Partners in business owe each other a fiduciary duty of “the finest loyalty.” The courts also impose this high standard of conduct on controlling shareholders in small corporations and dominant members in limited liability companies. The fiduciary duty is breached when a controlling party engages in conduct to oppress those holding a minority interest in the company. Such tactics often include termination of the minority partner or shareholder’s employment with the company or withholding of dividends or other benefits of ownership. The courts have concluded these tactics are sometimes used to “freeze-out” or “squeeze-out” the minority partner, shareholder or member from the company and have awarded substantial money damages and other relief as a remedy.
Mr. Staples has assisted many people in such disputes and has through negotiation and, where necessary, litigation obtained favorable outcomes for those who are victims of corporate oppression. For example, he previously represented an emergency room physician who was wrongfully expelled from her professional group and through litigation he obtained for her a large financial settlement.