Houston Business Owner Dispute Attorneys
Business Ownership Disputes in Texas
Disputes within businesses arise in a variety of contexts, but those involving owners are common when businesses are smaller or closely held companies. Though avenues for resolution and remedy are available under Texas law, owners engaged in disputes require representation tailored to their particular needs, situations, and goals – especially if they have personal and financial ties to their smaller business, and greater potential for contention and challenges as a result.
At Hendershot Cowart P.C., our Texas trial attorneys have leveraged over a century of experience to establish our firm as highly knowledgeable business law and litigation practice. Our depth of experience provides the insight business owners need to protect their rights and interests in a range of cases involving businesses and conflict of all types, as well as the dexterity to handle delicate disputes among small business owners with the precision they require.
On This Page
- Resolving Business Owner Disputes Within Closely Held Companies
- Disputes Within Larger Businesses
- What Shareholders, Partners and Members Can Do to Help Avoid a Business Dispute
- Consider these Additional Agreements to Avoid Disputes Between Business Owners
If you have questions about a business owner dispute in the state of Texas, our team is available to discuss your options and how we can guide you toward a resolution. Call 713-909-7323or contact us onlineto speak with an attorney.
Resolving Business Owner Disputes Within Closely Held Companies
Closely held companies have distinct business and legal needs, particularly when things don’t go as planned. While the individual facts of a case dictate available options, there remains the constant need to understand the context behind disputes, as well as how the unique structure of a company, personal and contractual relationships, and potential for disruption may affect owners, businesses, and their futures.
In addition to providing proactive counsel for services such as contract drafting, shareholder agreement negotiations, and strategic setup and safeguard guidance that help prevent and reduce risks of disputes, our team also assists business owners in responsively addressing disputes when they arise. Our services include tailored approaches and exploration of various remedies for a number of issues, including those involving:
- Contractual breaches
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- Fraud, misrepresentation, and embezzlement
- Trade secret misappropriation
- Intellectual property disputes
- Minority shareholder oppression
- Squeeze-outs and freeze-outs
- Buy-sell agreements
- Construction disputes
- Inactive business partners
- Business dissolution
Disputes Within Larger Businesses
When conflict arises in a larger business, the stakes and challenges can be elevated. As such, partnership and shareholder disputes within larger companies require calculated investigations, ample preparation, and experienced execution of appropriate resolution approaches – be they driven by litigation or negotiation and mediation.
Our firm has extensive experience handling complex business disputes ranging from infringement, fraud, and theft of trade secrets to oil and gas litigation, deceptive trade practices, hostile takeovers, and oppression, for which we may seek remedy in the form of:
- A court-appointed rehabilitative receiver
- Breach of fiduciary duty claims
- Injunctions and temporary restraining orders
- Breach of contract claims
What Shareholders, Partners and Members Can Do to Help Avoid a Business Dispute
The best way to avoid a business dispute is to prevent one from the outset of your business relationship. What this means for corporations, partnerships and members in a limited liability company is executing legal, written contractual agreements that include instructions for handling admission and withdrawals, operational procedures, member responsibilities, and employment agreements that protect the business.
To avoid disputes, business owners, partners, and shareholders should consider these governing documents and operating agreements:
- For shareholders in a Corporation:
- Certificate of formation: Primary document that regulates the corporation’s activities including its powers and objectives
- Corporate bylaws: Defining and regulating internal management and affairs including entitlements to dividends and procedures for board meetings
- Shareholder agreements: An agreement or arrangement whereby shareholders in the company define how the company will be operated and what the shareholder's rights and obligations are, the ownership of shares, management regulations, and the protection and privileges of the shareholders.
- For members in a Limited Liability Company (LLC): LLC or company operating agreement. Addressing admissions, withdrawals, dissolution, Classes of interests or ownership, economic rights and distributions, management including powers of and/or limitations and Fiduciary Duties
- For partners in a General Partnership: Partnership agreements. Addressing admissions and withdrawals, contributions, distributions, ownership, responsibilities and authority, decision making, dispute resolution, dissolution, critical developments, governing rules for buyouts and transfers
Consider these Additional Agreements to Avoid Disputes Between Business Owners
- Buy-sell agreements: With respect to settling a shareholder, partner or member’s share of the company due to his death or termination (either voluntarily or by force). In either situation, buying or selling, guidelines will need to be established to address in what way a new shareholder/partner/member can be admitted (by unanimous vote or majority - and through a purchase of interest or contribution of new assets).
- Restriction agreements: Establishing limitations on transfers of ownership
- Separation agreement: Process of terminating an owner or partner from all governing documents, including IRS business identification forms (EIN), By-laws, Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization, Operating Agreements, credit lines, leases, and Merchant Accounts.
- Confidentiality agreements and nondisclosure agreements: Most businesses possess various forms of intellectual property and unique, sensitive information by way of trade secrets. Both Confidentiality & Non-disclosure agreements are similar in nature, and are legal contracts that require confidential information be kept confidential.
- Non-compete agreements: A non-compete agreement carefully crafted by a Texas non-compete lawyer lessens the possibility that knowledge gained by an employee or business partner will be used in the future to compete against them for a reasonable length of time and geographic area.
Wherever financial interests are shared, there is potential for serious conflict. When business relationship rights are properly recorded, conflict can often be contained and resolved effectively to prevent business disruptions, lost value and, above all, litigation.
Aggressively Defending Your Interests. Call 713-909-7323
Hendershot Cowart P.C. is a Houston-based law firm with a regional presence and national reputation. Since 1987, our legal team has proven our ability to aggressively defend the rights and interests of our clients in even the most complex endeavors, and tenaciously tackle disputes involving a range of industries, scenarios, and circumstances.
We Shoulder the Legal Burden.™And let you get back to business.
We Want to Be Your Law Firm for Life.We take a vested interest in our clients' success – from start to finish.
We Believe in Prompt, Personal Attention.As a boutique law firm, we unite real experience with personal attention.
We Serve Clients Throughout Texas and the Nation.We handle matters from the Red River to the Rio Grande and beyond.
In Business Since 1987.Let us put the full force of our 100+ years of combined experience to work for you.
“I cannot say enough good things about my Lawyer, Mr. David Augustus. His calm, laser-like knowledge of business law allowed me to prevail and teach a few others during the short negotiations. Having the full backing of his law firm also helped greatly.” - L.A.
“Excellent experience working with Ray to settle our partnership dissolution. He was consistently available and steadfast in his guidance. Highly recommend this firm.” - S.H.
“I retained Hendershot Cowart last year. Though an obvious small case for the firm, it was traumatic and very personal for me. Ashley Arnett guided me through the process, never once making me feel that my case wasn’t any less important as any other.” - S.L.