My husband wanted to start a car lot in which they went 50\50 on tools and equipment. The other guy did not do any research and found it was too expensive to start the business. My husband and I decided to start washing cars with equipment and the other guy said he would help. My husband also fixes cars and did a lot of work for that guy and never got paid. Then the guy said he wanted 3000 a month for calling people to see if they wanted car washes and said he don't do labor and won't wash cars. He began to act as if he owned the company and bossing my husband around wanting half of anything he made even fixing cars. We told him this was not working and want to split up equipment and part ways. Now he wants to sue us. Can he do that?
2 Answers from Attorneys
Obviously, partners can break up or close the business whenever they want. That is what is wrong with partnerships in general, and especially ones that don't have clear written partnership and operating agreements defining all the terms of the 'deal'. If the parties can't agree, then you might end up in court fighting over the investment, income and assets to be split. If it is economically worth hiring an attorney to help you, either to negotiate a settlement or to file suit, feel free to contact me.
This is a fairly complex question, and more information would be needed in order to fully answer it. Among other things, it would be important to know if the other person invested money in the venture or not, and how much each of you invested.
Absent an agreement to the contrary, you have the right to bring your relationship with this other person at any time, and settle your affairs with him. Of course, you can't stop him from suing you if he decides to do that -- the courts are open to everyone, and there is no screening mechanism at the courthouse door. It is not possible, however, to tell you who would prevail in that case or what the outcome would be.
A concerted attempt to settle probably makes sense. You may wish to suggest mediation to this other person, so that a neutral third party can help you find an arrangement that you both find acceptable.
I also suggest you contact counsel, if only for a consultation to see what your rights and responsibilities are. That lawyer can ask the necessary questions and provide confidential advice -- which we cannot do here.
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