Partnership Disputes

By definition, a partnership dispute arises between parties who know each other well, and who have been close colleagues, and perhaps also good friends, for some time. A negotiated resolution is preferable where the parties have previously worked together, and trusted one another. But a negotiated resolution of partnership disputes is not always possible.

When litigation is necessary, we draw on our wide range of experience representing partners and partnerships in partnership-related disputes, and our deep experience as trial attorneys. We have successfully litigated partnership disputes in California state and federal courts, in arbitration before JAMS, AAA, and private arbitrators, and in mediation.

Litigating partnership disputes begins with the partnership agreement, or other organizing documents, but it does not end there. Partnership disputes may expand beyond just claims for payment to or from the firm. We have the experience necessary to litigate the relevant claims successfully, including:

  • Breach of contract
  • Breach of fiduciary duty
  • Breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing
  • Civil conspiracy
  • Tortious interference claims
  • Unfair competition (California Business & Professions Code §17200)
  • Violations of trade secrets
  • Defamation
  • Fraudulent inducement
  • Electronic privacy claims

Emergency relief, such as a temporary restraining order, or preliminary injunction, may be required to protect the firm’s or the departing partner’s interests. Depending on the nature of the claims, a range of potential damages may be recoverable, including, when provable, punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.
Partnership disputes are typically litigated in arbitration proceedings, but not always, and not automatically. We have significant experience compelling arbitration of such claims when required and in bringing and defending these types of claims in arbitration proceedings before JAMS, AAA, and other private arbitrators.

There is often a significant emotional element to litigating partnership disputes. For that reason, to litigate these types of disputes successfully, your counsel must help you identify, and separate, interests that can be vindicated through litigation from the emotional aspects, most of which cannot be resolved by litigating alone.

It is also critical to litigate any partnership dispute with practical and achievable goals in mind. We draw on our extensive experience handling these types of issues to provide the necessary context for these disputes, to devise a sound strategy for litigating them, and to employ the tactics needed to reach the goals.