Carmichael vs. ABC Environmental (2014)
Saturday, April 11, 2015
In this private civil case, we represented Carmichael, an entrepreneurial engineer, who developed a unique approach to selling environmental services to municipalities across the nation. Smith, a financial speculator, persuaded Carmichael to merge with Smith’s company, ABC Environmental. After the merger, Smith brought in significant investors. In the process, Carmichael’s interest as a minority shareholder became diluted, his business model was disrupted, and he became increasingly frustrated by Smith’s scattershot business style and overemphasis on financial profits rather than the quality of customer services and outcomes. The parties agreed to a unique dispute resolution process, including mediation and final binding arbitration by the same neutral third party, who was a retired judge. The parties were able to adjust their differences in mediation, balance the equities between and among Carmichael and his partners, and agree on future-looking benefits for the business and all of the owners. This was a case of taking disparate and conflicting interests and encouraging the parties to take a deeper look at what they had in common, especially the invested time and dollars that were at risk if they could not pull together as a team. Creating a private facilitative process, followed if necessary by a private binding arbitration award, was exactly what the parties required, and so far it has worked out well for all concerned.