Alters Firm Says Former Shareholder Relinquished Stock
Absent a written agreement, Logue said he could accept a verbal agreement, but there would have to be evidence of that. Logue expressed doubt that—were the case to be tried—a partner's lack of response to a tax form constituted relinquishment.
Todd Legon of Legon Fodiman in Miami, arguing for Brown, said, "If you're going to argue summary judgment, to me a lone K-1 prepared by a firm accountant doesn't create a genuine issue of fact to defeat summary judgment."
Alters also appealed the trial court decision granting discovery. Brown wants access to the firm's financial records. Ross argued the discovery demand was far more extensive than necessary.
Legon reminded the court that the discovery request was made when Alters was under investigation by The Florida Bar for alleged trust account irregularities.
"The whole issue here is about money," Legon said. "What cases did he have where money was coming in."
Ward's 2012 order stated Brown demonstrated "proper purpose for inspection of defendant's books and financial records ... in order to ascertain the value of the stocks, communicate with other shareholders and determine whether corporate affairs are being properly administered."
Ross argued the discovery request was not sufficiently limited. Rather, it was a "stalking horse for a shareholder's derivative suit," an attempt to exercise control over management.
And this was going on while Brown was trying to syphon off business, she argued.
"Here we have proof on this record of direct competition, trying to get cases away from the law firm," Ross said.
Alters has been sued by numerous former partners, and he said he has settled most of them. Alters is now a partner with Morelli Alters Ratner, which has offices in New York and Miami.