Updated: Feb 4, 2021
Any business with multiple owners, even a very successful business, may experience disputes among two or more owners. Sometime those disputes are fairly minor and quickly resolved. At other times they are unfortunately far more serious and potentially fatal to the business. There is a tendency for such serious disputes to lead to litigation as the owners understandably become concerned about protecting their competing interests and then consult with litigation attorneys to advise them about their rights. Although litigation is often warranted and sometimes it may be the only viable way to potentially resolve a dispute, business owners should also consider if there is a better way to resolve matters either by changing the ownership or management structure of the company or by one or more of the owners agreeing to be bought out of the business
The problem with litigating any dispute among business owners is that the outcome is uncertain, it can take well over a year to conclude the litigation, the legal fees and expenses may easily total several hundred thousand dollars or more and, while the dispute is dragging out, the business may be severely harmed and could eventually fail. A better result for all parties may often be achieved by rationally assessing each party’s position and desired outcome and then either changing the company’s management structure or buying out one or more of the owners to come as close as realistically possible to achieving each party’s objective while avoiding the risks associated with a protracted and costly legal dispute.
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