Partnership Issues

Partnership Issues

Our lawyers negotiate and litigate disputes between the owners of New Jersey taverns, restaurants and bars.

Owners generally begin their venture with high hopes and confidence in their partners.  However, the pressures of operating an entertainment establishment often creates issues between them.  We try to resolve these issues with the minimum possible disruption to the business.  When it may possible to resolve disputes through negotiations, we strive to do so keeping our clients’ best interests as our focus.  However, when it is not, we aggressively fight for our clients’ rights.

Our business attorneys bring a mix of skills which have helped us successfully represent many business owners.  We bring decades of experience in negotiating partnership disputes.  Indeed, Maurice McLaughlin has been appointed by New Jersey’s Superior Court as a mediator in business disputes for more than a decade.  We also have decades of experience successfully litigating and arbitrating disputes which cannot be resolved through negotiations.  Our experience allows us to bring New Jersey partnerships, corporate and LLC laws to our clients’ advantage.

Moreover, tavern and restaurant owners have unique issues not faced by other businesses.  There are health regulations and New Jersey’s alcoholic beverage control (or “ABC”) laws which strictly regulate establishments and affect these disputes.  For example, what happens to a partner’s interest when he is convicted of a criminal offense and can no longer own a liquor license?  Our attorneys help restaurant and tavern owners successfully navigate these issues.

The Importance of a Well-Drafted Agreement Between the Owners

Regardless of the form of business entity the owners have chosen, it is important that they have a well-drafted agreement between them to govern their rights and responsibility from the start.  Their partnership agreement, shareholder agreement if they have chosen to be a corporation, or LLC operating agreement if they are a limited liability company, will govern their rights and responsibilities in a dispute.  That is why having a well-drafted agreement so important.  We have drafted agreements between the owners of many different types of successful businesses.


Negotiating to resolve a dispute early is often the best course of action.  This can often ensure that minor disputes do not become major which damage the business.  It is therefore important to address problems early, before they are allowed to grow out of hand.  Our business attorneys pursue negotiations when they can result in an agreement which is in our clients’ interest, and have had considerable success in doing so.


In mediation a neutral person will work with the parties to try to bring them together to reach a voluntary agreement.  Under the law in New Jersey, mediation agreements are fully enforceable, so any settlement can be enforced in court.  We have decades of experience and have had considerable success in mediating disputes between business owners.


Arbitration and mediation both involve the use of a neutral third-party.  However, unlike mediation, in arbitration the  neutral, known as an arbitrator, will review evidence, hear testimony and render a final decision.  Under New Jersey’s Arbitration Act and the Federal Arbitration Act, the arbitrator’s decision may be entered as a judgment and enforced through the courts.  However, while arbitration is generally swifter and less costly than litigation, there is no right to appeal a decision you disagree with.


Litigation comes in a wide variety of areas.  However, the crux of it is that one owner has violated the rights of another owner.  For instance, an owner with a majority interest may be using her position to the disadvantage of a minority owner she cannot do this, however, because majority owners owe a fiduciary duty to minority owners.  Our attorneys have been successfully representing owners of businesses in litigation for decades.

LLC’s, Corporations and Partnerships

Businesses running New Jersey taverns, bars and restaurants may take many forms.  The most common are limited liability companies (“LLC’s”), corporations and partnerships.  Each form has its own complex set of laws which govern disputes among owners.  The rules are complex and can have dire results.  That is why it is important to have an experienced business attorneys to draft a strong agreement which allows the owners to take their fate into their own hands, and to handle disputes through negotiation, mediation, arbitration or litigation when disagreements do arise.  Our attorneys are experienced at helping restaurant and tavern owners navigate this complex New Jersey regulatory environment.

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Call us at (973) 890-0004 or e-mail us to discuss your options with one of our business attorneys.

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