This is the next post in my series on issues surrounding the corporate bylaws and operating agreements of companies in Olympia, Tacoma, or elsewhere in the state of Washington. My last article discussed why companies should not create their bylaws from “self-help” forms. It is important to understand that template form contracts will not be tailored to your specific situation. This lack of customization can leave gaps in operations or business plans, seriously limiting, or even harming, your business. In order to avoid these problems, it is best to retain an attorney for the drafting of your agreements. In this article I will discuss litigating potential breaches of your corporate bylaws. If you require assistance, please contact my office to speak with a lawyer.
Situations arise where business owners may have disputes among themselves. Sometimes these are so serious and intractable that they cannot be resolved without litigation. Further, such disputes can even involve dishonest self-dealing, theft of intellectual property, embezzlement, or other malfeasance. More often, when a disagreement arises between owners, one may be “forced out” of the company in a way that he or she feels was wrong under the agreement. Finally, if the business fails or closes, it must be wound up – and that could leave one of the members with a great deal of debt that they personally guaranteed and a wish for their co-owners to bear some of that financial responsibility. These are just a few examples from an incredibly long list of the types of disagreements which can arise between business owners.
When litigating a dispute with your fellow business owners, it is important that you take steps to protect your interests immediately. The first of these steps should be to hire an attorney to help you with the rest of them. The next steps may help to keep the business operating or, at a minimum, mitigate any losses, debts or damages. One immediate step an attorney can often take is to file for a preliminary injunction to prevent ongoing or predicted future damage to the business. Counsel may also work to quickly schedule some form of alternative dispute resolution or reach some settlement so that the differences between the parties can be resolved as efficiently and inexpensively as possible. An experienced attorney can work to understand the specifics of your situation and craft an approach which best fits your goals. By retaining an attorney who is familiar with business law, you help to ensure that you have representation that will align with and support your long-term interests.
As an Olympia business law attorney, I have extensive experience in helping entrepreneurs who feel their corporate bylaws have been violated. I will use your initial consultation to gain a full understanding of your situation and to move your interests and to move your case forward. Contact us today. Our firm also serves the Thurston County cities of Lacey, Tumwater, and Yelm, the Pierce County cities of Tacoma, Puyallup, and Lakewood, the Lewis County cities of Centralia, Chehalis, the King County cities of Seattle, Auburn, Bellevue, Burien, and Federal Way, as well as other areas in Washington, including Grays Harbor, Mason, Cowlitz, and Pacific Counties.