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A claim for “usurpation of corporate opportunity” is simple to allege, but difficult to prove. Two recent cases out of the Manhattan Commercial Division and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York explore the bounds of the corporate opportunity doctrine under New York and Delaware law.
Continue Reading A Recurring Business Divorce Feature: Usurpation of Corporate Opportunity

This week’s post covers a case likely to make waves inside and outside of Delaware, where Vice Chancellor Laster explores the interplay between acts that are void ab initio and equitable defenses, and he encourages an appeal so that Delaware may reconsider its laws on the issue.
Continue Reading Magic Words Still Matter, and Equitable Defenses Can’t Save a “Void” Transfer

This week’s post considers a recent decision from New York County Commercial Division Justice Borrok, who offers well-reasoned guidance on the separateness between claims to specifically enforce a buy-sell agreement, on the one hand, and damages claims, on the other.
Continue Reading Never the Twain Shall Meet: Damages Claims Do Not Offset the Purchase Price in Buy-Sell Agreements

How does one value a law firm’s caseload at dissolution? The litigation over the dissolution of Brown Chiari LLP has already made its mark on business divorce jurisprudence. As it approaches its sixth birthday, the case continues to deliver, with Erie County Commercial Division Justice Timothy J. Walker recently authoring two notable decisions concerning a partner’s interest in the firm’s substantial caseload at the time of its dissolution.
Continue Reading Disputes Abound When Law Firms Dissolve

LLC members often enter into an operating agreement containing certain formality requirements, then exercise substantially less formality in their dealings. In those cases, the argument that a member waived his or her right to insist upon the formality requirements of the operating agreement is a familiar one. In a recent case, New York County Justice Borrok considers a party’s claim that text messages establish his 9.9% membership interest in an immensely valuable cryptocurrency business, despite admitted non-compliance with the member-admission requirements of the operating agreement. 
Continue Reading Text Messages Trump Formalities in Ownership Dispute Over Cryptocurrency Business

This week’s post considers a duo of recent decisions concerning disputes between LLC members over the terms of their operating agreement.  In the first case, the court considered whether to enforce an operating agreement as written despite evidence that the parties actually intended a different deal.  In the second, the court considered whether to enforce an operating agreement where its buyout terms were grossly unfair.  The cases’ different outcomes highlight the outer limits of the parties’ freedom of contract in LLC operating agreements. 
Continue Reading The Operating Agreement Controls, Unless Public Policy Says Otherwise

The interplay between the default rules of the LLC law and the members’ agreement sometimes gets complicated. In a duo of recent decisions from Justice Cohen, that interplay took center-stage when a majority of members invoked the default rules in an attempt to oust the managing member from authority.
Continue Reading A Two-Act Play of LLC Default Rules and Manager Removal

Shareholders considering exercising their right to inspect the corporation’s books and records–particularly in the context of a valuation proceeding under BCL 1118 or 623–would be wise to consider Justice Platkin’s recent primer on different inspection rights and their correspondingly different scopes, conditions precedent, and required justifications.
Continue Reading Justice Platkin’s Primer on Shareholders’ Inspection Rights