A recent issue of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly features discussion with Steve Riden in an article titled “In family business dispute, appraisal right deemed waived.”

The article covers a decision by a Massachusetts Superior Court judge concerning a close corporation dispute. The decision was entered in the case titled Szawlowski Potato Farms, Inc., et al. v. Szawlowski, et al.

The decision addresses a situation involving a dispute among family members in a close corporation. The estate of one family member sought to exercise certain rights under the owners’ shareholder stock redemption agreement. However, after undertaking a close analysis of the parties’ agreements and communications, the court ruled that the estate waived its contractual right to seek an appraisal of the decedent’s ownership interest in the company.

In the article, Steve Riden is quoted as follows:

Boston attorney Stephen D. Riden said apparently it was particularly helpful to the companies that, in the notice of their intent to repurchase the decedent’s interest, they had flagged the trustee’s deadline to request the appraisal, which made it easier for the judge to find waiver of that right.

For his part, the trustee seemed to have treated the notice as an invitation to negotiate a settlement of all disputes between the parties, which Riden called “a completely appropriate strategy.”

But at the same time, the trustee needed to expressly exercise his appraisal rights under the contract.

“The lesson there is to still keep your eye on the ball and make sure that you’re sticking to the terms of the contract in case the effort to negotiate fails,” Riden said.

The article is by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly’s reporter, Kris Olson.

Steve has substantial experience representing owners involved in intra-corporate disputes, including shareholder litigation and close-corporation control matters.

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