Successful partnerships depend on the coordination and cooperation of leadership. When partners disagree on business issues, or claims of abuse or fraud arise, the financial health of the partnership and partners becomes jeopardized. One partner may be dissatisfied with the other partner’s work, or there could be a disagreement about the direction of the business resulting in partnership disputes.
Discuss Your Case With a Pittsburgh Partnership Disputes Attorney Today
When partnership disputes become heated and complex litigation may become necessary, you need an experienced attorney on your side. At Jones Gregg Creehan & Gerace, our business disputes attorneys are experienced negotiators and litigators. We will discuss your goals and begin representing you to resolve your dispute, saving you time and protecting your financial investments made in the partnership.
Our Partnership Dispute Services
The attorneys at Jones Gregg Creehan & Gerace are litigators, first and foremost. We have extensive experience litigating partnership disputes, giving us the experience to know what it takes to protect our clients’ interests in court. We advocate assertively to help our clients obtain the best possible outcome. We will use negotiation and mediation practices to avoid costly litigation when possible.
Not all partnership agreements involve an accusation of fraud or mismanagement. Some partnership disputes are broader and involve a general lack of agreement over the company’s direction and how to manage it. Other partnership disputes arise from personal issues that have developed between the partners. Jones Gregg Creehan & Gerace represents clients in a wide range of business partnership disputes matters, including:
- Ownership and management conflicts
- Violations of partnership agreements, operating agreements, or bylaws
- Negligent management
- Misappropriation of assets
- Corporate theft
- Management self-dealing
- Dissolution and asset division
- Breaches of fiduciary duty
- Breach of non-compete
- Breach of non-solicitation
- Breach of trade secret agreement
- Divorce and probate disputes
- Partnership dissolution
- Disputes regarding the direction of the partnership
- Disputes regarding the interpretation of the partnership’s governing documents
The Importance of a Written Partnership Agreement
Many partnerships start out without the partners creating a fully fleshed, written partnership agreement. Taking the time to create a partnership agreement can decrease the risk of litigation in the future. Without a written partnership agreement in place, many different issues could turn into disputes if they were not discussed when the business was formed. Written partnership agreements establish how the partnership should deal with particular issues, such as the partners having a difference of opinion about a business matter.
At Jones Gregg Creehan & Gerace, our attorneys can help you negotiate and draft a thorough partnership agreement. When we draft partnership agreements, we consider all of the different types of disputes that can occur. If your business is already running and you have never made a written agreement, now is the best time to negotiate key issues and write down how you want to resolve disputes in a contract. Your first instinct may be to wait and take each problem as it comes.
However, if you haven’t agreed on how to resolve disputes, it only takes one significant dispute to potentially break out the partnership. As your partnership changes in scope, your agreement may need to be updated to reflect your business’s new direction. It’s much more costly to try to deal with a partnership dispute after it has arisen than working around the problem initially.
Legal Claims in Partnership Disputes
Even with a well-written partnership agreement that includes mechanisms for dealing with disputes, a dispute can sometimes reach a boiling point. If you are involved in a partnership dispute, and you do not think you’ll be able to resolve it on your own, it’s time to reach out to one of the skilled business attorneys at Jones Gregg Creehan & Gerace. Your strategy will depend on several factors, including the nature of the partnership dispute. For example, if you are involved in a breach of fiduciary duty claim due to one partner misappropriating funds for personal use, the only recourse may be a lawsuit to recover the losses.
It’s wise to consider alternative dispute resolution processes such as mediation, arbitration, and negotiation. When that is not possible, a lawsuit may become necessary. Other partnership disputes involve a breach of contract claims. The types of damages available in partnership dispute lawsuits depend on the underlying claim and the actual damages that have already occurred. When a partner acts in an intentionally fraudulent or grossly negligent manner, you may be entitled to additional punitive damages on top of your economic damages.
Steps in Resolving a Partnership Dispute
When a partnership dispute arises, the first step is to begin negotiations or discussions between the parties. The best way to handle these negotiations isn’t during work hours. Instead, the parties should meet elsewhere to attempt a resolution with their attorneys. If interpersonal negotiations fail, the partners may want to consider hiring an independent mediator who will dispassionately arbitrate and negotiate the dispute. If this process fails, a lawsuit may become necessary. When all other options do not work, the partners may want to consider dissolving their partnership.
However, this isn’t an option that should be taken lightly without the advice of an attorney who has helped the partners examine all their options. Even with a partnership agreement in place, it could be advantageous to completely rework or redraft a new partnership agreement that attempts to resolve the issues being disputed. In the right situations, taking this step could avoid partnership dissolution and help the partners obtain the fresh start they need to succeed in their partnership.
Contact a Pittsburgh Partnership Disputes Attorney Today
At Jones Gregg Creehan & Gerace, we represent clients bringing claims against their business partners and those defending against misconduct claims. We have experience working with both sides, and we can anticipate the other side’s move. We take proactive steps to advance the interests of our clients. The future of your business and your individual finances can be negatively impacted during partnership disputes. Protect your company and your financial health by contacting Jones Gregg Creehan & Gerace as soon as possible. Contact us now for more information on how we can help.