In previous blog posts, I made some comments about the importance of retaining a well qualified business valuation expert in minority oppression litigation. Again, the retention of a well qualified business valuation expert may be the second most important decision a client will make (the first being the selection of an attorney who knows how to handle this type of litigation) during the course of the case.
There should be a good working relationship between the attorney and the business valuation expert.
The attorney is responsible for requesting the production of documents which are essential to the expert being able to conduct their valuation. Typically, an attorney will request the past five years worth of tax returns and financial statements. The document requests should be custom tailored for the facts of the case. I also think it is a good idea for the expert to meet with the client to discuss the nature of the business. If the client does not understand the business (in the case of a pure investor or an outsider to the business's affairs), the attorney may obtain essential information about how the business works by asking appropriate questions during the course of depositions and/or requesting that the expert be given an opportunity to interview those with knowledge. A good attorney will use the discovery tools at their disposal develop the facts which could prove oppression along with making sure that the expert has all of the information needed to author a well reasoned opinion of value.
Scott Unger is a Shareholder in Stark & Stark's Lawrenceville, New Jersey office concentrating in Shareholder & Partner Dispute Litigation. For questions, or additional information, please contact Mr. Unger.