Hello, I am currently in the process of dissolving a business partnership that deals with landscaping and am seeking some professional advice. I will first provide you with some background knowledge of the business:My dad started the business with this same partner 12 years ago, thus building a great amount of clients. I worked for the company from its conception, and four years ago my dad had to relocate because of his primary job. I purchased his half of the business and become co-owner of the company with the same partner. This spring, I also am relocting because of my primary job and discussed this with my business partner. He told me that it is OK because he is wanting to do less lawn work anyways and this gives us a chance to exhaust the business. We decided to sell all of our equipment and split the profit on the sale. In late spring, he sent a letter to all of our clients and said that since I was leaving, the business as it was no longer would exist, and told them that he would continue to be in town and he basically just changed the name of the business. We cleared our bank account and split the reamining money (which wasn't much) 50/50. This, to me, said the business was no longer and anything that we owned as a business should not be able to be used without my permission for his "new" business. I, however, did not sqwak even a little when he used the equipment all summer. The sale of the equipment is to take place next month. Here is the part I am most concerned with: The primary income for the business is the "winterization" of sprinkler lines, which we have over 150 clients. He told me the only thing he planned on continuing was the winterization, so I asked if he would buy my half of the clients from me. He said he doesn't have to buy my half from me because he's not moving anywhere and the winterization clients stay with him. There are five other lawn services in town, and I know I could sell my half of the clients with no problem to one of them. My question is, am I owed my half of the client list (especially since he ended our business and just changed the name). If I am, what do I do to get my half if he refuses to give it up? Thank you for your time. Cory
State/Country relating to question: Montana
I have talked with him about giving me money to pay for my half of the clients, but he said he wasn't interested since I'm leaving. Also, we have no partnership plan in place
First, we can't give legal advice on here just legal information as is indicated in the website rules. If you would like to proceed under this understanding then I can try and assist you.Also, were there any written agreements in place?
No written agreement, and yes i would like you to try just using legal information
Great.You are going to have to file a lawsuit alleging that there was a "de facto" partnership and that the customer list is a property of that partnership and ask the court to order it divided, along with any other assets, or that compensation be paid. In addition, you are going to have to allege that the other partner contacting those customers is a breach of his duty to the partnership and you and ask that the court order that unless compensation is paid to buy the list, then he would be prohibited from working for them or contacting them.You are going to need a lawyer for this because it is a pretty technical argument to make but the attorney's fees should be recoverable based on your partner's actions.If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to ask but please do so my clicking on the Reply to Expert tab.We work for Positive Ratings, please click on one of the top three ratings or one of the Smile Faces, as this would be appreciated. We have recently implemented a new rating and feedback system. Please be aware that you are rating my courtesy and service as a professional, and not necessarily whether you like the information that you are receiving. Please bear in mind I can’t control what the law is and whether it helps you, I can only tell you what it says, and I assume you want truthful information.PLEASE DO NOT use the rating system to ask for more information or in an attempt to tell the website that you didn’t like the substance of the answer as it gives a NEGATIVE rating to me personally if your rating is one of the lower two.I believe in giving information that is to the point, but please remember that I can only base our answers on the information you provide and sometimes a misunderstanding as to what you are looking for or already know occurs so feel free to ask additional questions or for clarifications. Be very careful about looking at other internet sites that just post generic information without any inquiry into your facts because often those answers are dated, wrong, or wrong as applied to your facts. Please be aware that my answer is not legal advice, it is merely information. You should always contact a local attorney for legal advice.Several customers have asked how they direct a question to me in particular. If you specifically want me to provide information for you just put “FOR JD 1992” in the subject line and I will pick up the next time I am online.
Began practicing in 1992 and helped a number of businesses with litigation
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