Case studies of mediating emotive partnership disputes

Posted on March 02, 2017 by Jeremy Frost

Any dispute, even one relating to a business, is likely to be accompanied by high emotions, because we are still human, even at work.

I want to share with you two cases, both business partnerships, where feelings ran very high – including death threats – and all parties had reached a brick wall.

In the first case, the dispute involved three partners who owned and managed an Indian restaurant. They were divided into two factions, with the individual partners making allegations of assault and even death threats.  The next step would have been court proceedings, as both factions wanted the restaurant and the other side out. 

Instead of going to court, they turned to Frost Group for a resolution. I worked with the partners to calm the situation to a point where I could establish a mechanism that was acceptable to both.

It involved a compromise – as is often the case with mediation – but this solution did mean that the restaurant was transferred peacefully from one to the other.

The second case also relates to a business partnership which was breaking up. Each partner claimed that the other had been removing assets and acting in a manner detrimental to the partnership. Death threats were, fortunately, absent.

However, the claims that were being made needed to be checked and tested as a first step. I worked with both the partners to establish a methodology that they both agreed to, so that I could test those claims of each and place a value on them.  

As we were going through the process, it became apparent that a formal and challengeable adjudication process was needed, so Frost Group was appointed as Member Voluntary Liquidator. 

Once all the claims were adjudicated, we were able to bring the dispute to a close and the partners were able to move forward.