Running a business is hard enough even without disputes. Business disputes are complicated enough even when the relationships involved are only professional. But a business dispute between family members is even harder and more complicated, and often the functions of both family and business will grind to a halt.
Business disputes between family members are messy. On top of business decisions and day-to-day operations is a layer of interpersonal history and lots of emotions. Minor issues often become bigger issues, or you run into unique problems. Most agreements are verbal or even unspoken, with little or nothing written in black and white in many cases. Whether the business is family-owned from top to bottom, or the dispute happens to be between two or more people in an organization who just happen to be related, the situation quickly becomes a plate of spaghetti.
Most family business disputes revolve around one or more of the following:
Those business issues or others may be inflamed and complicated by family-specific issues, including:
Litigating a family business dispute may not solve all of the problems, but leaving things as they are typically just makes things even worse. Family business litigation is never ideal, but it may be the “least-bad” way for deserving parties to get what is rightfully theirs, and to minimize further collateral damage to other family members, to employees, and to the business as a whole. A legal resolution may also provide clarity to all parties, and may make disputes less likely to happen in the future.
It is possible that we can litigate your dispute case on a contingency basis, rather than on a pay-as-you go hourly basis. Probably because of the dispute and possibly for other reasons, your money may be tied up temporarily. We understand that, which is why we may be able to work you in such a way that you only pay a percentage of the settlement or judgment if and when we win your case and you collect your award. You can find out more about the contingency business litigation option here.
Mark Chatow is an experienced business litigation attorney in Newport Beach, who focuses on helping businesses right the ship when things go wrong. He works with clients of all sizes throughout Orange County, Los Angeles County, and throughout Southern California. Whether you’re a controlling owner or a minority shareholder, whether the business is large or small, or whether the business is new or generations old, you can call Mark to discuss your family business dispute and the next steps to a fair resolution.