Fiduciary: One who holds goods in trust for another or one who holds a position of trust and confidence. Basically, partners are pulling for the same team and we all know what happens when one of the team stops pulling.
Would this scenario change if Carol’s business was out of town or the town so large that Carol’s business was not competition for the Ann Elk Tavern?
First, Ann has the duty to serve and must obtain Elkie’s consent before leaving. Elkie could sue Ann for damages, which would be the cost of finding a replacement for Ann’s service. Second, Elkie breached the duty to account by using partnership funds for personal use. Elkie surely will have a different view of her action, though! Third, Elkie probably exceeded her actual authority by hiring the waiters. However, in a partnership or limited liability partnership, every partner is a general manager of the business. On the other hand, if there is a written partnership agreement stating that Elkie is only to handle finance and accounting issues, Elkie has breach the duty to act within her actual authority.
The photo is either a team of doctors (perhaps a partnership) or it’s Halloween.
Spector sued Konover seeking damages stemming from Konover’s alleged breaches of his fiduciary duties in managing the Tri Town partnership. The trial court found that Konover proved that he dealt with Spector fairly and breached no fiduciary duty. Spector appealed to the Appellate Court of Connecticut. Appellate court stated: “Konover’s practice of diverting Tri Town funds to other entities and retaining interest earned on Tri Town partnership funds constitutes a breach of fiduciary duty.”
Loss-sharing agreements between partners do not bind partnership creditors unless the creditors agree to be bound.
The scope of this implied authority is determined with reference to what is usual business for partnerships of the same general type. Implied authority of a partner may not contradict a partner’s express authority, which is created by agreement of the partners.
Apparent authority exists because it reasonably appears to a third party that a partner has authority to do an act. Often, the implied authority and apparent authority of a partner are coincident.
The hyperlink is to the case opinion on the Findlaw.com website. The clip art is a mnemonic because NBN Broadcasting concerns radio networks. NBN Broadcasting, Inc. v. Sheridan Broadcasting Networks, Inc. : a partnership agreement designed to prevent and resolve conflicts between the two partners eventually caused serious disagreements. The partners wanted to be equal essentially, but a deadlock provision allowed one partner to dominate, eventually causing a breakdown of the partners’ relationship. It illustrates the necessity for careful drafting of partnership agreements, including anticipating that a part of the agreement may cause an undesired result.
When a partner commits a crime in the course and scope of transacting partnership business, rarely are his partners criminally liable. But when the partners have participated in the criminal act or authorized its commission, they are liable. They may also be liable when they know of a partner’s criminal tendencies yet place him in a position in which he may commit a crime.
Nicole Moren and her sister Amy Benedetti were partners in the JAX Restaurant in Foley, Minnesota. One afternoon in October 2000, Nicole completed her day shift at JAX and left to pick up her two-year-old son, Remington, from day care. She returned to the restaurant with Remington after learning that Amy needed help. Nicole called her husband, Martin, who told her that he would pick Remington up in about 20 minutes. Because Nicole did not want Remington running around the restaurant, she brought him into the kitchen with her, set him on top of the counter, and began rolling out pizza dough using the dough-pressing machine. As she was making pizzas, Remington reached his hand into the dough press. His hand was crushed, and he sustained permanent injuries. On behalf of his son, Martin sued the partnership for damages, alleging that it negligently caused Remington’s injuries. The partnership then brought a legal action against Nicole, claiming that if it was obligated to compensate Remington, the partnership was entitled to indemnity or contribution from Nicole for her negligence in allowing Remington to be on the counter where he could be injured by the pizza press. The district court issued a summary judgment for Nicole on the grounds that she had no obligation to indemnify JAX Restaurant so long as the injury occurred while she was engaged in ordinary business conduct. The district court also rejected JAX Partnership’s argument that its obligation to compensate Remington was reduced by the negligence of Nicole as a mother. JAX Partnership appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court. Appellate court: “The district court correctly concluded that Nicole Moren’s conduct was in the ordinary course of business of the partnership and, as a result, indemnity by the partner to the partnership was inappropriate. It is undisputed that one of the cooks scheduled to work that evening did not come in, and that Moren’s partner asked her to help in the kitchen. It also is undisputed that Moren was making pizzas for the partnership when her son was injured. Because her conduct at the time of the injury was in the ordinary course of business of the partnership, under the RUPA, her conduct bound the partnership and it owes indemnity to her for her negligence…. Judgment for Nicole Moren affirmed.”
