The lesson of the case highlighted in this week’s New York Business Divorce is simple: Don’t file for dissolution under the shareholder oppression and looting statute unless you’re prepared for the opposing shareholders to elect to purchase your shares for fair value, because you may not be able to walk it back.
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New York’s statutes authorizing a judicial dissolution petition by oppressed minority shareholders, and granting respondents a corresponding right to elect to purchase the petitioner’s shares, include a provision for a “surcharge” upon controlling shareholders for wrongful dissipation or transfer of corporate assets. It’s a rarely litigated provision, as evidenced by a court decision last month which may be the first ever reported case in which a surcharge claim was upheld. Learn more in this week’s New York Business Divorce.
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The LLC majority members in Bonanni v. Horizons Investors Corp., were ordered to pay the piper in a post-trial decision earlier this month by Justice Elizabeth Emerson in a 10-year old case, finding that they had converted the plaintiff’s minority membership interest. It’s in this week’s New York Business Divorce.
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A very interesting decision earlier this month by Justice Eileen Bransten in Doppelt v. Smith addressed whether a minority limited partner’s right to seek judicial dissolution was preempted by the partnership agreement’s provision authorizing dissolution upon the consent of a majority of the limited partnership interests. Read more in this week’s New York Business Divorce.
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A shareholder dispute spanning seven years of litigation in New York and Delaware came to an end last week with the latter state’s highest court’s refusal to rehear the case. This week’s New York Business Divorce highlights two of the many issues raised along the way: whether Delaware law recognizes a common-law claim for minority shareholder oppression, and the validity of a reverse stock split and cash-out of the minority shareholder that deprived her of standing to pursue derivative claims.
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