“Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns —

Was it your long-time confidant who says your fiancee isn’t good enough for you and then runs off and marries her, or a seller’s remorse on a hundred-million dollar scale? We don’t know yet, but in Allen v. Devon Energy Holdings, a Houston court set guidelines for the trial of a case involving redemption of a member’s ownership interest in a limited liability company for a fraction of the amount he would have received in the sale of the entire company 20 months later.

This was an appeal of a summary judgment, not a trial, so no actual wrongdoing by anyone was established.

The facts are complicated and the legal analysis is detailed, which makes this post longer than usual. For lawyers, it is a quick treatise on the ins and outs of fraud claims and a warning that the “boilerplate” in your agreements might not be as effective as you think. For non-lawyers, it is about legal issues that could affect behavior among members of LLCs and shareholders of corporations, whether majority or minority owners.

Having tried in vain to avoid the turgid legalese non-lawyers have come to expect from people like me, I’ve inserted musical interludes about cheatin’ and betrayal that should help alleviate the stupefying boredom you are about to experience. For example:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OIgZQj1aqs

 Enjoy!


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