Business Owner Disputes
A BUSINESS DIVORCE IS NOT A PRETTY SIGHT
FOCUS ON THE ECONOMIC VALUE IN THE DISPUTE
Since the ultimate purpose of a company is to make money, it makes sense to think carefully about the economic costs and benefit to any dispute between the owners. Will the attorney fees dwarf the potential recovery? Worse, will the dispute end up putting the company you are fighting for out of business? There are absolutely times when filing a lawsuit is necessary to stop bad behavior or protect the company from raiders. But, often times, prompt and smart corporate action or a sensible deal can resolve a dispute for less money and less demage.
RECOGNIZE DIFFERENT KINDS OF VALUE
We recognize that the dollars at stake today in a particular dispute are important, but sometimes owners need to look further into the future to properly understand what to value and what to fight for. Resolving a single case might make sense in a vacuum, but if it has the result of encouraging more disputes, maybe it should be litigated. Business owners not only have a stake in the company, but also in the contacts, relationships, and customers outside of the business.
And, ultimately, if you founded a business with your own blood, sweat, and tears, then you may have a strong and justified attachment to the company yourself. This, too, has value. Lawyers at the Firm will strive to understand if there is a non-economic aspect to the dispute and, if so, help you quantify the importance of this value so you can still make sensible decisions about the dispute.
NAVIGATING THE COMPLEX ISSUES IN BUSINESS LAW
A business may not have a birthday, but it is a person in the eyes of the law. This has many implications which lead to complexities that can easily cause trouble for those not familiar with them. If your business partner is stealing from the company, for example, it may not be your claim to bring directly. You might, instead, have to act in the name of the company either through the board or, if you are in the minority, through a derivative claim. This requires careful action to comply with the rules surrounding such actions. Even as a minority owner, moreover, you may have rights guaranteed by Colorado law including the right to review corporate records. A proper request should not only be able to help you shed light on the problems with the company, but can also give rise to strong remedies if the majority ownership disregards their obligations.
CREATIVE SOLUTIONS TO DIFFICULT PROBLEMS
While the Firm is capable of simply prosecuting a lawsuit against wrong doers in a business context, we are also always on the lookout for creative solutions to cut the dispute short. From buyouts to divisions to license agreements, the only limit to the way business owners can resolve their differences is the creativity of the people involved. You may have formed the business together – if you can’t work together anymore, you can find a way to untangle it, too.
FIGHTING FOR OPPRESSESED SHAREHOLDERS AND MEMBERS
For as much as we strives to find sensible solutions to business problems, sometimes oppression leads to a lawsuit or arbitration as the only solution. If you are the minority owner or if the other owners and directors are refusing to acknowledge your voice, vote, and control, you may be subject to shareholder or member oppression. Where an owner who used to have a voice and a vote suddenly is forced out of all participation in the business, we refer to this as a “freeze out” or a “squeeze out”. The Firm is capable of fighting vigorously for the owners’ rights if this happens. Colorado law imposes many duties on the controlling owners of a company. Depending on your corporate documents, an oppressed minority may have claims for breach of fiduciary duty or otherwise.