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Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 27689
Experience:  25 years practicing law
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I am being sued by a fellow sales rep who is alleging that

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I am being sued by a fellow sales rep who is alleging that we are business partners. I have worked for the same manufacturer for over 20 years. I am a 1099 independent sales contractor. 6 years ago I asked the CEO of the manufacturing company if we could bring another independent rep to help with a large account. He agreed and after a falling out resulting from many issues including a alcohol problem it was decided to terminate her. We worked jointly on the acct and shared commissions. The manufacturer paid each of us directly. We had no joint bank accounts, did not file taxes as a partnership with 1065s or K1 and she filed in the state of Washington as a sole proprietor. The manufacturer paid the bulk of the accounts marketing and expenes although we did split some expenses like travel when we were together. Does she have a case?
Dear JACUSTOMER - Based on these facts I see no basis for the suit. Having said that, anyone can sue anyone and the suit must be defended. You need to file an answer and deny the existence of any "partnership". She would have the burden of proof to show how there was a partnership formed between the two of you and I would assume the company would back you up by stating that you were each independent contractors. If she was receiving separate 1099s and had separate bank accounts etc. I can't see where there would be a partnership relationship. If you want to provide me with any more details as to how she believes there was a partnership I will be happy to comment further but based on what you have said I see nothing that resembles a partnership.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The only thing I can add is that we were in a personal relationship and lived together. We kept all finances separate, including business and personal

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The only thing I can add is that we were in a personal relationship and lived together. We kept all finances separate, including business and personal. The CEO of our company will testify that I did call and get his permission to bring her in.

Washington does not recognize common law marriage and this is obviously a domestic problem rather than a business agreement. The suit has no basis and any court would see through such nonsense. She can't turn a personal relationship into a business partnership just because the personal relationship failed.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Can commissions paid by the manufacturer to independent contractors be considered partnership profits? As crazy as this sounds this is what she is alleging. Thanks
This is really an argument that has no basis. As I said above, she is trying to establish a domestic partnership through a business since she has no action in the domestic relations court under a common law marriage theory. If the checks were payable to you and there was no partnership agreement or marriage then the checks belong to you.