Articles Posted in Corporate Compliance

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This appeal arose from a conflict among the three members of IE Test, LLC (IE Test). After a dispute between defendant Kenneth Carroll and the other members, Patrick Cupo and Byron James, IE Test filed an action to expel Carroll, pursuant to the Limited Liability Company Act (LLCA). In 2004,Carroll and Cupo formed Instrumentation Engineering, LLC. Carroll owned a fifty-one percent interest in Instrumentation Engineering, and Cupo owned the remaining forty-nine percent. James was employed by Instrumentation Engineering, initially as Business Development Manager and later as Vice President. Carroll, Cupo, and James entered into a preliminary agreement stating intention to enter into an operating agreement for IE Test. Carroll claimed that Instrumentation Engineering owed substantial sums to him and his companies, and that became a point of contention among Cupo, James, and Carroll soon after they agreed to share ownership of IE Test. Carroll acknowledged that IE Test had no legal obligation to repay him for losses sustained because of Instrumentation Engineering's bankruptcy, but pressed for compensation that would allow him to recover some of his lost investment. By early 2010, Cupo and James were actively pursing a strategy to use the LLCA to expel Carroll as a member of the LLC. The trial court found in IE Test's favor on its claim based on subsection 3(c), reasoning that the "not reasonably practicable" language imposed a less stringent standard than did subsection 3(a). The trial court granted IE Test's motion for partial summary judgment and expelled Carroll as an LLC member. Carroll appealed. In an unpublished opinion, an Appellate Division panel affirmed, construing N.J.S.A.42:2B-24(b)(3), and its counterpart provision in the Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act (RULLCA), N.J.S.A.42:2C-46(e), to mandate that a trial judge engage in predictive reasoning in order to evaluate the future impact of an LLC member's current conduct. The panel found that Carroll's relationship with Cupo and James never recovered from Carroll's demand that he be compensated in a manner that permitted him to recoup his lost investment. The Supreme Court reversed. Applied to the record of this case, the standard of subsection 3(c) did not warrant a grant of partial summary judgment expelling Carroll from IE Test. View "IE Test, LLC v. Carroll" on Justia Law

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This case arose from a business venture that was established by plaintiff Brendan Allen and defendant Asnel Diaz Sanchez. The venture was operated through plaintiff ADS Associates, Inc. (ADS), a corporation fully owned by Sanchez. Allen and Sanchez opened a business checking account in the name of ADS at a branch of Oritani Savings Bank where ADS had preexisting accounts. By agreement between ADS and Oritani, the new ADS account required the signatures of both Allen and Sanchez to appear on each check drawn on the account. Despite that limitation, Sanchez linked the new ADS account to other ADS accounts within his control and, through a series of internet transactions, transferred a substantial sum of money from the ADS account he had established with Allen to his other ADS accounts. After learning of these transfers, Allen sued Oritani and Sanchez. Although it dismissed Allen’s claims, the trial court permitted Allen to assert claims on ADS’s behalf against Oritani, notwithstanding Sanchez’s issuance of a resolution denying Allen the authority to maintain an action on ADS’s behalf. A jury returned a verdict in favor of ADS. The trial court, however, entered a judgment notwithstanding the verdict in favor of Oritani premised on an indemnification provision in the agreement governing ADS’s account with Oritani. An Appellate Division panel reversed the trial court’s determination. It found that the ADS resolution signed by Sanchez deprived Allen of authority to assert a claim on behalf of ADS. The panel held, however, that Allen could assert a common law negligence claim against Oritani despite the fact that he was not Oritani’s banking customer. It concluded that Allen had a “special relationship” with Oritani, and that Oritani had a duty to advise Allen of its internet banking policies when he and Sanchez opened the ADS account. The Supreme Court agreed with the trial court that Article 4A of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) governed the wire transfers at the center of this case, and that Allen could not assert a claim under Article 4A against Oritani because he did not meet the statutory definition of a bank “customer.” Furthermore, the Court held that Allen could not assert a negligence claim based upon an alleged special relationship with Oritani. Accordingly, the Appellate Division was reversed and the trial court's judgment was reinstated. View "ADS Associates Group, Inc. v. Oritani Savings Bank" on Justia Law