Because termination of one’s employment does not necessarily equate to shareholder oppression under New Jersey law, as seen in my last post, it is often a good idea to take proactive measures to inoculate yourself against a termination that leaves you in the company as a shareholder, but not as an employee. This is especially critical if you have invested your own money, since an adverse result in a shareholder oppression litigation would leave your shares held hostage by the majority shareholders, essentially allowing the majority to use your capital in a manner over which you have little or no control.» Read More
Many times, two 50% owners possess different areas of expertise and separate spheres of influence. For example, it is not uncommon for one business partner to be in charge of sales, with the other in charge of finances. Because of this, one person often has more contacts than the other. Presumably, but not necessarily, the shareholder in charge of sales will have more customer contacts than the one who runs the front office.» Read More
As many of you have read here before, the New Jersey Limited Liability Company Act now includes recovery for minority member oppression. Those remedies cannot be waived, as a matter of law. However, the parties to an LLC’s operating agreement (or a corporation’s shareholder agreement) can agree to an alternate dispute resolution (“ADR”) mechanism in advance, impacting the forum in which these issues will be decided.» Read More
Many business owners involved in shareholder dispute litigation wish they could go back in time and rewrite their shareholder agreement. Unfortunately, it is often during expensive, protracted litigation with your business partner that you learn how your shareholder agreement could have been drafted to save you a costly lawsuit, or at least alter the course of that lawsuit.
For example, in one recent case, the Court wound up appointing what is called a “Provisional Director” to break ties between two fifty/fifty owners of a subchapter S corporation. » Read More