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Monday, December 12, 2005

Fascinating Case Study for Business Organizations Profs

This Sunday's New York Times has a great study on the travails of a small business -- not on the Business pages, but rather in the Arts & Leisure section.  The article documents litigation involving the Audubon String Quartet, a 31-year-old classical string quartet based in Virginia.  In 2000, three of the quartet members booted their lead violinist after relations between them soured.  The lead violinist sued and won a judgment of over $600,000.  The quartet is now being forced into bankruptcy and may be forced to sell its instruments.

The New York Times story is here.  Perhaps of more interest to business organizations profs, however, is this page, which links to all of the judicial opinions related to the case.  The initial opinion ruling in favor of the first violinist (David Ehrlich) is here.  The quartet was organized as a Pennsylvania nonprofit, but the court analogized the case to a freezeout/dismissal of a minority shareholder of a closely-held corporation.  Ultimately, the court found Ehrlich's removal to be oppressive and awarded him a quarter of the value of the corporation as well as attorney's fees.

I think the case would make for a great discussion about minority oppression, as well as some of the non-legal ramifications of a break-up of a group of artists.  As the leader of another quartet is quoted as saying, "To take [this dispute] to the court system seems contrary to the spirit of chamber music."

Posted by Matt Bodie on December 12, 2005 at 12:34 PM in Corporate | Permalink


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