Minority Shareholder Disputes

An intricate web of relationships binds together the shareholders, directors, and executives of a company. The complexities of these relationships often go unnoticed when business is good. But personal interest, disagreements, misunderstandings, or market downturns can disrupt the consensus, pitting former partners and allies against each other and putting control of the company and the wealth of the parties at risk.

The ending, unavoidably, often involves life long-time friends suing each other, brothers suing sisters, fathers suing their children. It gets very ugly very fast.  Because of the number of cases we have tried and resolved, and the millions of dollars we have dealt with in these cases, we are well-equipped to handle both the legal and personal side of these battles. Briol & Benson is here to guide our clients, whether in the minority or the majority, to a favorable resolution.

Notable Cases

Saving the company and the family.

Two brothers disputed the governance of one of the largest family-owned real estate conglomerates in the Twin Cities. Their father requested that Briol represent the brother who was not involved in the operational management of the company. Following the representation, the father credited Briol with achieving not only an excellent economic result, but also with restoring a level of family tranquility that had not existed for many years.

Briol makes the usurping siblings see reason.

The founder of a family-owned manufacturing company passed away and effective ownership of the stock passed to his three children. Two of the siblings excluded the third from management and manipulated shareholder distributions in an attempt to force the excluded sibling to sell out at fire-sale prices. When the trustee of the trusts for the excluded sibling retained Briol, Briol threatened a buy-out lawsuit. This prompted negotiations resulting in the sale of 100% of the company’s stock to a third party for a price in excess of prior valuations.