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When business partners have a falling out

On Behalf of | Oct 8, 2021 | Commercial Litigation |

In Louisiana and across the nation, many successful businesses are based on partnerships. People join forces with their individual skills and talent to cobble together a unique and effective strategy and sell their idea or creation. That could be in any endeavor like the technological industry, medicine, apparel, law, food service and much more. While it might seem like a romantic ideal for business partners to be close and have each other’s interests in mind, the reality is that these partnerships are frequently business arrangements. That means that the business takes precedence and personalities do not matter when problems need to be ironed out.

Of course, in some case, the parties are close and even romantically involved. That too can cause consternation and difficulty in addressing a falling out. Knowing how to move forward if business partners are in dispute is vital to maximize one’s position and possibly continue the business or businesses independently.

A business fallout shows the potential challenges that can arise

An example of what issues can arise with a partner fallout is evident with the partners in a chain of restaurants in dispute over a variety of personal and professional issues. The Golden Wok restaurant chain’s owners – partners and common-law spouses – are embroiled in a lawsuit. One partner, 82, is suing the other, 69, for more than $2 million. According to the claim, the younger male partner is guilty of misappropriation of assets. The allegations say that real estate was bought in his name alone.

The older female partner alleges that the signatures to make the purchases were done without her knowing about it. She also claims that she has been locked out of the business itself. It is a 50-50 partnership. The couple has the Chinese restaurants, a casino and other real estate properties across several states. The partnership has been in effect for 45 years.

In Louisiana, there is a law that dictates how a partnership can be terminated. The partners can unanimously agree that it should be terminated; there can be a judgment to terminate it; it can be done through a bankruptcy; the membership can be reduced to a single person; its term can expire; or the goal of the partnership can be achieved, or it might be found not to be achievable.

Legal assistance is essential when business partners have a falling out

Although the case mentioned is taking place in Texas, the underlying areas of disagreement are common in many business partnerships. Commercial litigation may be uncomfortable and worrisome, especially if it involves people who worked together and might have been close. Still, with business matters, it is imperative that those involved are thinking about their future personally, financially and professionally. Having legal assistance throughout the process can be critical to try and reach a satisfactory outcome whether that is through a negotiated agreement or via a lawsuit.