Stock Transfer Restrictions

In a rare dissolution decision from the New York Surrogate’s Court – a court for the affairs of the deceased – the court declines to kill off a clothing business based upon a claim of oppression brought by the estate of the former minority shareholder. Read about it in this week’s New York Business Divorce.
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The LLC freeze-out merger has been referred to by one scholar as “hidden statutory expulsion.” In a decision last month featured in this week’s New York Business Divorce, Manhattan Commercial Division Justice Charles Ramos refused to enjoin a freeze-out merger challenged by minority members of an LLC who claimed that it violated the LLC’s operating agreement.
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Stock transfer restrictions in closely held corporations are routinely upheld by courts. So are increases in authorized shares that treat existing shareholders uniformly. But sometimes, as in the case highlighted in this week’s New York Business Divorce, the combined effect of the two may breach duties owed by controllers to the minority.
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Does an LLC subscription agreement, barring transfer of “any interest therein,” bar the later transfer of the acquired membership interest? The answer, recently provided by a Manhattan appellate panel in Gartner v. Cardio Ventures, LLC, is discussed in this week’s New York Business Divorce.
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“I’ll sell you my shares, but you’ll have to take my job, too.” That’s the upshot of a recent decision by Commercial Division Justice Elizabeth H. Emerson, holding that a right of first refusal in a shareholders’ agreement required any third-party buyer to assume the selling shareholder’s job responsibilities, and on that basis invalidating a minority shareholder’s attempt to sell his shares to his father. Learn more in this week’s New York Business Divorce.

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Justice David Schmidt of the Kings County Commercial Division issued a decision last week holding that, absent stock transfer restrictions in the shareholders’ agreement, a close corporation shareholder has no fiduciary duty requiring that the shares of a departing shareholder be offered pari passu to the remaining shareholders. Get the details in this week’s New York Business Divorce.

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