Minority owner vindicated after partners steal business
William Junge created a business with James Bartles and Oscar Burrell, with each man being a one-third owner. They were stunned when they did more than a million dollars worth of business in the first year, moving and installing equipment. Apparently, the business was destroyed by its success, as disputes arose over use of credit cards, withdrawal of profits and job performance. Ultimately, Bartles and Burrell opened a new, competing business using the same employees and serving the same customers, but without Junge as an owner. He sued, alleging an equitable claim of ownership in the new company. While he was denied treble damages or attorney fees, the Court of Appeals upheld the lower court's award of one-third of the book value of the new business.