If your company is experiencing a dispute among co-owners or partners, please call us. Burford Perry attorneys will forge a business-savvy strategy to help you resolve untenable situations and get you back on track. Because corrosive conflicts can potentially cause businesses to fail from the inside, it’s vital to retain knowledgeable, experienced counsel to guide your organization through the minefields. Our background in this area runs deep: In almost every case we take on, we've already done one very much like it, which enhances efficiency and effectiveness. In addition, we’ll collaborate with you to staff your case according to your needs, resources and references. We truly take a client-centered approach.
Teamwork and tenacity resulted in $7.4 million arbitration award and successful forced buyout of client’s interest in Houston-area diagnostic imaging centers
Burford Perry client Muhammad Salim funded the startup of a chain of imaging centers in the Houston area. His investment initially performed well. He received regular profit distributions, often rolled those distributions into starting new centers, and the number of imaging centers continued to grow. Then the distributions and the reporting stopped. He was shut out completely.
Burford Perry Approach:
We replaced existing counsel just as the trial court compelled arbitration over our client’s objections a year into the lawsuit, just before the COVID-19 pandemic began. We embraced the arbitration process and the speedy relief it presented instead of fighting it. We pressed in the arbitration for full transparency of company books and records, which exposed tens of millions of dollars in self-dealing management fees. We pursued derivative claims directly in our client’s name for the company against the other owners who had benefitted from the self-dealing. And we worked with experts to explain what company governance should look like and to prove our client’s damages. This all happened while our courts were effectively closed to trials during the pandemic.
In mid-2021, partners Robert Burford and Brent Perry led a nine-day online arbitration hearing. The arbitration panel awarded our client $7.4 million in damages and expenses. We were able to show that justice required awarding damages directly to our client against the other owners, as opposed to permitting the other owners to repay the company. This trial court quickly confirmed the award. The final judgment led to Salim’s complete buyout as a one-third owner of the imaging center chain.
The case is Muhammad Salim, et al. v. Fuad Cochinwala, et al.; Cause No. 2018-68927; In the 234th Judicial District of Harris County, Texas
Featured Client Story
We get it—we know all the contours of business and types of disputes that arise
By serving numerous companies of all sizes and in a wide range of industries, our attorneys understand how businesses operate, how they're supposed to be governed, and how they make money. We have years of experience in this area and recognize that running a company is a complex, ever-changing process that involves a great deal of decision-making and a wide spectrum of challenges. Disputes don’t always appear overnight; sometimes small differences are allowed to grow until they become all-encompassing.
The circumstances that tend to spawn conflicts include: disagreements over the business’s or partnership’s growth and direction; an imbalance of power or work allocation among the co-owners; employment decisions; expenses, including personal use of company funds; tax payments; asset division; debts; legal matters; embezzlement; breach of fiduciary duty. We have successfully handled these and other related disputes.
Clients benefit from the convergence of our legal and business experience
Our team of lawyers maintains in-depth insight into how these types of disputes negatively affect day-to-day operations and jeopardize financial success and customer-service capabilities. In some cases, co-owners not only fail to live up to their obligations, but they’re also engaging in destructive behaviors that damage the company’s well-being and reputation. Owners and partners also turn to us when they’re unable to get money out of their business—or if someone else is extracting more than their fair share of compensation or profits.
Clients retain us because, in addition to our highly regarded litigation and dispute resolution skills, they also value our hands-on business experience. One of our partners previously ran his own business, another served as a tax attorney and as a public accountant for two national accounting firms, and one brings a background in finance to his legal practice.
Always serving you with skill, empathy, candor and a steady hand
Whether your organization is a two-person partnership or a large publicly traded corporation, our lawyers have the litigation acumen to resolve matters advantageously for you. We also know that intra-company battles can be messy and emotionally-charged. But our cohesive team will evaluate your case calmly and rationally and give you honest and candid assessments of your standing and options. We’ll also make immediate and prudent moves to protect your business and your personal interests.
Diligence, preparation and flexibility pave the path for success in negotiations or at trial
Our success for clients is grounded in hard work and preparation. We take the time to uncover and examine the relevant documents, financials, contracts, and correspondence to lay out a clear picture of what's going on and what's required to fix it. We know where to look for the facts, which means we investigate efficiently.
Staying flexible during every stage of the process, we avoid cookie-cutter approaches and forge an optimal path, whether that means hammering out an amicable solution for the owners to continue working together and building a business, negotiating a beneficial settlement, or taking the case all the way through a trial. That is, while we read the room well during settlement negotiations and often provide clients with favorable resolutions using that approach, we always stay ready to take the case to the courthouse. We know how to marshal the facts, place them into a compelling narrative, deliver them persuasively, and come out on top.