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

In this week’s New York Business Divorce, read about the history and development of case law in New York over the past 25 years holding potentially void as against public policy provisions in partnership, shareholders, and operating agreements barring closely-held business owners from petitioning courts to dissolve the entity.
Continue Reading Anti-Dissolution Provisions and Public Policy

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

In this week’s New York Business Divorce, we consider a recurring problem with LLC operating agreements: enforceability of the writing when it is unexecuted or partially executed. A growing body of case law finds such agreements at least potentially enforceable absent an expression of intent to the contrary. Read about that issue, and related issues of due execution of operating agreements, in this week’s New York Business Divorce.
Continue Reading Cooked or Raw? Enforceability of Partly Signed Operating Agreements

The Court of Appeals’ decision in Pappas v. Tzolis was one of three opinions by that court in 2011-12 that reset the bargaining table when controlling owners of closely held companies buy out minority equity holders. A ruling earlier this year by the Appellate Division, First Department, involved a shareholder dispute with an interesting twist on the fact pattern in Pappas. Find out more in this week’s New York Business Divorce.
Continue Reading Appellate Ruling Puts Pappas v. Tzolis to the Test

Buy-out litigations don’t get much more interesting than the ongoing battle in the Yakuel v Gluck case making its second appearance on this blog. In this phase, the court decides whether an arbitrator could recalculate an appraisal award as damages for breach of the appraisal process where the parties’ agreement called for a “final and binding” valuation by the appraiser.
Continue Reading Who Decides Disputed Valuation Under LLC Agreement’s Buy-Out Provision: Arbitrator or Appraiser?

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 . . .

Defying my recent lamentation on the dearth of cases involving buy-out disputes where the buyer doesn’t disclose to the seller an outside offer for the entity’s assets at a much higher value, this week’s New York Business Divorce examines yet another such case with some interesting twists on the usual fact pattern.
Continue Reading Re-Revisiting The Duty to Disclose Third-Party Offers Amidst Buy-Out Negotiations

This week’s New York Business Divorce examines a recent decision in a lawsuit stemming from a buyout between the two members of a single-asset realty-holding LLC based on a $1.9 million valuation of the LLC’s realty followed one month later by a sale of the realty to a third-party buyer for $2.9 million.
Continue Reading The Duty to Disclose Third-Party Offers Amidst Buy-Out Negotiations, Revisited

Can a shotgun turn into a minefield? The answer is “yes” judging from a recent decision by Manhattan Commercial Division Justice Andrew Borrok finding a defective exercise of provisions in an LLC agreement for a deadlock-triggered shotgun buy-out. Read about it in this week’s New York Business Divorce.
Continue Reading LLC Member Pays the Price For Not Sticking to Deadlock-Breaking Script