nu•cle•ar op•tion (noun): the most drastic or extreme response possible to a particular situation

The litigation arsenal of business divorce lawyers contains weapons of varying firepower. The choice of weapon for any particular assignment will depend on many factors including the type and size of the business; whether the client is a controlling or non-controlling owner; the nature of the dispute; the form of the business entity (LLC, close corporation, partnership); the character and magnitude of the adverse owner’s complained-of actions and whether the claimed injury is to the owner directly or derivatively; the likelihood or not of reconciling the co-owners’ differences; the impact of litigation on the company’s business and employees; the client’s time horizon and ability to finance the litigation; and the client’s ultimate divorce preference, be it selling the company or its assets on the open market, buying out the other owner, being bought out, or dividing the company’s assets when possible.

The Books and Records Proceeding

The basic weapons in the arsenal are threefold, the lowest caliber one being a lawsuit by a non-controlling owner to compel access to company books and records that the controlling owner refuses to make available. This weapon is designed to gather information of managerial and financial abuse by the controlling owner that, in a best case scenario for its wielder, provides ammunition for a negotiated outcome without necessarily having to air, much less prove in a public forum, specific allegations of malfeasance by the controller. When handled properly, it can be a relatively simple, expeditious, and cost-effective exercise. Continue Reading Judicial Dissolution as the Nuclear Option When Other Means Falter