Business litigation attorneys often hear a familiar refrain in partnership and corporate shareholder lawsuits: “I don’t care how much it costs!” Angry partners going through a business divorce are oftentimes more interested in revenge and total destruction of their erstwhile partner. After all the sense of betrayal and the ensuing anger that arises among spurned partners drives many litigants to declare war (a litigation war) on the other side. The trial attorney who handles the partnership dispute must (1) understand that anger, but (2) figure out what the best outcome for the client is and the formulate the strategy that will get him or her there.
Too often business litigation in the partnership context takes on a life of its own. Attorneys are more than willing to file lawsuits, fight vicious discovery battles and write nasty letters. The question is what will all of this litigation do for the client? How does a litigation war of attrition advance a client’s goals?
Partners who find themselves in litigation with another partner (and this includes corporate shareholders and limited liability company (LLC) members) should discuss their goals with their attorney and insist that their attorney formulate a plan for reaching that goal. An experienced business litigation attorney should help the client figure out what the goal is, even if the client insists on total destruction of his partner. I often advise clients to focus on the best result for themselves without worrying about what will happen to the partner. In litigation what is usually most important to a client is time and money. In other words if you can buy out your partner for a reasonable amount, stop incurring attorneys’ fees in litigation and then spend your time building the business to be even more successful, the result may be a good result for you (even if your partner gets more money than you think he should!).
Click here to read more about goals and strategy in Partnership Litigation: Suing Your Partner.