Normally you don’t associate the lucrative sale of a closely held business with bitter disputes among the co-owners leading to judicial dissolution proceedings. When the cake is big enough, the thinking goes, each owner walks away sated with their own, generous slice.
But if I’ve learned anything as a business divorce lawyer, it’s that when it comes to family-owned businesses, there’s no normal. Take Hanley v Hanley, 2019 NY Slip Op 50970(U) [Sup Ct Albany County June 13, 2019], in which Justice Richard M. Platkin of the Albany County Commercial Division ordered the parties to confer regarding the use of early mediation after denying a motion to dismiss a judicial dissolution petition brought following the sale of the family business to a strategic buyer in a highly lucrative deal.
The Hanley siblings co-founded with their father a successful truck driving school organized as a New York corporation with its principal place of business in Florida. The business, known as The Commercial Driver’s License School, Inc. (CDL School), started in 1991 with the father as majority owner. Eventually, the three siblings came to own 100% of the stock: Albert 50%; Andrea 25%; Michael 25%.
CDL School built its growth and profitability in large part on contracts with the military to train service members on military bases. Continue Reading Siblings Battle Over Spoils from Sale of Family-Owned Business