If you are a minority shareholder in a closely held or privately held corporation, you have financial interests and rights that are worth protecting. Do the majority shareholders at your company share your concern? Alternately, you may be a majority shareholder who is looking out for the interests of your business as a whole. Have you been sued alleging that you engaged in shareholder oppression?
In either situation, the Houston business litigation lawyers at Hendershot, Cannon, Martin & Hisey, can help you fight back. With more than 25 years of experience to guide us, we use thorough preparation and aggressive strategies to help you effectively resolve shareholder oppression claims.
We understand recent changes to shareholder oppression law in Texas and can prepare the strongest possible case to protect your business interests. Call (713) 909-7323 or contact us online.
Shareholder oppression is an increasingly complex area of law in Texas. A recent ruling by the Texas Supreme Court has blocked many claims for shareholder oppression, but as a victim, you may still have options. For example, you may be able to obtain results through a claim for:
At Hendershot, Cannon, Martin & Hisey, we have the experience, knowledge and creativity to effectively litigate shareholder oppression claims. We have broad business litigation and transactional experience, which helps us understand the full extent of your need to protect your business interests.
With more than 25 years of experience advising businesses, we know how to get results that matter to you. We recommend protecting yourself even if you are not currently experiencing shareholder oppression. As the Texas Supreme Court has noted, the best way to do so is by having strong, clear agreements in place that establish your rights and privileges while providing mechanisms for resolving disputes. Our Houston business transaction attorneys can advise you on structuring rights and protections in shareholder agreements and other governing documents.
Majority shareholders can take several actions to unfairly prejudice minority shareholders. Shareholder oppression is an umbrella term that describes these actions.
The most well-known types of shareholder oppression are squeeze-outs and freeze-outs. A squeeze-out happens when controlling-interest shareholders attempt to force minority shareholders from the company. A freeze-out happens when majority shareholders prevent a minority shareholder from liquidating his or her investments.
Squeeze-outs, freeze-outs and other types of shareholder oppression can include majority shareholder actions such as:
Our firm represents both minority shareholders who believe they are victims of shareholder oppression and shareholders who have been accused of shareholder oppression. Because we have more than 25 years of experience with shareholder disputes, we aggressively defend against shareholder oppression claims as well as serving as plaintiffs' counsel.
In the past, victims of shareholder oppression often resolved their problems through shareholder oppression claims. In Texas, there isn't any shareholder oppression statute, but lower courts had long recognized a common law cause of action for minority shareholder oppression. This common law cause of action allowed minority shareholders to favorably settle claims of oppression and would even allow the court to order a forced buy-out
In 2014, however, the Texas Supreme Court dramatically changed shareholder oppression law. In Ritchie v. Rupe, the high court considered a claim for shareholder oppression. In its ruling, the court declined to recognize a common law cause of action for shareholder oppression. For shareholders, this means that in most cases, you may no longer sue majority shareholders for oppression or a forced buy-out without a written agreement.
With creative, experienced legal counsel, however, remedies may still be available for shareholder oppression claims and defenses. Experienced legal help from a firm like Hendershot, Cannon, Martin & Hisey matters now more than ever.
At Hendershot, Cannon, Martin & Hisey, our business practice spans two decades and includes experience with legal issues from business formation through litigating complex shareholder disputes. We have the knowledge and experience to assess and advise you on shareholder disputes - and can execute the legal strategy you need towards success.
Don't wait until it's too late to protect your valuable stake in your business. Best results require prompt action to obtain evidence, investigate damages and preserve the value of the business.
Call (713) 909-7323 or contact us online to schedule a private consultation with our firm.