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A Local real estate developer retained us to file an action in the United States District Court against a major life insurance company and its subsidiary for breach of a contract involving a joint venture agreement to acquire an internationally acclaimed high-rise building in Miami, Florida. After a jury trial lasting three weeks, at the close of testimony Defendants agreed to pay our clients $5,000,000. Michigan lawyers Joel Newman and former partner Norman Lippitt tried this case together.

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With proper planning, shareholder litigation can be one of the most easily avoidable areas of Business Litigation.

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It can also be one of the most fiercely contested. Throughout his career, Joel Newman has advocated the importance of proper business practices to avoid shareholder disputes, member disputes in LLC's and partner disputes. When needed, he is also one of the most well respected litigators protecting shareholder's rights. Joel handles trials involving; Minority Shareholder/Member Oppression, Breach of fiduciary duties, Business Breakup, Business Fraud, Family Business Litigation, LLC litigation, Medical Practice Breakup, Shareholder Inspection Rights, Shareholder Fraud, Shareholder litigation and Shareholder Rights. As you can see below, his results speak for themselves.

Defending Shareholder Oppression and Member Oppression Lawsuits.

Shareholder Litigation - In the first reported lawsuit under Michigan's Shareholder Oppression Statue, MCL 450.1889, the President and 50 percent shareholder of a multi-million dollar national enterprise retained Joel and one of his former partners Norman Lippitt, to defend a shareholder oppression lawsuit brought by his siblings seeking over $200 million in damages and other relief for alleged usurpation of corporate opportunities, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. After several years of pre-trial maneuvering and interlocutory appeals to the Michigan Court of Appeals and Michigan Supreme Court, the case went to trial. Shortly before trial plaintiffs hired a nationally known trial firm with billions of dollars of verdicts in its portfolio. After a jury trial lasting 11 weeks, the case was settled. While the results are confidential, our client believed we achieved a very favorable result.

Shareholder Lawsuits - Joel successfully defended the 51% owner of what was once the largest private road builder in the world when he was sued in Oakland County, Michigan for shareholder oppression, breaches of fiduciary duties and fraud. After numerous depositions and motions, our client bought the Plaintiff’s stock at a large discount and the case was dismissed.

Shareholder Litigation - A very successful Bloomfield Hills dentist brought in a young man to eventually buy his practice. The young dentist's mother, a former large firm trial lawyer, allegedly serving as the company attorney, drew up documents which in the fine print, gave her son 100% ownership before any payment was due. When our client asked the young dentist to leave he was told it was him that should leave. Our client's original counsel was overwhelmed when the attorney/mother filed ten separate administrative and civil actions claiming shareholder oppression, breaches of fiduciary duties, conversion and fraud against our client. We tried two of the lawsuits successfully. The others were dismissed.

Shareholder Litigation - Joel was lead trial counsel representing several related corporations in this shareholder oppression litigation. Plaintiffs' Complaint alleged shareholder oppression, fraud, breaches of fiduciary duties, usurpation of corporate opportunities and self-dealing. Plaintiffs sought almost $100 million in damages. The Plaintiffs' case was eviscerated in their cross examinations. At the close of Plaintiffs' proofs, the case settled. Plaintiffs gave up all damage claims, Joel's clients waived their right to attorneys' fees from the Plaintiffs, and the case was dismissed with prejudice.

Shareholder Litigation - A well-established tier-one automotive supplier entered into a contract with two partners of a big six international accounting firm to pursue acquisition opportunities. When the supplier discovered that the joint venture partners were pursuing separate opportunities for themselves, the supplier terminated the accountants' services. The accountants filed a breach of contract law suite against the supplier seeking $3,500,000 in damages. We filed an answer denying liability and a counter-claim for the accountant's breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duties and fraud. We obtained a no cause of action on the accountants' claim and a jury verdict of $2,000,000 on our counter-claim.

Protecting Shareholder Rights and Member Rights.

LLC Member Oppression - We represented a 1/3 member in an LLC which owned 10 separate entities, each of which operated a franchise restaurant. We filed a 10 Count Complaint against the controlling members in the Oakland County Circuit Court alleging, among other things, member oppression, breach of the operating agreement, breach of fiduciary duties owed to our client as a member, breach of fiduciary duties owed to the LLC, usurpation of LLC opportunities and civil conspiracy. Defendants were represented by a well-known and very aggressive attorney in one of the larger area law firms. Eight months into the lawsuit, Defendants capitulated and agreed to a settlement which included damages and a buy out of our client's interest at more than 10 times the amount of the value claimed by Defendants.

Shareholder Lawsuits - In this contingency fee LLC member oppression litigation, Joel represented a Plaintiff minority member who had invested his life savings and mortgaged his home to invest in an automotive business. The case was referred to Joel by another attorney, who had spent a year trying to settle the matter, only a week before the statutes of limitation would have run. We filed a multi-count lawsuit alleging minority member oppression, breaches of fiduciary duties, conversion, breach of contract and other counts. We pursued discovery and quickly discovered numerous discrepancies in the LLC’s books and records, including a second set of books. The case settled several months after we became involved for 15 times the amount offered to the prior attorney. The client says we saved his economic future, including his family home.