Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Business Disputes
Building a successful business can take years, or even a lifetime, to achieve. When legal problems arise for business owners, they can be incredibly costly, and can even put the company itself at risk.
At Jinks, Crow & Dickson, our business attorneys have over 40 years of experience helping people from all over the state of Alabama, and we work tirelessly to help our clients achieve their business goals.
Whether your business is a large corporation or a sole proprietorship, our business lawyers can assess and help you resolve your legal problems in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Take a look at these frequently asked questions (FAQs) on business disputes.
1. What types of claims might owners of a business have against each other?
Businesses may operate as a number of different legal entities, including a corporation, a limited liability company, a partnership, a sole proprietorship, and others. Most of these legal entities have documents that were created or signed when they began. These documents may set out certain duties and responsibilities of the owners to each other and to the business. Many claims that owners of businesses have arisen from those documents. There are other claims that business owners may have against each other which arise from other contracts or agreements between them such as non-compete agreements, agreements that restrict the sale of stock, buy-sell agreements, etc. The State where the business entity was formed will have laws that also set forth duties and obligations of the owners of these entities to each other and to the entity. Claims can arise from those statutes. There may be other common law claims that business owners have against each other based on their actions or inactions, which could include fraud, suppression, breach of fiduciary duty, even negligence. One of our experienced business dispute attorneys can help identify what duties and obligations may apply in your situation.
2. What if those in business together are no longer getting along?
There may be prescribed procedures to address how business owners can address disputes contained within the business entity’s organizational documents, or there may be some separate agreements between the business owners which prescribe how particular disputes are to be handled. Likewise, there may be statutory provisions under the relevant State law which address how a business dispute is to be resolved. One of our business dispute attorneys can provide you with some guidance.
3. What options do business owners have if they no longer want to be in business together?
There may be prescribed procedures to address how business owners can address disputes contained within the business entity’s organizational documents, or there may be some separate agreements between the business owners which prescribe how particular disputes are to be handled. Likewise, there may be statutory provisions under Alabama law that address how a business dispute is to be resolved. If the owners simply decide to cease doing business or if one wants to buy another out, these sources may provide the procedure or guidance as to how that is to be done. One of our business dispute attorneys can help.
4. I believe my business partner cheated me. What rights do I have?
There may be many different types of claims that one business owner has against another who has cheated him or her in some way. The organizational documents of the business entity, other agreements between the business owners, and state statutes may prescribe what rights one owner has against another as a result of such cheating. One of our business dispute attorneys can determine what rights you may have.
5. Are non-compete contracts enforceable?
Non-compete agreements are generally enforceable in Alabama so long as they meet certain criteria. They must be reasonably limited in time and geographic scope in order to be enforceable. They do not apply and are not enforceable for some professions. The facts and circumstances of each case will determine whether they are enforceable and to what extent.
6. How to enforce non-compete agreement?
A non-compete agreement, if enforceable, can be enforced by a court order. You must file a lawsuit against the person that is violating the non-compete agreement. There may also be damages associated with a breach of a non-compete agreement. Our business dispute attorneys can enforce a non-compete agreement and also defend against a company trying to enforce one which is unenforceable.
7. What voids a non-compete agreement?
A non-compete agreement may be void if it applies to certain professions for which non-compete agreements are unenforceable. It may also be void if it seeks to place limits on conduct that are unreasonable either in time or geographic scope. One of our business dispute attorneys can help determine whether a non-compete agreement is enforceable.
8. Can I amend a shareholder agreement?
Shareholder agreements can generally be amended so long as the parties to the original all agree. However, one party’s agreements with others may prevent some amendments. One of our business dispute attorneys can help determine whether an amendment is valid and enforceable, or if amended improperly, whether some action may be taken as a result.
9. How to dissolve a shareholder agreement?
Shareholder agreements can generally be amended or dissolved so long as the parties to the original agreement all agree. However, one party’s agreements with others may prevent some dissolutions. One of our business dispute attorneys can help determine whether dissolution is possible, or if already done improperly, whether some action may be taken as a result.
10. What is the purpose of a shareholder agreement?
A shareholder agreement sets forth the terms and conditions associated with that shareholder’s ownership of his or her stock in the corporation. It may also contain obligations of the corporation to the shareholder separate and apart from, and in addition to, those contained in the corporation’s organizational documents, bylaws, and by statute. One of our experienced business dispute attorneys can help interpret the provisions of a shareholder agreement.