This week’s post considers a recent decision from New York County Commercial Division Justice Borrok, who offers well-reasoned guidance on the separateness between claims to specifically enforce a buy-sell agreement, on the one hand, and damages claims, on the other.
Continue Reading Never the Twain Shall Meet: Damages Claims Do Not Offset the Purchase Price in Buy-Sell Agreements

This week’s post considers a duo of recent decisions concerning disputes between LLC members over the terms of their operating agreement.  In the first case, the court considered whether to enforce an operating agreement as written despite evidence that the parties actually intended a different deal.  In the second, the court considered whether to enforce an operating agreement where its buyout terms were grossly unfair.  The cases’ different outcomes highlight the outer limits of the parties’ freedom of contract in LLC operating agreements. 
Continue Reading The Operating Agreement Controls, Unless Public Policy Says Otherwise

In this week’s New York Business Divorce, we tackle one of the most spectacular and well-publicized business falling-outs of modern times: Michael D. Cohen’s departure from the Trump Organization LLC, his resulting criminal conviction, and his cooperation with the Federal Government’s various investigations into activities surrounding former President Trump J. Trump. As an alleged former officer of the Trump Organization, Cohen sued the company for indemnification under its operating agreement for millions of dollars in legal fees resulting from the sprawling array of civil, administrative, and criminal proceedings against him. Learn how Cohen’s claims were resolved in this week’s New York Business Divorce.
Continue Reading The Outer Limits of LLC Indemnification: Michael Cohen v Trump Organization

In this week’s New York Business Divorce, a would-be LLC dissolution plaintiff goes down swinging on an unanswered complaint within an unopposed motion for a default judgment, just the latest example of New York courts closely scrutinizing the merits of LLC dissolution claims at the pleadings stage.
Continue Reading Swing and a Miss: Unopposed LLC Dissolution Claim Denied

The interaction between an LLC’s operating agreement and a subsequent, informal deal between the members raises difficult questions surrounding the enforceability of either agreement. In a recently-filed Manhattan Commercial Division case, the Court granted the plaintiff a preliminary injunction, signaling to the parties that the plaintiff was likely to succeed on his claim to enforce the informal deal notwithstanding arguably contrary provisions in the operating agreement. The case reminds us that the formality requirements of an LLC operating agreement may give way to an informal agreement when both LLC members manifest their intent to be bound by the informal agreement.
Continue Reading A Shotgun Buy-Sell Agreement and an Email Deal Walk into a Beachside Bar . . .

In this week’s New York Business Divorce, we tackle the rules governing enforceability of oral partnership, shareholder, and operating agreements, including a first-impression appeals court decision addressing the validity of an alleged oral modification of written limited partnership agreement under New York’s Revised Limited Partnership Act.
Continue Reading Enforceability of Oral Operating, Shareholder, and Partnership Agreements

In this week’s New York Business Divorce, we consider a remarkably thoughtful opinion by Commercial Division Justice Jennifer G. Schecter containing some noteworthy hints about the future of LLC dissolution claims in light of the coronavirus pandemic and its catastrophic economic impact on New York closely-held businesses.
Continue Reading Will the Pandemic Be a Boon for Future LLC Dissolution Claimants?

Over the last several years, the books-and-records proceeding and its corresponding shareholder rights of inspection seem to have entered a bit of renaissance period in the courts. We here at New York Business Divorce have reported on at least nine decisions primarily addressing the topic since September 2014, going on record to proclaim the phenomenon as a “boost” for the summary proceeding, by which minority owners in closely-held businesses can get a window into the management and operation of the companies from which they’ve been shut out. We’ve even gone so far as to suggest that books-and-records proceedings may be “on a roll” of late, both in terms of an expansion what constitutes a “proper purpose” for bringing the proceeding, as well as in terms of the scope of information attainable.

That trend, at least with respect to the frequency with which issues related to inspection rights are being litigated, appears to be continuing into 2018. What follows are summaries of three of this year’s more notable decisions addressing inspection rights – all from Manhattan Supreme Court, as it happens.

But first, a quick refresher on the subject matter at hand…
Continue Reading Inspection Rights, Oral Operating Agreements, and Other Pop-Diva Delights

It’s better to burn out than to fade away. But what happens when death converts an LLC interest from full membership rights to mere assignee status? Read on in this week’s New York Business Divorce.
Continue Reading Delaware Contractarian Principles Prevail in Appeal Over Deceased Ace Hotel Founder’s LLC Interest

This week’s New York Business Divorce travels upstate, to Buffalo, where a most interesting dispute between 50/50 members of a realty company has played out in litigation before Justice Timothy Walker, focusing on the rights of the non-managing member to bring a derivative summary eviction proceeding against the LLC’s sole tenant.
Continue Reading Not Your Father’s Derivative Action