Shareholder Oppression

Non-controlling business owners sometimes conclude that those in control are not managing the business in the interests of all owners. Wyche’s lawyers have the litigation and transactional experience to navigate the complex issues related to minority owner oppression and the variety of available remedies and strategies, including court trials and appeals of cases in these matters when the parties cannot reach agreement. We understand the deep divisions that can occur between owner factions and can lead to litigation seeking company dissolution or other remedies for allegations of misappropriation, self-dealing, and oppression by the control person or group. Frequently, the optimal resolution of these disagreements is a buy-out or split-up transaction where the factions go their separate ways. Our team of attorneys experienced in minority owner oppression can help seek optimal results for our clients in these contentious situations.

Representative matters include:

  • Represented non-controlling owners of a nationally known real estate development company in one of the largest and most significant minority shareholder oppression lawsuits in the history of South Carolina. Litigation was settled by clients’ purchase of controlling owners’ equity interests and resale of all equity interests to third party purchaser. The business transactions resulted in the clients receiving full value for their ownership interests in the various entities.
  • Represented the majority but non-controlling shareholders and other attorneys in litigation resulting in the division of South Carolina’s largest plaintiffs law firm.
  • Represented the minority shareholder in a company formed to develop a marina on Lake Keowee. The trial court ruled that the majority had engaged in shareholder oppression, and this result was affirmed by the South Carolina Supreme Court in the first appellate decision in the state finding that shareholder oppression could occur in a start-up venture before business operations have commenced. Ballard v. Roberson, 399 S.C. 588, 733 S.E.2d 107 (2012). On remand, the trial court ordered the defendants to purchase our client’s stock for $3.7 million.
  • Represented minority shareholder in manufacturing business in litigation against corporation and controlling shareholders. Case settled with buy-out of client’s stock.
  • Tried a multi-day case for a minority shareholder in a large retail business in Bankruptcy Court, resulting in a court finding of oppression and stock purchase.
  • Tried a multi-day case for a minority shareholder in a large real estate business in Federal Court, resulting in a court finding of oppression and stock purchase, and prevailed on appeal to the Fourth Circuit to secure an award of attorneys’ fees.
  • Defended majority shareholders in a professional service business in litigation, negotiating a stock purchase and resignation of a minority shareholder.
  • Represented fifty percent shareholder in retail business against other shareholder who managed the business. Our client sought derivative recovery and corporate dissolution. Case settled on second day of trial with defendant giving up stock, the outcome desired by our client.

Lead Contact:

Gregory (Greg) J. English


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