Just a few weeks ago, I commented on a recent uptick in disputes centered on the breakup of professional services firms.  In those disputes, we expect that the demands of the legal, accounting, and medical professions draw individuals with keen attention to detail, focused on documentation, and prepared for all contingencies.  Less expected is the irony that many attorneys, accountants, and medical professionals fail to bring those attributes to the table when organizing their business relationships. 

The result of that failure is a tinderbox—poorly defined “partnership” relationships, mixed with high profit margins, difficult to value businesses, and type A owners willing to litigate their disputes.  The right spark triggers bitter and hotly contested litigation.  That part-legal, part-psychological phenomenon explains why business divorces of professional services corporations—especially law firms—can get complicated fast. 

Motivated by that uptick, Becky Baek and I were pleased to recently present a CLE on the complexities that arise in the dissolution or breakup of law firms.  Here are the highlights.Continue Reading Special Considerations for Law Firm Breakups

There are plenty of advantages to practicing business divorce litigation in New York.  The diversity of businesses and clients, complexity of agreements and transactions, and excellence of judges and attorneys make New York, in my view, the place to be for commercial litigators of all stripes.

One downside is the reality that crowded dockets and busy judges sometimes results in too terse decisions from the trial and appellate courts.  At the appellate level, hundreds of pages of evidence, and nuanced, extensively briefed legal theories are sometimes reduced to a one-line decision.  Not only do those one-liners inevitably leave the parties dissatisfied, but they also miss an opportunity to lend reasoned, precedential analysis to complex and unsettled questions of law.

But in some sense, that’s where the lawyers come in.  New cases can be won or lost in the grey areas created by brief appellate authority, and the sharpest lawyers will find the precedential value in even the shortest appellate decisions.

These few paragraphs are already much longer than the Fourth Department’s recent decision affirming dismissal of a shareholder’s claim for dissolution pursuant to BCL 1104-a in Kavanaugh v Consumers Beverages, Inc., 205 NYS3d 637 (4th Dept 2024).  But in a few words, the Fourth Department packs a punch in corporate dissolution jurisprudence.Continue Reading Termination, Adequate Alternative Remedies Sends Dissolution Proceeding Packing

On the menu for this week’s New York Business Divorce: five noteworthy business divorce cases from five different states.
Continue Reading Crossing the Hudson: Recent Business Divorce Decisions from Yonder States

This week’s New York Business Divorce looks at the courts’ powers to order equitable remedies short of dissolution in judicial dissolution cases involving LLCs, featuring a highly unusual case from Mississippi.
Continue Reading The Magnolia State Wins the Prize for Novel Alternative Remedies in LLC Dissolution Cases

In this week’s New York Business Divorce, read about a multi-year litigation odyssey culminating in the statute-of-limitations dismissal of a claim for misappropriation of an alleged corporate opportunity to own land based upon the date of execution of the contract of sale rather than the closing of the real estate purchase.
Continue Reading A Litigation Odyssey

Can two contested dissolution petitions—one by each 50% shareholder based on the other’s alleged misconduct—yield a shortcut to uncontested dissolution? See what the Second Department has to say in this week’s post.
Continue Reading Dueling Dissolution Petitions Beget Dissolution Without Consideration of Alternate Remedies