A partnership dispute is like a divorce; it’s expensive, time-consuming, emotional, and oftentimes destructive. In this scenario, the business is the child at the center of the disagreements. When partners disagree or can’t find a way to resolve their differences, it causes a major disruption to the business. Partnership disputes arise for many different reasons. How easily the disputes are resolved typically comes down to whether there is a written partnership agreement and how well it was written. When a partnership agreement doesn’t exist, lawyers must thoroughly analyze the situation to try to help the partners create a fair resolution that protects the business.
The team at Minnesota Construction Law Services understands the destructive nature of partnership disputes; we know the monetary, emotional, and relationship tolls it takes. Our experience allows us to understand the business owners’ perspectives while considering the condition of the business when advising the resolution process. We make business divorce as easy as possible to protect the business and the partners.
EASING THE FRUSTRATIONS OF BUSINESS DIVORCE
What is our process?
First, we have to determine if we are the ones suing or if we are the ones being sued. If we are on the offense, we spend more time on steps 2 and 3 to resolve the dispute or draft a plan. If we are on the defense, our time is limited and instead strategize accordingly.
Step One: Suing or being sued?
After telling us more about the dispute, we dig deep into the provided documents and the law for extensive research. From there, we come up with our strategy for moving forward and either initiate or respond to the lawsuit. We also gather additional information or data for the case.
Step Three: The planning, research, and drafting
Pre-trial preparation involves not only preparing our argument for trial but organizing all of our court documents, providing our witnesses with notice, drafting our jury instructions and verdict form, and many other final details to prepare for a favorable trial.
Step Seven: The pre-trial
During the discovery process, we also enter into motion practice. Motion practice is where the attorneys are asking the court to do something, such as dismissing the case, asking the other side to produce a document or answer a question, or excluding a witness or document from the case.
Step Five: The motion practice
We take the best action that will benefit your business, or what MNCLS calls the “business solution.” We try to find a way to avoid a lawsuit (if we’re on offense) or end it quickly (if we’re on defense) by working with the other party to find a resolution. If a resolution is not possible, we move to step 3.
Step Two: The pre-suit dispute resolution
After the lawsuit has begun, we start the process of finding out what the other side knows and the documents they have through written and in-person discoveries. The purpose of the discovery process is to gauge the opponent’s offense or defense to ensure we are properly prepared.
Step Four: The discovery
The court almost always requires an alternative dispute resolution. At MNCLS, we always participate in mediation unless arbitration is required by the court or the contract. Mediation is similar to our pre-suit dispute resolution, but it is done in front of a neutral party to establish a resolution without the use of litigation.
Step Six: The mediation
A trial can range from one day to several weeks. Most cases that we have are between 1-5 day trials. The number of days at trial depends on the dispute, whether we were able to narrow issues down through our motion practice and the number of documents and witnesses.
Step Eight: The trial
Oftentimes people decide to go into business together because they are friends or family members. While the initial partnership goes well, over time the friends or family members develop different personal and business goals. As their reasons for being in business change, their ideas about how the business should operate can start to create harmful strifes between the partners. When partners begin as friends, they don’t think it’s important to spend time or money on a written partnership agreement. When problems arise, there is not a predetermined process to help them resolve the issues. Our lawyers know how to deal with business partnership disputes and how to navigate the best possible solution. In addition, we help partners create business-specific and detailed contracts so your business and partnerships are protected in the future.
Partnership disputes interrupt daily operations and inhibit future business. We craft resolutions that solve the dispute as quickly as possible so you can get back to focusing on the business.
The first step is determining whether the thing is hurting the business, or simply getting in the way of where you want the business to go. As your third-party business partner, we can help evaluate the issue to determine whether the execution is failing or the partners’ goals are misaligned. Understanding your business is the only way to solve the problem, rather than getting tangled up chasing symptoms.
The ideal time to create a partnership agreement is when you form the business. If you didn’t create the written agreement then, get it done as soon as possible. As long as the partners are on good terms, you can create a partnership agreement based on mutual respect and trust regardless of how long you’ve been running the business. The worst time to try to put together an agreement is when the partners are not agreeing!