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Columbus, GA Partnership Dispute Attorney

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    When you go into business with someone, it takes an enormous amount of trust.  Depending on the original division of labor you come up with, there may be set rules about how much input each partner has into the daily activities of the company and whether some partners are “silent partners.”  In any case, when issues arise between the partners, there are sometimes legal problems that cannot be resolved just by looking at the initial arrangement, and legal action needs to be taken.

    Our attorneys can represent you in negotiations with your partner or partners, and we can take various matters to court if necessary to help protect your position as a partner and carry out your wishes for the company.  Sometimes, compromise is the only way forward without taking the partnership apart, but our attorneys can also help you dissolve the partnership if that is the route you want to take.

    Call Howe & Associates today at (678) 680-6983 to speak with our partnership dispute attorneys about your potential case.

    Types of Partnership Disputes in Columbus, GA

    Partnership disputes can arise in many ways, some of which involve interpersonal issues, some of which involve quasi-legal disputes, and some of which involve hard legal issues that give various grounds for recourse to either or both/all partners.

    Whatever kind of partnership dispute you are facing, it is important to have a partnership dispute attorney review your case, advocate for you in negotiations, and represent you in any legal action that either side takes to try to resolve the issue.  In most cases, you cannot have in-house counsel represent you without a conflict of interest as to the company, and you cannot typically use counsel you and your partner used together in the past, as they would have a conflict of interest with the partner.  For this reason, you usually need to turn to outside counsel to help you with disputes involving any of the following issues:

    Disagreements

    One of the most common problems in any relationship – a business partnership included – is disagreement.  Maybe you have a quarrel over which supplier to use, what to name a product, or what direction to take your company in.  Maybe your issue is about taking on new personnel or diluting your share of the partnership by bringing on new investors or partners.  In any case, disagreements that are based on ideas and direction rather than legal rights often need to be resolved through negotiation, compromise, and possibly new contracts or agreements between partners.

    Sometimes the founding documents of your partnership will dictate who gets to make which decisions and who has the final say over some issues, such as founding documents that give one partner control over investments and one partner control over personnel.  However, barring a convenient answer like this, most disagreements can be worked out with some give and take, often allowing a partnership to continue uninterrupted after the disagreement is resolved.

    Embezzlement (a.k.a. Misappropriation)

    Discovering that a partner has been embezzling or otherwise stealing from the business is not something that can be so easily forgiven or worked out.  When one partner misappropriates assets or funds from your business, it often constitutes a breach of fiduciary duty, and it is often sufficient grounds to remove them from the partnership or even dissolve the partnership, claiming damages from the embezzler in the process.  Often, partnerships cannot move on after a serious breach like this.

    Breach of Fiduciary Duty

    Other types of wrongdoing by a partner can also constitute a breach of fiduciary duty.  Under this framework, the law views the duties that a partner holds to the company and the other partners as one of the highest duties under the law: a fiduciary duty.  A fiduciary – the person holding the duty – is required to act in the other party’s best interests, avoiding things like misappropriation, self-dealing, and conflicts of interest that could allow the fiduciary to put themselves over the business.

    When a fiduciary duty is breached, there are often damages involved, and the breaching partner will have to right the harm they caused.  However, many breaches of fiduciary duty do ultimately result in the partnership dissolving, as this kind of breach of trust is often irreversible.

    Self-Dealing and Conflicts of Interest

    Putting oneself above the partnership, using the partnership to give yourself an undue benefit or exclusive deal, or even dealing with competitors at the expense of your business partnership are all other types of breach of fiduciary duty.  Like those discussed above, these kinds of issues could result in damages that the breaching party has to pay the other partners, but it might also be serious enough to result in the partnership being dismantled.

    Breach of Contract

    Often, a breach of contract is not as serious or underhanded in nature as a breach of fiduciary duty, and it is often done by mistake, due to poor planning, or because the breaching party felt cornered and unable to comply with the contract.  In any case, if one partner breaches a contract with the other partners, there are often damages explained in the contract or consequential damages our attorneys can help you obtain.  We may also be able to renegotiate the contract and help right the wrongs without having to take your partner to task for the breach by giving them new terms to comply with.

    Partner Wants to Leave/Dissolution of Partnerships

    Sometimes one partner wants out, wants to retire, wants a change of career, or simply has conflicts with the other partner(s) that they cannot resolve.  In many cases, the founding documents of your partnership are going to explain what happens when a partner leaves.  Sometimes under these rules, there is no choice but to dissolve and, if desired, reform the partnership anew without the partner who is leaving.  Our attorneys can help you understand your options and what steps need to be taken to either continue on with the business or dissolve it and wrap up any loose ends with the business as partners go separate ways.

    Call Our Partnership Dispute Attorneys in Columbus, GA Today

    For a review of your legal options, call the partnership dispute lawyers at Howe & Associates today at (678) 680-6983.