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$________ Breach of oral partnership agreement - Dissolution of accounting firm - Removal of partnership property - Taking of partnership clients - Post-trial additur of $________ granted.

Fayette County (140149)

This was a consolidated action involving the dissolution of an accounting partnership. The first action was filed in replevin by the plaintiff, Savarno, for partnership property allegedly taken by his partner, Snow. Snow then filed an equity action to dissolve the partnership.

Evidence showed that Savarno and Snow had no signed partnership agreement, no covenant not to compete and no explicit agreement as to confidential information owned by the partnership. Savarno argued that Snow’s 15% partnership interest in the accounting firm was bestowed on her gratuitously by Savarno without consideration and that therefore, Snow was in essence an employee.

Savarno alleged that Snow wrongfully closed the business and removed partnership property from the premises, including computers and other office equipment. Savarno also complained that a majority of the firm’s clients moved to the new accounting from opened by Snow. Savarno contended that the accounting business was worth $________ at the time of the dissolution.

Snow argued that there was no written partnership agreement and that she took what was rightfully hers. Snow claimed that all of the clients that moved to her new accounting firm were already receiving their accounting services directly from her and were her clients. Snow contended that Savarno was an absentee owner during the four years and nine months preceding the dissolution and that for every billable hour invested in the firm by Savarno, she put in fifty billable hours.

The case was tried as a bench trial. The court found that in the absence of a covenant not to compete, Snow was free to offer her services to clients she formerly served while in partnership with Savarno. The court determined that Snow kept partnership property in excess of her ownership share in the amount of $________. Savarno was also awarded general damages of $________ for a total verdict to Savarno in the amount of $________ plus 6% prejudgment interest. A post-trial additur for Savarno was recently granted in the amount of $________, reflecting an adjustment in the accounts receivable of the dissolved accounting firm.

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