How to Resolve a Shareholder Dispute When There is No Shareholder Agreement
As described by the Cornell Legal Information Institute, a shareholder agreement is a binding contract between the shareholders of a corporation. While they provide clarity and legal protection, a shareholder agreement is optional. This raises an important question: How is a dispute resolved if there is no shareholders’ agreement? Here, our Miami shareholder dispute attorneys highlight the key things you should know about resolving a shareholder dispute without a shareholder agreement in Florida.
No Shareholder Agreement in Florida? Look to the Corporate Bylaws
As noted above, a shareholders’ agreement helps to lay out the rights and responsibilities of shareholders. A well-crafted shareholder agreement reduces the risk of an internal dispute between a company’s shareholders. If there is no shareholder agreement, then the next place to look for guidance is the company bylaws.
Under the Florida Business Corporation Act, a corporation must have bylaws. A corporation’s bylaws are its established rules and responsibilities for majority shareholders, minority shareholders, corporate directors, and corporate officers. When there is no valid shareholder agreement, the bylaws will serve as the basis for resolving a dispute between shareholders.
Corporate Bylaws are Often Different to Parse
One of things that makes referring to corporate bylaws challenging is that they do not always speak directly to the issue that is at stake in the shareholder dispute. An experienced Florida shareholder rights lawyer can review your company’s bylaws and help you understand how they will affect your rights in a legal dispute. Beyond those bylaws, minority shareholders also have some basic legal rights under Florida state law. Florida’s shareholder laws could be an issue in your case.
Protect Your Rights and Find the Best Path Forward
Once you have reviewed corporate bylaws, it is important to take a moment to consider your position. You need to ask yourself some important questions, such as what is the nature of your dispute, what are your goals, and what legal options do you have available to protect your financial interests? There are several paths to resolving a shareholder dispute, including:
- Negotiation or mediation between the parties;
- Binding arbitration before a neutral third party; or
- Shareholder litigation.
Some shareholder disputes can be resolved without causing damage to the working relationship between the parties. However, in other cases, one (or more) shareholder may be better off selling their stake in the business. An experienced South Florida shareholder law attorney will protect your rights and help you work towards the solution best suited for your circumstances.
Get Help From Our Miami, FL Shareholder Dispute Lawyers Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida shareholder law attorneys provide exceptional, results-driven advocacy to our clients. If you have any questions about shareholder disputes when there is no shareholder agreement in place, our legal team is more than happy to provide advice and support. Contact us now for a confidential initial consultation. We represent shareholders in Miami, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and communities throughout all of Southeastern Florida.