Attorney Michael Kerbs Featured In Inland Empire Real Estate Media

May 27, 2010

Michael-Kerbs.jpgWhen business partners split up, it can be like a divorce, only messier.

As an attorney assisting in the dissolutions of businesses and business partnerships, Reid & Hellyer Attorney Michael G. Kerbs talked about his experience representing clients going through business breakups with the IE Real Estate Insider recently.

Kerbs enters a case when a business is in hot water and helps to break up the business partnership, representing either the side being bought out or the side that is buying out the other. Whichever side he is representing, the business breakup can turn into a business divorce.

"The big difference between a business breaking up and a [pending] divorce is that in the divorce, sometimes you can get both parties to reconcile after things calm down," Kerbs said. "That doesn't happen with a business very often. And when you go to court you can hear some crazy things."

If the parties cannot agree to a settlement, that's when things can turn really contentious.

"Then you have to go to court, which is usually where it starts to get ugly. You end up having to divide the entire inventory. You argue over who gets desks, copiers, computers, television sets. It can get really bad if you're dividing up a large business because there's so much more involved. I had one that took three years to resolve."

Kerbs told IE Real Estate Insider that most business partnerships tend to break up when the two or three partners with competing visions see friction due to bad economic times. These competing visions may work harmoniously in the good times, but tough decisions are often needed during the bad times.  That's when a dispute can lead to a breakup.

As an attorney with Reid & Hellyer since 1987, Kerbs' specialty as a business litigation attorney came to him as that was where the work was needed after completing law school at the University of San Diego. Rough economic times usually see more cases like these, but he sees the economy in the Inland Empire improving.

He's seen his fair share of business breakups and has seen what they can do to business partners who were once really close. Thus, he offered the readers of IE Real Estate Insider one piece of key advice:

"The best advice I can give people is don't go into business with a close friend," he said. "It might seem like a good idea when you start, but sometimes it doesn't work out very well."

Headquartered in Riverside, Reid & Hellyer has been serving the Inland Empire for more than 100 years as one of the most-respected full service law firms in Southern California, providing legal services in business and real estate litigation, real estate development, transactional and media law, bankruptcy, mediation and civil rights. Reid & Hellyer serves individual and business clients of national, regional and local prominence. Learn more at

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