Partnership Law In Florida: Know Your Legal Options If A Business Partner Uses An Opportunity For Themselves
You and your business partner should always be on the same side. If you find out that your business partner is actually competing directly against your partnership—perhaps by taking a business opportunity for themselves or for another business that they own—it can harm your interests. You have legal options available. In this article, our West Palm Beach partnership dispute lawyer provides a detailed explanation of your legal rights if you believe that your business partner is improperly taking advantage of a commercial opportunity for themselves.
Florida Law: Partner’s Duty of Loyalty Includes a Duty to “Refrain from Competing”
Partnerships are regulated business entities in Florida. Under Florida Statutes § 620.8404, business partners owe two main duties to each other: A duty of loyalty and the duty of care. In effect, this means that business partners have a legal responsibility to remain loyal to the partnership and they have a legal responsibility to manage the business with reasonable prudence.
As part of a partner’s duty of loyalty, the statute states that they must “refrain from competing with the partnership in the conduct of the partnership business before the dissolution of the partnership.” In other words, a business partner that is taking an opportunity for themselves instead of working through the partnership is likely violating their duties under Florida law.
Four Options If You Believe a Business Partner is Usurping an Opportunity
Do you believe that your business partner is improperly usurping a key business opportunity for themselves? If so, it is imperative that you take proactive measures to protect your rights and your interests. Here is an overview of the four basic options that you have to address the matter:
- Do Nothing: You can always do nothing. That being said, failure to act could mean that you lose your chance to challenge the violation of the duty of loyalty. Further, your business partner may continue to take advantage of opportunities for themselves in the future.
- Discuss the Matter (Attempt Settlement): You can address the violation of the duty of loyalty without taking legal action. Most often, this means trying to work out some type of settlement. This can be especially if your business partner was not acting in bad faith.
- Sue Your Business Partner: While it is a big step, you can sue your business partner for breaching their duty of loyalty. You may be entitled to a financial remedy or other legal remedy, such as injunctive relief.
- Dissolve the Partnership: Finally, in some circumstances, the competition against the partnership may render your partnership business unworkable. You can move for the dissolution of the partnership and then splitting of the remaining assets.
Seek Legal Help From a Partnership Law Attorney in West Palm Beach
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, we have the legal skills and professional experience to represent clients in partnership disputes. If you have any questions about disputes over the usurpation of a partnership opportunity, we are here as a legal resource. Call us now to set up your confidential appointment. We provide commercial litigation representation throughout all of Southeastern Florida.