Sometimes, a business will find itself in a dispute with a former shareholder. Oftentimes, such disputes center on the manner in which the former shareholder relinquished their shares in the company. Currently, here in Michigan, a local brewing company and one of its former shareholders are in a rather nasty legal battle centered on this issue.
Purportedly, in 2012, a woman who worked as a brand manager for the company was given a one-thirds share in the company. In 2013, while she was on medical leave, the woman signed an agreement ending her employment with the company and surrendering her share of the company.
The woman alleges that the company's other owners engaged in coercive measures to get her to sign the agreement and that the agreement was unfair. According to her, she was issued threats that she wouldn't get anything if she didn't sign the agreement. She also alleges that the agreement did not compensate her for surrendering her share of the company. She brought a lawsuit against the company in relation to these allegations.
The company has denied the woman's allegations and has brought counterclaims alleging that the woman committed theft against it and violated confidentiality and non-disparagement clauses. The woman denies the allegations in the counterclaims.
The woman is asking for damages, changes to the separation agreement and a declaration that she is a shareholder in the company. The company, meanwhile, has made a dismissal request to the court.
As this matter shows, disputes between companies and former shareholders can get very contentious and complicated, with allegations being launched by both sides. Thus, when in litigation over such disputes, receiving guidance from a lawyer with a deep knowledge of business law can be very helpful for a business or an individual. Such attorneys can keep a party informed of their options and work to keep their interests as protected as possible.
Source: MLive.com, "Former Greenbush Brewing partner denies theft claims, owners seek dismissal of lawsuit," Emily Monacelli, June 27, 2014