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

In a split 3-2 decision last week, the Appellate Division, First Department, affirmed an order dismissing a claim to enforce an oral buy-out agreement involving a Delaware LLC as barred by the merger clause in a subsequently amended operating agreement that the plaintiff never signed. Read about it in this week’s New York Business Divorce.
Continue Reading New York Appellate Court’s Split Decision Involving Delaware LLC Pits “Harsh” Contractarianism Against “Fundamental Fairness”

When a closely-held business is profitable, self-interested owners naturally want a bigger slice of the pie, especially where the personal relationships among the owners are frayed.  Perhaps that’s why we often discuss the value of freeze-out mergers as a mechanism for those in control of a closely-held corporation or limited liability company to squeeze a minority owner out of the business’ future profits. 

Equity dilution is another common method by which those in control of a corporation or LLC attempt to squeeze out a minority owner.  For one, stock dilution impairs the minority owner’s ability to influence company action by voting his shares, and it lessens the owner’s right to participate pari passu in the distributions or dividends of the company.  Perhaps more importantly, a minority owner can see his or her ownership interest diluted below certain critical thresholds—for instance, the 20% ownership required to petition for dissolution under BCL 1104-a.

Despite the potentially drastic consequences of stock dilution, many closely-held businesses we encounter fail to adequately address the issue of dilution in their governing documents.  And New York caselaw on the issue leaves plenty to be desired.  Let’s interpret those factors as an invitation to review the basics, key caselaw, and the current status of the improper dilution claim.Continue Reading Let’s Talk About Dilution

This week’s New York Business Divorce presents a retrospective assessment of the state of New York law concerning LLC business divorce, including summaries of the most significant court decisions, adapted from a recent presentation at the Eileen Bransten Institute on Complex Commercial Litigation.
Continue Reading New York LLC Caselaw’s Greatest Hits

This week’s New York Business Divorce offers a trifecta of sorts, offering summaries of three recent decisions, one involving an LLC, another a partnership, and another a close corporation.
Continue Reading Recent Decisions Enforce LLC Member’s Right of First Refusal, Restrict Partnership Accounting, and Allow Damages Claim for Breach of Oral Shareholders Agreement

In this week’s New York Business Divorce, read about a new decision from New York County Commercial Division Justice Andrea J. Masley addressing an important, unresolved question of New York law: whether, and if so, to what extent, do minority LLC members owe fiduciary duties?
Continue Reading Do Non-Manager, Minority LLC Owners Owe Fiduciary Duties?