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New York Law Update: Shareholder Oppression and Forced Buyout (Post III)

December 1, 2016

When Piazza filed a lawsuit seeking judicial dissolution of the company based on oppression, Gioia Jr. responded that the action triggered Piazza’s obligation to sell his shares under the shareholders’ agreement.[1]  Indeed, the shareholders’ agreement provided that a judicial dissolution proceeding would be deemed a voluntary offer to sell and trigger buyout rights.  The court said, however, that such provision is not controlling “when the sale is the result of claimed majority oppression or other wrongdoing—in effect, a forced buyout.”  Under New York Business Corporations Law, there are two types of judicial dissolution proceedings—one under Section 1104 where there is corporate deadlock and another under Section 1104-a “to provide a remedy to minority shareholders who have suffered abuse at the hands of the majority and lacked a means for salvaging the value of their investment.”  For a shareholder agreement to trigger buyout rights, as Gioia Jr.… Read the rest

New York Law Update: Shareholder Oppression and Forced Buyout (Post II)

November 29, 2016

In Piazza v. Gioia,[1] Piazza and Gioia Sr. founded Kings County Waterproofing Corp. (KCWC) in 1979 and held 40% and 60% of the shares, respectively.  Gioia Sr.’s son also worked for the company eventually became a 1/3 owner, along with his father and Piazza.  Their shareholders’ agreement contained stock transfer restrictions and buyout provisions, which, among other things, gave the non-selling shareholder an option to purchase the selling shareholder’s shares at “the last stipulated price preceding the date of the notice to sell the shares.”  In 1996, Gioia Sr.… Read the rest

New York Law Update: Shareholder Oppression and Forced Buyout (Post I)

November 22, 2016

We write frequently about minority shareholder rights.  Really frequently.  We previously talked about Ritchie v. Rupe, a Texas Supreme Court case that made it harder for minority shareholders to bring lawsuits based on oppressive conduct by majority shareholders (see here).  We also discussed Bontempo v. Lare (available here), a Maryland case on remedies for shareholder oppression, which, in addition to dissolution, recognized equitable remedies, and Sneed v. Webre (available here), another Texas case, which held that the business judgment rule does not prevent minority shareholders of a closely held corporation from bringing a lawsuit on behalf of the corporation over the board’s objection. … Read the rest

When Things Fall Apart: Business Partnership, Disagreement, and Dissolution (Part IV)

September 8, 2016

In Mizrahi v. Cohen,[1] a dentist and an optometrist formed a limited liability company for the purpose of the construction and operation of a mixed-use building in which they intended to set up their respective offices.  The two did not have an LLC agreement at the time they formed the LLC; it was executed a few months later when they purchased the land.  The lender required an LLC agreement and the attorney who represented both members at the closing drafted an LLC agreement. … Read the rest

When Things Fall Apart: Business Partnership, Disagreement, and Dissolution (Part III)

September 6, 2016

In Saunders v. Firtel, as in Cline v. Grelock, the two business partners were close friends.[1]  Firtel was the sole owner of a pharmaceutical sales corporation called Adco and Saunders was a sales representative for a medical supply company.  In 1986, the two decided to enter into a formal business relationship by allowing Saunders to obtain a 49% shareholder interest in Adco and to become an employee of the company.  Their written agreement provided that both would devote their time and efforts to the business and receive an equal combination of compensation and fringe benefits but also allowed Firtel to spend considerable time away and apart from the business. … Read the rest

When Things Fall Apart: Business Partnership, Disagreement, and Dissolution (Part I)

August 23, 2016

Here at The R. Shawn McBride Law Firm, PLLC, we write and speak frequently on business partnership, especially the 4 Ds (death, disability, divorce, and disagreement), which can have a major impact on businesses.  In our previous blog series on business divorce, for example, we talked about why business partners may disagree, describing some instances of conflict that business owners may encounter, and what they can do to protect themselves and the value of their business in the event of a business break-up and the attendant business disruption. … Read the rest

Shawn McBride Talks About Business Partnership in a Podcast Interview with My Time Is Now

June 21, 2016

What’s Love Got To Do with Business Partnerships and Business Laws.

On June 21, 2016, Shawn will be featured in a podcast interview with Charlene Gilman, a producer of a weekly podcast titled “My Time Is Now” that airs every Tuesday with a worldwide audience covering United States, South Africa, and Australia.  In this interview, Shawn talks about how business partnerships can quickly go sideways when business laws are ignored during business changes and shares some tips on keeping business partnerships healthy and successful. … Read the rest

Maryland Law Update: Minority Shareholder Rights

September 5, 2015

Bontempo v. Lare.

In February 2000, Bontempo joined a company founded by the Lares, his former colleague and his wife, as a minority shareholder and employee.[1]  The arrangement was later formalized to a certain extent in the form of an attachment to the stockholders agreement, which, as it turned out, inadequately memorialized the parties’ understanding as to the terms of Bontempo’s employment and ownership.[2]  Over the years, the company grew and the relationship between the parties soured.  The Lares, on one hand, became dissatisfied with Bontempo’s commitment to the business and cut his salary; Bontempo, on the other hand, was concerned that the Lares were taking distributions as shareholders without notifying or providing him with his proportionate shares.… Read the rest

All postings are intended to be planning tools to familiarize readers with some of the high-level issues discussed therein. No posting is intended to be a comprehensive discussion and additional details should be discussed with your transaction planners including attorneys, accountants, consultants, bankers and other business planners who can provide advice for your circumstances. This article should not be treated as legal advice to any person or entity.