Representative Matters Involving Ownership
and Valuation Disputes
Two Brothers: Supermarket Chain: This involved a dispute between two brother that owned and operated a chain of supermarkets along with related parking facilities. The dispute included claims of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty as well as a dispute over valuation. The dispute was resolved with the purchase of the supermarkets by one brother and the formation of a partnership for the continued ownership of the parking facilities.
Heirs and Beneficiaries: Professional Sports Franchise: Represented the children of a decedent whose estate included a minority interest in a major sports franchise. A significant issue in the case was a corporate reorganization designed to modify the interest of our clients’ ownership interest in the franchise. The matters addressed included complex issues of federal tax, corporate law, valuation and fiduciary duty.
Out of wedlock children and Surviving Spouse: Real Estate Interests: This involved children born outside of marriage but acknowledged by their father in a dispute over their father’s estate and their claim to the ownership of a substantial real estate business. This was resolved by bifurcating the remainder trust established by the decedent and creating a separate trust for these children.
Child and Stepmother: Rental Property: This involved the only child of a decedent in a dispute with her stepmother over control of her father’s estate, which included a substantial rental property. The case was complicated by the fact that the will was poorly drafted (ironically by the decedent himself) and as a result created several complex interpretations of the decedent’s intent. The matter was resolved with the child obtaining the rental property and control of a family foundation.
Surviving Spouse and Sister-in-law: Privately Held Business: This involved a dispute by a widow (whose husband’s estate had a 50% interest) with her sister-in-law who owned the other 50% who was acting as executor and trustee of the decedent’s estate. This matter covered a range of issues including fiduciary duties, interpretation of the shareholder agreement, accounting and valuation issues.
Daughter and Trustee: Real Estate Interests: This involved one of several siblings in a dispute over her interest in trusts by her father which owned various parcels of real estate. The issues included trust accountings and tracking transfers made among multiple trusts by the decedent-trustee. The matter also involved the disqualification of the law firm for the estate because of a conflict of interest.
Mother-Daughters: Family Business: This involved a dispute between a mother and her daughters over control of an estate. The principal asset was a controlling interest in a closely held business. It also dealt with substantial transfers to the daughters shortly before the father’s death; it also dealt with the payment of retirement benefits and the presence of conflicting trusts created by the decedent. The father had a second estate plan without advising the second attorney of an earlier trust designed to receive the retirement benefits.
Father-Son: Family Business: The ownership was 50/50. The son was the president. The father wanted to bring in his children by his 3rd marriage. The son, as president objected. The father filed a corporate oppression suit. The matter dealt with the interpretation of the company’s by-laws, the elements for oppression, the entitlement to attorney’s fees and valuation issues.
Husband-Wife: Family Business: In this matter the husband originally had a 51% interest. He was convinced to transfer control to his wife to qualify as a woman owned business. Shortly after that, the wife as president fired the husband and filed for divorce. It dealt with corporate oppression, the propriety of certain corporate action, fraud as well as valuation problems.