Whether you are starting your own business with other people or joining an established business as a new owner, one of the best ways to avoid future disputes with your fellow owners is to agree up front on the parties various ownership rights, how the company should be managed and how profits and losses should be allocated.  Agreeing on these terms up front can often times eliminate misunderstandings or assumptions the parties may have had when the business was being formed and help avoid future disputes before they happen.  Moreover, having a well written, comprehensive partnership or operating agreement can make it much easier to resolve disputes if and when they arise.

Regardless of everyone’s best efforts up front, however, disputes do sometimes arise between owners of a business.  Whether you are a partner in a partnership, a shareholder of a corporation or a member of a limited liability company, our attorneys can help you resolve disputes that you may have with the other owners of your business.  These can involve disputes over who has the right to make final decisions on the business’s behalf, how expenses and profits should be allocated among the owners and the various owner’s respective rights under the agreements governing the management of the business.  In addition to the express obligations set forth in the agreements governing the business, there may be statutory provisions applicable to the running of the company as well as minority rights due and owing to a minority owner.  Ohio law also provides that owners of a business may owe each other a fiduciary duty under certain circumstances.  Our attorneys have experience handling these type of disputes in both in state and federal court or through arbitration.

Litigation between business owners can be extremely complicated.  Not only can they involve interpretation of the governing agreements, applicable statutory provisions and common law concepts involving fiduciary duty, they often times require other professionals, such as forensic accountants, to examine how company funds have been spent and whether any of the owners’ rights to those funds have been violated.  Our lawyers have experience litigating these complex matters and have relationships with numerous professionals who can assist you in determining whether you have been dealt with fairly by the other owners of your business.

Contact Dworken & Bernstein’s Partnership and Shareholder Disputes practice group today for more information on how our attorneys can help with all of your legal needs.

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