Jamie Batt speaks to BLJ about Partnerships and Professional Dissolution.
Jamie Batt, a partner in corporate law at Rupp Baase Pfalzgraf Cunningham, said sometimes the best solution doesn’t lie in making the client the most money, it’s about coming up with the best resolution for the parties and their future, from both a personal and business standpoint. She doesn’t want to cause any more stress for clients and their partners than they are already going through at the time of a dissolution.
“You want to make everyone as comfortable as possible with what’s going on and try to get the best outcome for your client,” Batt said. “You’re really trying to be a facilitator to try to get the parties to work together to best dissolve or sell the company or do whatever they have to do.”
She has has been through heated dissolutions and buyouts and said it’s imperative to remain calm so that hopefully it rubs off on the parties involved.
“When people are heated, that’s when they don’t make the best decisions,” Batt said. “You don’t want to make a decision on how you’re feeling at the time. You want to make a decision on what’s best in the long run.”
Amicable or hostile —
it makes a difference
The majority of these cases don’t make it to court, but conflicts that cannot be resolved amicably must be legally dissolved by a judge. They are often referred to as a business divorce. It typically calls for selling or liquidating assets at a distressed price, often to the detriment of the shareholders, owners or partners.
With 36 years of experience in litigation, Gottlieb has seen what happens when “vendetta, vengeance and destruction” rule the day rather than business sense.
“Clients make a decision — even with knowing that they can resolve it and save money — that they want to punish him, her or them, because maybe they feel like they got ripped off,” she said.
How the parties spent money and ran the business many times can lead to the dissolution, according to Batt.
“There have been times that there are differences in opinion as to how to run the business,” she said. “A lot of times you’ll see the partners get along for a period of time and then one of them does something that the other doesn’t like. That can cause some problems.”