False. Partners owe to the partnership and each other the highest degree of loyalty. False. Partners may compete with the partnership only upon the consent of partners. True. A partner isn’t liable to the partnership for honest errors in judgment (negligence), but is liable for losses resulting from gross negligence, reckless conduct, intentional misconduct, or a knowing violation of law. True.
True. True. False. For contract obligations of an LLP, only the LLP is liable. True.
The correct answer is (c).
The correct answer is (e). A partner in a trading partnership (with inventory) has implied and apparent authority to borrow money for partnership
The photo is a reference to the case because Moren was making pizzas for the partnership when her child placed his hand in the pizza dough press and sustained injury. Opportunity to discuss liability as a partner as well as public policy inherent in agency and partnership law. Would the outcome of the case have been different if Moren hadn’t been doing partnership business (making pizzas) at the time of her child’s injury?
Chapter 38 – Operation of Partnerships and Related Forms
Learning Objectives Duties of partners to the partnership and each other Compensation of partners Management powers of partners Liability for torts and crimes Lawsuits by and against partnerships and partners38 - 3
Duties of Partners to Partnership and Each Other Revised Uniform Partnership Act (RUPA) states that partners owe to the partnership and each other the highest degree of loyalty and must act consistently with the obligation of good faith and fair dealing (a fiduciary relationship) Same duty for all partnership forms38 - 4
General Duties General duties include duties to serve, account for use or disposal of partnership funds, act within actual authority, avoid interests adverse to the partnership, disclose material information, and maintain the confidentiality of partnership information “Silent” partners do not serve Partners may compete with the partnership only upon the consent of partners38 - 5
Example Ann and Elkie own the Ann Elk Tavern as general partners. Ann wants to invest in her boyfriend Brock’s auto shop and neighbor Carol’s Bar N’ Grill. Ann could invest in Brock’s shop without competing with the Ann Elk Tavern partnership, but should not invest in Carol’s Bar N’ Grill without first getting Elkie’s consent A tavern and a bar are too similar and may give rise to a breach of duty claim38 - 6
Example Ann is general manager of Ann Elk Tavern and Elkie handles the company’s finances and accounting. Ann wants to help Brock run his auto shop instead of working for Ann Elk Tavern. While reviewing the books, Ann discovered Elkie used company funds for a down payment on her car. Ann also found out that Elkie hired two waiters yesterday. What issues are raised by this scenario?38 - 7
Duty of Care Each partner owes a duty of care in doing partnership business A partner isn’t liable to the partnership for honest errors in judgment (negligence), but is liable for losses resulting from gross negligence, reckless conduct, intentional misconduct, or a knowing violation of law38 - 8
Duty of Care A partner must make business decisions that s/he has a reasonable belief are in the best interests of the partnership A partnership agreement may alter the duty of care, but may not eliminate the duty38 - 9
Spector v. Konover Partners agreed to build shopping plazas under a particular entity No written agreement Managing partner Konover diverted partnership funds to other entities and commingled funds Appellate court found Konover liable for breach of fiduciary duty by misusing partnership funds, self-dealing, and failing to disclose material information38 - 10
Compensation of Partners RUPA states that a partner is not entitled to salary or wages, even if disproportionate time spent conducting partnership business A monthly draw is allowable Instead, partner compensation is a share of business profits, offset by shared losses Shared equally unless agreement to the contrary38 - 11
Management Powers Every partner in a partnership or LLP is a general manager of the business Thus, by implied authority, a partner binds the partnership and partners for acts within the ordinary course of business Agreement among partners may expand, restrict, or eliminate a partner’s implied authority38 - 12
Management Powers A partner’s implied authority may not contradict a partner’s express authority created by agreement of the partners A partner’s express and implied authority together constitute actual authority38 - 13
Restricting Implied Authority When a partner’s implied authority is restricted or eliminated, the partnership risks the possibility that apparent authority to do a denied act will remain Partners may give notice of a partner’s authority or limitation of authority by filing a Statement of Partnership Authority or Statement of Denial with the secretary of state or the real estate recording office38 - 14
