What are the Most Common Types of Shareholder Disputes in Florida?
A shareholder is an individual or institution that owns at least one share in a public or private corporation. Ultimately, a shareholder is making an investment in the underlying company. The value of a shareholder’s investment depends, among other things, on the continued success of the business.
A shareholder dispute is a disagreement among shareholders about the governance of the company. In practice, shareholder disputes come in a wide range of different forms. Here, our West Palm Beach shareholder & partnership dispute lawyers highlight three of the most common causes of action in shareholder disputes in Florida.
- Breach of the Shareholder Agreement
Many disputes arise because of an alleged breach of the shareholder agreement. A shareholder agreement is a contract between a corporation and its shareholders. In Florida, this agreement generally serves as the basis for a shareholder’s rights.
For this reason, it is crucial that shareholders understand their rights and responsibilities under the agreement. A carefully prepared and well-drafted shareholder agreement will both reduce the risk of a dispute and make it easier to pursue remedies should one occur.
If you are involved in a dispute over a shareholder agreement, it is crucial that you take immediate action to protect your rights and your investment. An experienced South Florida shareholder dispute attorney will review the agreement and help you find the best path forward.
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty
Shareholders have inherent rights beyond the specific terms of the agreement. In some cases, a shareholder may be able to file a breach of fiduciary duty claim against corporate directors, majority shareholders, or other parties. As explained by the Florida Bar Association, a fiduciary duty is an obligation to act in the best interests of another party. It is the highest standard of care under the law.
Many corporate officers and directors are fiduciaries. They have a heightened responsibility to act in the best interests of the company and its shareholders. If a corporate officer, director, or manager acted in bad faith or negligently, they may be liable for a shareholder’s damage through a breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit.
3. Minority Shareholder Oppression
Finally, some shareholder disputes arise because minority stakeholders believe that their rights are being violated by the majority shareholder. While Florida does not technically have a shareholder oppression statute on the books, minority shareholders are entitled to important rights under state law, including the inspection of corporate records. A minority shareholder who is being unlawfully taken advantage of by another clash of shareholders may have legal claim of oppression under Florida law.
Call Our West Palm Beach Shareholder Dispute Attorneys Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida shareholder law attorneys have experience representing clients in disputes. Shareholder claims are complicated. You do not have to go through the legal process alone. If you have any questions about shareholder rights, we are more than happy to help. Contact our firm today for a strictly confidential review of your case. From our West Palm Beach, Wellington and Miami offices, we represent shareholders throughout Southeastern Florida.