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Portland Business Law Tip: Business Owners’ Rights

On Behalf of | Dec 10, 2012 | Uncategorized

They say that an ever-increasing percentage of marriages are ending in divorce.  It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that a large percentage of businesses do too. 

Whether you’re an owner of an LLC, a corporation, or a partnership, businesses are about personalities.  The dominant personalities in any business are its owners.  The more successful the company, oftentimes, the bigger the personalities. 

Knowing your rights as an owner before you make the large investment in your business is critical.  This blog has frequently wrote about entering into clearly written contracts before starting down the path of a new venture.

But understanding your rights and how the evolve during ownership is equally important.  Co-owners of closely held businesses owe each other fiduciary duties.  In a nutshell, this means that each owner must deal honestly and in good faith with the company and other partners.

Business is business, of course, but if one co-owner’s treatment of another owner crosses a line, the offending owner can be held liable for what is known as shareholder oppression.  A court can order a buyout of the victimized owner or even a dissolution of the corporation in a shareholder oppression case.

What about a run of the mill business disagreement?  Your rights may vary based on the type of business entity you’ve formed.  In Oregon and Washington, a shareholder in a corporation, for example, can dissent from certain major corporate decisions and force a buyout of his or her interest.

The rights of business owners are complex and overlapping.  If you have a question contact a Portland partnership dispute attorney or a Seattle business ownership dispute attorney today.