Thursday, February 14, 2013

Summers v. Dooley case brief

Summers v. Dooley case brief summary
94 Idaho 87

PROCEDURAL POSTURE: Plaintiff, an equal partner in a trash collection business, appealed a judgment of the trial court (Idaho), which granted him only partial relief on his claims for reimbursement of costs he incurred by employing a third man to work for the partnership. Plaintiff had brought suit against defendant co-partner pursuant to the Uniform Partnership Law, Idaho Code § 53-101 et seq.

-Despite defendant's repeated objections to plaintiff's request to hire a third man to work for the partnership, plaintiff hired a new employee, paid him $ 11,000 out of his own pocket, and sought reimbursement from defendant.
-On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court's decision to award plaintiff only partial relief in the amount of one half of $ 966.72. The court held that, because the parties' partnership agreement did not specify otherwise, the business differences between the parties should have been resolved by a by a majority of the partners pursuant to Idaho Code § 53-318(8).

The court determined that plaintiff was not entitled to full reimbursement of the expenses he incurred when unilaterally hiring a new employee over defendant's objections because it would have been manifestly unjust to permit recovery of an expense that was incurred individually and not for the benefit of the partnership but rather for the benefit of plaintiff.

UPA 18(h) - Any difference arising as to ordinary matters connected with the partnership may be decided by a majority of the partners
-The fact that a proposal benefits the partnership does not require the partner to agree.
-Dissolution would have been an appropriate action.
UPA 18(e) Absent contrary agreement, every partner must be consulted in partnership decisions.

OUTCOME: The court affirmed the judgment granting only partial relief on plaintiff's claim for reimbursement of costs that he personally incurred in connection with the partnership.

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