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Business Litigation Archives

In Connecticut, Fair is Fair: Construing Fair Value and Other Considerations in Minority Shareholder Buyouts

There is perhaps nothing more disruptive to a closely held corporation or limited liability company than a disaffected minority shareholder. Irrespective of the merits of any complaints that an individual owner or shareholder may have, such an individual who believes that he or she has been locked out of decisions or oppressed can grind the workings of a company to a halt. However, in situations where issues of shareholder oppression advance to litigation, the law provides for resolutions allowing the parties to part ways short of full litigation. In exploring these remedies it is essential to consider that the protections afforded minority shareholders by the state of Connecticut are uniquely broad and substantial.

NY Company's Contract Terms Draw Fire from Connecticut AG

In Connecticut, businesses may have their contracts "undone" and be forced to pay restitution if the contract contains unfair or deceptive terms and provisions. In a recent settlement, Ferrandino & Son, Inc. (F&S), a New York business, agreed to pay damages based on alleged unfair trade practices in a snow removal contract with Connecticut subcontractors. The contract laid out a payment arrangement involving a flat rate for snow removal services and a tiered bonus structure for snow removal amounts above a 30-year "average annual snowfall." The contract signed by each subcontractor included an exhibit listing the snowfall averages that would be used to calculate bonuses, however the express language of the contract required that bonuses be calculated based on 30-year "historic snowfall averages." According to the CT Attorney General (AG)'s office, the actual benchmark used for calculating the bonus structure "was not based on any industry standard or verifiable mathematical calculations of site specific historic snowfall data, and thus was not a valid 30 year snowfall average for that site." The snowfall averages listed in the contract were much higher than actual historic snowfall averages, and as a result, even when snowfall was higher than average, the subcontractors received lower compensation than if historic data had been used to calculate the bonuses.

Standard & Poor lawsuit in Connecticut

A lawsuit was filed in Connecticut against Standard & Poor alleging that it fraudulently inflated credit ratings to gain customers. Though Standard & Poor attempted to have this business litigation moved to federal court, U.S. District Judge ruled that the case could rightfully be tried in Connecticut state court.

Outcome of patent dispute could determine what tools we will buy

Connecticut-based Stanley Black & Decker has found itself involved in an intellectual property dispute that could prevent the company from distributing or selling certain screw drivers and other devices in the United States. The patent infringement lawsuit was filed by STMicroelectronics (STM) with the U.S. International Trade Commission against a company called InvenSense Inc (IVN).

Connecticut nursing home disputes result in Chapter 11

An ongoing dispute involving five Connecticut nursing homes and its employees appears to have resulted in the nursing homes filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. A brief chronology of the dispute is as follows: (1) more than 600 workers at the nursing homes went on strike this past July; (2) a federal judge recently ordered the nursing homes to allow the workers to return to work; and (3) the five nursing homes filed for bankruptcy protection on February 24th.

Questions raised concerning executive compensation

Americans have been particularly sensitive about the salaries of executives during the past five years. Recently, the U.S. Treasury Department was criticized for approving salary pay-raise requests for 18 executives that worked at American International Group, Inc., General Motors Corp., and Ally Financial, Inc. - all companies that are receiving taxpayer-funded bailouts.

Connecticut hedge fund investigated by SEC

A Connecticut run hedge fund has come under the scrutiny of the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). Though the hedge fund in question appears to have performed admirably, accusations are being made regarding insider trading and breach of fiduciary duty occurring by at least five employees working for this company.

Mimicked songs prompt Black Keys to sue 2 companies

The Black Keys are an immensely popular band right now, having released the critically acclaimed album "El Camino" in 2011. Many people hold the album in high regard, especially two of the singles off the album titled "Lonely Boy" and "Gold on the Ceiling."

Legal action does not have to doom your small business

When a business -- any business -- gets sued by a current or former employee, the damage done to the brand and the current crop of employees can be severe. Local or national media can thrust a spotlight on the business; employees can become disheartened with the direction or atmosphere of the company; and it can cost the organization hundreds, thousands, or even millions of dollars to handle the legal side of the dispute.

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