed out, squeezed out – simply not part of the process in any significant way.  Quite often, the minority owner is pushed out for a reason that is not entirely unjustified.  But just as often, these feelings are the result of a misunderstanding that has spiraled out of control.» Read More

May 23, 2017

Minority Shareholder Oppression Damages in New Jersey: More Than Just a Buyout?

As I have said many times in this blog, when minority shareholder oppression occurs, the most likely remedy is a buyout.  In other words, courts in New Jersey have the power to compel the majority shareholder to pay “fair value” to an oppressed minority shareholder so the victim of wrongdoing is not forced to remain captive as a shareholder in a company that is treating him improperly. » Read More

Apr 28, 2017

Trust But Verify Regarding Financial Information

Minority owners of closely-held corporations (in New Jersey) often put themselves in a position where they are cut off from access to the company’s books and records.  When that happens, several things can occur, and few of them are good.

For example, majority shareholders who have unfettered access to the company’s finances often abuse their power by granting themselves impermissible benefits that are not related to their employment by the company, and are not proportionately shared with the minority shareholders. » Read More

Mar 28, 2017

What If I Was Doing The Same Thing I Now Want to Sue Over?

Many clients ask at the start of a business divorce lawsuit, “Is it fatal to a shareholder oppression claim if I was doing some of the same things that the majority owners are doing that I am now complaining about?”  As often happens when it comes to a nuanced legal analysis under New Jersey law, the answer is, “It depends.”

For example, suppose you are a one-third shareholder, and the other one-third shareholders collectively run and control the business operations, especially the finances. » Read More

Feb 13, 2017

Termination of Employment as Minority Shareholder Oppression

A common theme among minority shareholders seeking legal representation is termination of employment.  Readers of this blog may be aware that termination can often constitute minority shareholder oppression, warranting a remedy such as a court-ordered buyout.  But, unfortunately, not all terminations are equal, as not all terminations constitute oppression.

The key to whether termination of employment amounts to minority shareholder oppression is what the court calls the “reasonable expectations” of the employee/shareholder. » Read More

Jan 26, 2017

Many Discovery Tools Exist To Find Emails To Prove Shareholder Oppression

I have noted many times on this blog that emails often prove shareholder oppression cases.  It can be fairly easy for majority shareholders who are careful, and seek legal advise beforehand, to mask their true intent when attempting to “freeze out” a minority shareholder.  For example, when the majority shareholders set their salary and bonus at a rate the minority shareholder thinks is outrageously high (ensuring there is no money to distribute to shareholders at the end of the year), they could do so firmly believing that they are paying themselves a fair salary. » Read More

Jan 17, 2014

Get out of That New Jersey LLC before the Law Changes?

In my last post, I wrote about the fact that your right to simply withdraw from a New Jersey LLC and be paid fair market value for your shares – provided the Operating Agreement does not prohibit this – is being eliminated on March 1, 2014.  Many readers of that post have contacted me, hoping there was a way to extend that deadline. » Read More

Jul 11, 2013

Make Sure Majority Shareholders Never Feel As If They Are Not Being Watched

Minority shareholders often do not work at the company, and are not involved in management, making them, for lack of a better word, “passive investors.”  While no broad rule can ever be applied to everyone, it is these types of minority shareholders who are the most vulnerable to abuse by the majority shareholders.

The easiest way for a passive minority shareholder to be abused is for the majority shareholders to keep increasing their salaries and bonuses to the point that they are significantly above market rates. » Read More

May 28, 2013

Ability to Access Financial Info Is Broader in Practice than Law Technically Provides

Shareholder disputes often arise because of a lack of information being disclosed by the majority to the minority shareholders.  In New Jersey, there are limitations as to what financial documents must be shared with minority shareholders.  However, most of the time business owners believe that their business partners should share more information than the bare minimum dictated by law.

A common tactic employed by majority shareholders who do not want to disclose any more financial information than required, yet want to stave off a minority shareholder lawsuit, is to provide a “slow drip” of information. » Read More

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