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Resolving Business Ownership and Management Disputes

Operating a business always carries the risk of running into legal problems, and they don’t always involve outsiders. Disputes can arise among co-owners and/or executives and managers, which can threaten or cause harm to the business just as much as outside forces. It is vital to timely detect potential problems that could be seeds of disaster and to take early action to resolve them.

Some of the more contentious scenarios that arise within Florida corporations, LLCs and partnerships include:

  • Conflicts between majority and minority shareholders
  • Different views on the amount of control each party has or should have
  • Diverting earnings to majority owners through excessive compensation
  • Business owners acting in ways that contradict formation and governance documents
  • Owners or managers charging the company for expenses
  • Disagreements regarding merger and acquisition strategies
  • Disputes concerning long-term goals and overall direction of the business
  • Arguments regarding profit sharing
  • Disputes arising from lopsided workloads
  • Contingency and succession planning issues
  • Disputes over buyouts of an owner who withdraws or is ousted
  • Terms for dissolution of the company and paying out ownership shares

When internal disputes arise, it is important to pursue all reasonable alternatives to litigation. Corporate litigation is expensive and can end relationships that might be salvageable. Staying out of court helps the parties focus on constructive solutions and find grounds for compromise that could ultimately save the company from financial ruin.

Companies have foundational documents that govern the co-owners’ rights and responsibilities, such as corporate bylaws, partnership agreements, shareholder agreements and LLC operating agreements. These documents, if well-drafted, will include procedures for resolving internal disputes, including terms for buyouts of departing owners. When the parties are somewhat open to the views of their fellow owners or managers, these documents will guide negotiation or mediation efforts. If the conflict ends up in court, the judge’s interpretation of the documents will in large part govern the outcome.

Depending on which side of an internal dispute you are on, you may not be able to rely on the company’s general counsel for legal advice. When hiring an attorney, it is important that they can tailor their approach to fit the unique situation you’re facing. You may need a hard-charging litigator or someone who can act as an effective negotiator to help you work out your differences, either through mediation or in a different forum.

H. Clay Parker, Esq. has been helping Central Florida business owners and managers resolve disputes for decades. We search for cost-effective out-of-court solutions whenever possible but are always prepared to assert our client’s rights through litigation. To speak with our Orlando business lawyer, please call 407-216-2504 or contact us online anytime.

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  • Orlando Office
    501 N. Magnolia Ave
    Orlando, Florida 32801
    Phone: 407-894-8440
    Fax: 407-894-0400
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"My job is to maximize the economic outcome in a legal setting, while advancing your legal rights and cause." Attorney H. Clay Parker IV