Power to Convey Real Property An individual partner’s transfer of real property owned by a partnership will bind the partnership if expressly, impliedly, or apparently authorized, or ratified by the partnership A partner has implied and apparent authority to sell real property if the partnership sells real property in the usual course of the partnership business38 - 15
Borrowing Money A partner may not borrow money in the partnership’s name without express, implied, or apparent authority A partner in a trading partnership (with inventory) has implied and apparent authority to borrow money for partnership A partner of a nontrading partnership (services) has no implied or apparent authority to borrow money38 - 16
Negotiable Instruments A partner with authority to borrow money has authority to issue negotiable instruments (e.g., promissory notes) for that purpose If a partner’s name is on a checking account signature card filed with a bank, the partner has express authority to draw checks Partners have authority to negotiate or transfer instruments (e.g., checks) for the partnership38 - 17
Management Decisions In general, management decisions in the ordinary course of partnership business are by majority rule, one vote per partner Unless otherwise expressed by agreement Some decisions not in the ordinary course of business require unanimous consent Example: a decision to expand or bring in another partner38 - 18
The Partnership Agreement Partners may modify management rules by their unanimous agreement: limiting or expanding authority, delegating powers, or creating classes of partners with special or weighted voting rights NBN Broadcasting, Inc. v. Sheridan Broadcasting N : a lesson in the necessity of careful drafting of an agreement38 - 19
Liability for Torts & Crimes Agency law respondeat superior doctrine is applied to determine the liability of the partnership and other partners for torts of a partner and partnership employees Partnership and partners are liable jointly and severally for torts of a partner committed within ordinary course of partnership business38 - 20
General Partnership as Entity Under RUPA, a partnership may sue or be sued in its own name Partners also may be sued since they are jointly and severally liable for partnership obligations (contract or tort) If partnership and individual partners sued, any judgment must first be satisfied from partnership assets, then from personal assets of the partners sued38 - 21
General Partnership Liability for Torts & Crimes A partnership and partners are liable: When a partner commits a breach of trust For a partner’s negligence (generally) Generally not for a partner’s intentional torts When a partnership and partners are held liable for a partner’s tort, they may recover the amount of their vicarious liability from the wrongdoing partner.38 - 22
The LLP & Tort Liability The limited liability partnership (LLP) was created to reduce personal liability of professional partners An innocent partner of an LLP has no liability for malpractice of partners LLP partners also have no personal liability for debts of the business, such as an invoice, leases, or loans38 - 23
LLP as Entity For contract obligations, only LLP is liable For tort obligations, LLP is liable as well as the partner who committed the tort Innocent LLP partners bear no liability However, in Moren v. JAX Restaurant, the court found a partnership liable to a partner’s child who was injured as a result of the parent-partner’s negligence38 - 24
Test Your Knowledge True=A, False = B Partners owe to the partnership and each other an ordinary degree of loyalty Partners may compete with the partnership as long as it does not harm the partnership. A partner is liable to the partnership for losses resulting from gross negligence or reckless conduct. A partnership may sue in its own name.38 - 25
Test Your Knowledge True=A, False = B In general, management decisions in a partnership are decided by majority rule. A general partnership is liable for a partner’s negligence. For contract obligations of an LLP, only the partners are liable. A partner with authority to borrow money has authority to issue negotiable instruments.38 - 26
Test Your Knowledge Multiple Choice Two accountants formed Caine & Able, LLP. The partnership and each partner was sued for Able’s alleged negligence. Who might be liable? (a) Only Able due to his negligence (b) Only the partnership, Caine & Able (c) The partnership and Able (d) The partnership and either partner, jointly or severally38 - 27
Test Your Knowledge Multiple Choice A partner in a trading partnership has what type(s) of authority for borrowing money? (a) Express authority (b) Implied and apparent authority (c) Actual authority (d) Implied authority (e) All of the above38 - 28
Thought Questions Do you think the result in the Moren v. JAX Restaurant case was correct? Would you have handled things differently?38 - 29