Legal Question in Business Law in California

Is it legal to take all of my items from a storage unit paid for by my business partner?

CONTEXT: I have a clothing business (unofficial but I pay taxes) with a partner (she does not pay taxes, the reason the business has stayed unofficial). We worked well together for 7 years. During the pandemic we couldn't sell our inventory -- but this summer we could and I desperately wanted to (we have at least $200,000 of value in inventory). However, 28 months ago (the start of the pandemic) my partner moved out of state and stopped responding to my correspondence including multiple attempts I made this summer.

She is the one who pays for storage (we each pay different bills). I thought I was left with no choice but to sue her in order to access my 1/2 the inventory etc., but then I realized I could just take my items from storage, sever ties, and become a proper business.

I have proof that 1/2 the inventory is mine. Is it legal to take my items?

Asked on 8/29/22, 9:43 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Haapala, Thompson & Abern, LLP

It would seem it is legal for you to take and sell all the items since you are partners in the business of selling those goods. You should segregate her half the proceeds, net of expenses, and make all reasonable efforts to pay them to her. If you cannot get the payment to her for three years you may be required to deposit the funds with the Secretary of State as unclaimed property.

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Answered on 8/30/22, 1:14 pm

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