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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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I have a former business partner who has threatened to sue

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I have a former business partner who has threatened to sue me for damages, saying that I somehow made it difficult for him to sell the business. He has all the assets of the company and has refused to pay what he owes me, according to a signed agreement. If he slaps me with a lawsuit, can I just plead no contest? I'd like to get a judge to throw out the agreement entirely so that I'm free to start a competing company and fight my former partner in the marketplace, rather than a courtroom. I just don't want to spend time & resources on defending myself, despite having a good case against him.
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Utah
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: His attorney has sent a demand letter, threatening me. But no lawsuit has been filed.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: nope. thanks!

Hello...you asked:

If he slaps me with a lawsuit, can I just plead no contest?

A: "No contest" is a plea to a criminal complaint by the government. It has no application to a civil action, which is what your former business partner would bring against you. Your recourse is to either defend the lawsuit, and move for dismissal on grounds that the complaint fails to state a claim for which relief may be granted by the court (e.g., because making it difficult to sell a business is not a cause of action, unless your conduct rises to the level of a breach of fiduciary -- which means that you violated your duty to sell -- and you don't have a duty to sell, so that claim would be dismissd).

In any case, at this point, the claims are speculative, until your former partner actually sues. If the case were brought to me, I decline, because there's no case. But, some other attorney might take the case if he/she thought that there was money to be recovered. Again, all speculative at this point.

Bot***** *****ne, at this point, there's no point in worrying about this matter. Best thing to do may be to ignore your former partner, because sometimes, an adversary gets involved with other life issues, and the lawsuit that seemed so important, fades into the background. Whereas, if you start arguing with your former partner, that just puts the issues on the "front burner."

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