I had a company with a partner. I bought his 51pct of the company. I signed a handwritten piece of paper saying KC Lacing INC will purchase all parts and accessories from CRF INC.
After the split I started a new company KP INC but with a dba KC lacing. I deleted the company that had the agreement. I feel that I am no longer tied to the paper I signed because that company KC LACING INC is no longer a business. I am currently doing business as another company.
He says he is taking me to court. Do you think he has a case? I am in CA.
3 Answers from Attorneys
Unfortunately, with the few facts that you have given there is no way to determine whether or not he has a case.
Given the fact that there is a threat of a lawsuit and you deem the threat serious enough to post a question, it would seem like he is going to be filing a lawsuit.
I think you should at least consult with an attorney to review the documentation and go over the facts with you in order to get a better idea of whether there is a valid basis for a lawsuit and/or to discuss defenses to any such lawsuit.
J Caleb Donner
We cannot follow the facts given, much less evaluate the potential plaintiff's chances for success, if and when he files a suit. Nevertheless, as a general rule, a court will find a theory upon which to enforce a written agreement of the sort you mention. For example, is it crystal clear that you signed as an officer of the defunct corporation, or could it be interpreted as your personal obligation? Also, between the Corporations Code and the common law, there is almost no way a corporation can go out of business without corporate and shareholder liability to creditors IF the shareholders get preferential distributions of corporate assets.
From the facts you lay out, it also sounds like he may have a good case for fraud, if you signed the deal and at the time planned to close the original business and open a new one to avoid the agreement.
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