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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

In a case featuring your authors as counsel for the prevailing parties, NY County Commercial Division Justice Robert Reed enforces the buy-sell provision of a corporation’s shareholders agreement triggered by the shareholders’ petition for dissolution.
Continue Reading Look Before You Leap: Buy-Sell Agreements Triggered by a Petition for Dissolution

Preliminary injunctions are a powerful tool in the business divorce litigator’s toolbox, and they often involve a race to the courthouse. This week’s post offers a reminder that sometimes, that race is critical; courts will be more inclined to preserve the status quo with a preliminary injunction than to undo action with one. 
Continue Reading Too Little, Too Late: Court Sides with Ousted Member, but Denies Preliminary Injunction Undoing Termination

A corporation and a dissident shareholder enter into agreement where the dissident shareholder agrees to receive regular payments in exchange for staying away from the Company’s business. What happens when the outspoken shareholder dies? In Stile v C-Air Customhouse Brokers-Forwards, Inc., Index No. 656575/2020 [Sup Ct, New York County 2021], the New York County Supreme Court declined to dismiss a suit by the estate of a shareholder subject to a stay away settlement agreement on the grounds that the stay away obligations did not expressly apply to the shareholder’s successors.
Continue Reading Stay Away Settlement Between Closely-Held Corporation and Dissident Shareholder Goes Away Upon Shareholder’s Death

When valuing an owner’s interest in a closely-held company, the calculation and applicability of a discount for lack of marketability is among the most fertile grounds for sharp disagreement. One open question: should the DLOM account for any contractual restrictions on a controlling owner’s ability to transfer his or her control?
Continue Reading Fueling the DLOM Debate: Control Transfer Restrictions and the Discount for Lack of Marketability

In a decision of apparent first impression last month, Justice Nancy Bannon of the Manhattan Supreme Court issued an injunction against the holding of a corporate election under BCL § 619. Minority shareholders facing an anticipated election called by a rival majority would be wise to consider the roadmap to injunctive relief charted by the plaintiffs here. 
Continue Reading Stop the Vote: Injunction Halts Shareholders Meeting Pursuant to Courts’ Broad Power to Review Corporate Elections

If man’s first sin was eating the apple, a business valuator’s greatest sin is mixing apples and oranges. In Dieckman v. Regency GP, LP, Chancellor Bouchard denied the Plaintiff’s bid for $1.6 billion in damages, even after finding that the defendant general partner breached the partnership agreement’s implied duty of good faith and fair dealing.  The decision rests on Chancellor Bouchard’s complete rejection of Plaintiff’s damages calculation on the grounds that it was akin to “comparing apples to oranges.”
Continue Reading General Partner Breached Implied Covenants in Partnership Agreement, but Plaintiff’s “Apples-to-Oranges” Calculation Dooms Bid for Damages

The interaction between an LLC’s operating agreement and a subsequent, informal deal between the members raises difficult questions surrounding the enforceability of either agreement. In a recently-filed Manhattan Commercial Division case, the Court granted the plaintiff a preliminary injunction, signaling to the parties that the plaintiff was likely to succeed on his claim to enforce the informal deal notwithstanding arguably contrary provisions in the operating agreement. The case reminds us that the formality requirements of an LLC operating agreement may give way to an informal agreement when both LLC members manifest their intent to be bound by the informal agreement.
Continue Reading A Shotgun Buy-Sell Agreement and an Email Deal Walk into a Beachside Bar . . .