If you are a minority shareholder in a Wisconsin company and the majority shareholder(s) treated you unfairly or caused you financial harm, you likely have strong legal rights and options. Further, a lawyer whose practice focuses in such disputes could help you on a contingency basis or another fee arrangement where out-of-pocket costs are reduced or eliminated. The attorney could temporarily join any regular advisers you may have (e.g. accountant, business-transactional attorney) until the dispute is satisfactorily resolved.

With the right legal assistance, certain shareholder disputes, even when highly-contentious, can reach a very successful resolution– sometimes quite promptly, via a settlement before a legal complaint is filed or before prolonged litigation occurs. Whether or not litigation is an objective, a litigation attorney experienced in shareholder disputes and settlements could provide effective assistance to help resolve a dispute favorably for you.

To learn more about your potential legal rights and options, please contact attorney Michael Brown of DVG Law Partner, for a free and confidential evaluation. You can reach Michael at 920-858-2265 or mbrown@dvglawpartner.com.  Michael has represented minority shareholders in high-stakes disputes, settlements, and litigation. He has helped minority shareholders reach successful results, including seven-figure financial outcomes and other positive resolutions that ended long-disputed issues.

When Michael and DVG assess a minority shareholder’s rights as strong, they back that assessment by offering representation and fee options (i.e. contingency or other reduced-cost arrangements) through which DVG assumes financial risk. In sum, Michael and DVG help clients, in a financially-effective manner, favorably resolve disputes. Then you can resume business, and life, as normal, with any further professional advice resuming to typical issues and advisers.

Minority Shareholder Rights, Potential Awards (Damages), and Settlement Leverage

Minority shareholders who are treated unfairly often have very strong legal rights under Wisconsin laws.  Such rights may fall under one or more of the following areas of law:

  • breach of fiduciary duty law;
  • breach of contract law (including WI law recognizing bylaws, spoken agreements, etc. as contracts);
  • fraud or misrepresentation law;
  • laws permitting dissolution, appointment of a receiver, forced stock sale, or other relief with respect to a company being run in an oppressive or illegal manner;
  • conversion or related civil statutory claims;
  • civil claims relating to unfair trade or business practices, tortious interference, misuses of information, privacy violations and/or defamation;
  • certain employment law claims (e.g. wrongful discharge contravening public policy); and
  • equitable claims such as unjust enrichment, promissory estoppel, etc.

Many legal claims and theories above allow minority shareholders, if successful in litigation, to recover money (damages) to pay for their financial losses. Further, certain claims that are commonly available to minority shareholders, such as breach of fiduciary duty claims, are tort claims that could provide additional, punitive damages. Some statutory claims allow for additional damages awards, such as treble-damages provisions that could require an opponent to pay three times the value of financial losses caused to the minority shareholder.

Any lawyer– or non-lawyer — can talk about legal rights or possibilities like those above. But attorney Michael Brown and DVG have successfully exercised such rights in litigation and settlement negotiations. They have tangible court documents, favorable decisions and outcomes that substantiate their credibility in stating they are likely to get clients good results.

Whether or not litigation is pursued by a minority shareholder per the laws above, the shareholder’s ability to pursue such claims in court, his or her potential to recover a large legal award, and the involvement of a litigation attorney who could credibly litigate such rights if need be, are factors that provide very strong leverage for settlement negotiations and a strong likelihood for a favorable resolution.

Maybe you have attempted settlement negotiations that fell flat after your own efforts, or fell flat after being assisted by a business lawyer who is generally very helpful but whose practice is not litigation- focused. If so, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have a good “case”– nor does it mean that you don’t have the right tools or right adviser(s). Rather, the situation may be such that your matter does have strong potential to be resolved favorably. Any maybe an additional adviser (attorney), whose focus is in litigation and disputes, can make the difference in helping you to favorably resolve your dispute. Then you can resume life and business transactions as normal, continuing with your usual legal and business advisers involved in such activities.

Incorrect Assumptions or Beliefs About Legal Rights or Fees Often Derail Shareholders From Pursuing (Strong) Options

Despite the existence of the laws and rights above, many minority shareholders — for understandable reasons, based on common information they heard — have incorrect assumptions or beliefs about their legal rights. Many shareholders hurt their own cause by incorrectly interpreting certain legal concepts (e.g. “employment at will”, “right to work”, “business judgment rule” etc.) and by incorrectly believing they are blocked from having viable legal options. These misunderstandings by minority shareholders often occur because they rely on incorrect legal information from the internet or from persons (while well-intended) who are not litigation attorneys with courtroom experience debating litigation concepts in detail, or who do not have routine settlement-negotiation experience involving high-stakes shareholder disputes. Also, some minority shareholders wrongly assume that a litigation attorney’s fees would be too expensive for them to pursue their matter.

Please set aside any assumptions you may have if you contact Michael Brown and DVG Law Partner. If they evaluate your case to have strong potential rights and value, they will offer to assume some or all the financial risk for legal work on your case.  Michael and DVG have helped clients achieve excellent, highly cost-effective results in matters for which the clients had earlier believed (e.g. via their own initial research or via contacting another law firm) that they had no promising or affordable options.

More (Free) Information and Video

Please click this article link if you would like to learn more about shareholders’ legal rights. Please click the video link below to see DVG attorney Michael Brown discuss five factors to consider in a shareholder dispute:

You ultimately decide whether to try to address, settle or litigate your dispute.  Regardless, if you retain Michael Brown and DVG, your opponent will know it faces a credible prospect of litigation if a reasonable settlement is not reached.  Michael has received strong professional ratings as a litigator and has represented professionals in high-stakes litigation including cases that received significant media coverage. He has also helped clients reach significant settlements before litigation occurred or was needed.

For a free and confidential evaluation, please contact Michael at 920-858-2265,  mbrown@dvglawpartner.com or contact us.

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