Shareholder, Corporate & Partnership Disputes Lawyers in Naperville
We Represent Business Owners in Corporate Disputes Throughout Chicago
We regularly represent business owners in corporate disputes with their
partners and other owners. Shareholders of corporations, members of LLCs,
and owners of partnerships regularly have disagreements. Like some marriages,
sometimes business partnerships fail. We help resolve these disputes when
we can and, when we cannot, we regularly litigate business disputes in court.
Owners of a closely held company often have a fiduciary relationship, particularly
when they are an officer employee. Unlike a regular employee, fiduciary
employees are held to a much higher standard.
Partners often dispute how profits and losses are:
Sometimes one partners will use company assets for personal use or divert
company customers to a different company.
For your initial case review, call us at
(312) 818-2407 or fill out our
We Handle Family-Run Business Disputes
Sometimes business disputes exist in a family-run-businesses.
There are many advantages to working with family members, such as:
- Similar values
- Mutual trust
- Long standing loyalty
However, when members of a family business have conflict, it can be very
stressful-sometimes worse than a nasty divorce. Disputes in family-owned
businesses can–and often do–destroy the company. The internal
strife among family members can be far more damaging than a company’s
most fierce competitors.
To avoid having your family broken up and to avoid destroying your business,
keep these pointers in mind:
Are you on the same page? Do you have the same work philosophy as your relatives? Some family members
like to work less and avoid growth. Others want to work long hours and
grow. Inevitable resentment arises when one relative thinks the other
is slowing down the business-while the other relative thinks the rapid
changes are like driving 90 miles per hour off a cliff.
Who gets the biggest piece of the pie? Every family business dispute I have litigated has involved monetary disputes.
If you are working harder and bringing in more business, should you get
more money? That is how many non-family businesses operate to encourage
hard work, but family businesses often split profit equally. In some cases,
sharing money equally (or unequally) can be a recipe for resentment and
The family role may not be the same as the business role. Just because mom and dad were in charge when you were growing up does
not necessarily mean they oversee the business now. When parents relinquish
ownership in a company, they typically also give up control. While a respected
parent (or other family member) can often be useful in helping to resolve/mediate
disputes, this person must realize that the law does not necessarily give
them the right to call the shots-like they did when the kids were younger.
Mediation. When disputes do arise, it is important for family members to communicate.
Serious disputes often warrant outside help by a mediator who is someone
that helps the family members discuss, manage, and resolve differences.
Some family businesses will turn to a lawyer to help mediate a dispute;
others turn to a respected family member. There are also other professionals
(such as psychologists) who help family businesses resolve disputes.
Contracts. Members of a family-run business need to enter appropriate business contracts
with each other. Unfortunately, many family businesses do the exact opposite
by having no written agreements. Written partnership and other agreements
are critical to address such issues as buy-out obligations, what happens
when a family member dies or becomes incapacitated, how money is split,
and who owns what.
Examples of cases we have litigated include:
- $17 million buyout for owner of Chicago-based trading company alleging
his ownership rights were violated after we sought injunctive relief in
Cook County, Illinois.
- $1.3 million recover on behalf of minority shareholders in a bank.
- Represented partners and shareholders in disputes over how profits are
being shared, accounted, allocated, and distributed.
- Represented businesses and owners when other owners are accused of using
company assets for personal gain or embezzling/cooking the books.
- Went to trial in the Circuit Court of Cook County in a partnership dispute
over a real estate company. Our client had provided a substantial sum
of money towards what she thought would make her 50/50 partners in an
Illinois LLC. Unfortunately, no written agreements were executed, and
the defendants took the position that the money was an investment that
could be kept. The trial court dismissed our oral breach of contract claim
in pre-trial proceedings so went to trial on an unjust enrichment theory.
At trial, the judge ruled in our client’s favor, the defendants
withdrew their appeal before the Illinois Appellate Court, and our client
received 100% of the judgment that was awarded.
- Represented a minority shareholder being squeezed-out of a professional
firm and asserted claims for breach of fiduciary duty resulting in a successful
- Defended a minority owner of several LLCs who was being deprived of information
about his companies which led to a positive buy-out.
- Represented a business and one of its shareholders in a jury trial in Will
County (Joliet), Illinois. At trial we argued that a former shareholder
of the corporation had breached her fiduciary duties by, among other things,
working with a property management company and a neighboring business
to misappropriate corporate assets. The jury found in favor of our clients
on all counts which went to the jury, including conversion, breach of
fiduciary duty, and aiding and abetting the breach of fiduciary duty.
Compensatory and punitive damages were assessed against all five defendants,
including the neighboring businesses (and its owners individually), the
property management company (and individually against a physician who
acted on its behalf), and our client’s former business partner.
Contact us online or call (312) 818-2407 to speak with one of our experienced lawyers.