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Colorado Mediator Helping Clients Resolve Business Disputes
Business partnerships are often formed under circumstances of trust, optimism, and faith based on a common sense of entrepreneurship and vision. Partners believe their commonalities will endure and hope for long-term success and harmony in perpetuity. Successful and thriving businesses may nonetheless see disputes between business partners about direction, control and succession of business. Mediation of business partnership disputes can be an efficient and productive use of resources and energy for business owners facing repeated or issue-specific disputes.
A company facing disputes between its partners often lend themselves to mediation for a variety of reasons:
- The company governing documents lack clarity on issues of decision making, succession or buy-out.
- Viewed inequities or performance issues between business partners.
- Differing views about company opportunity and investment.
- M&A opportunities, including acquisition or sale of company assets, divisions or the business as a whole.
Bringing a mediator to a business partnership dispute who has the experience of seeing the downsides of contested, protracted litigation can aid in facilitation of a negotiated result.
50/50 Business Partner Disputes
Disputes involving business owners with shared decision-making responsibilities often lend themselves to attempted resolution through business partner mediation. When decision making is shared equally between two partners or two voting blocks of owners, governance might never reach mandatory “majority” or requisite voting. Depending on the circumstances, business partner mediation can be a regular or issue-specific part of a company’s activities.
Deadlock Mediation and Arbitration
When deadlock occurs, a company’s governance documents may mandate mediation between business owners, members and shareholders. Operating agreements and corporate shareholder agreements often include provisions for dealing with “deadlock.” Whether or not it is a defined term, the concept of deadlock is generally the inability to agree on a vote or other decision that has continued for a duration of time. Deadlock mediation is generally an agreed upon (or potentially mandatory) mediation of business owners to resolve disputes before escalation. Typical provisions include requirement of good faith, sharing of fees equally, and the binding nature of a mediated agreement or arbitration decision.
Escalation of disputes beyond mediation could involve mandatory arbitration. Arbitration of shareholder, member, and partnership disputes is another form of alternative dispute resolution that avoids a lengthy and costly court process. Decisions on limited and specific issues through mediation and arbitration can allow businesses to move forward.
Experienced Business Partner mediators Helping Companies Resolve Conflict
Our firm’s experience representing business owners in closely held businesses lead to our belief that business partner mediation services can guide parties to a better result in many cases. Mallon Lonnquist Morris Watrous, PLLC mediates business partner disputes through business lawyer Reed Morris. Reed Morris and Craig Watrous also represent parties in business partner mediations in their regular business and business dispute practices. Please contact our office to discuss meeting, scheduling of a business partnership mediation or representation in meditations.