D. Margeaux Thomas urges proactive steps to best navigate legal system during pandemic.

Thomas Law Office is warning small business owners that backlogs in court could cause problems if they need an emergency order and is urging they take proactive steps to best navigate the legal system during the pandemic.

“When a business relationship sours, an owner may find that their partner is trying to steal assets, hide revenue or set up a competing business,” said founder D. Margeaux Thomas. “In the past, they’ve been able to get quick help from a judge to stop the bad behavior, but that may not be the case right now.”

Thomas said that while dissolving a business normally takes years, owners have typically been able to quickly get a preliminary injunction to stop a partner from irreparably harming the business in the meantime. Those orders, however, may not come quickly during the coronavirus pandemic.

Preliminary injunctions are only temporary measures, Thomas stressed, however, they are useful for quickly halting destructive actions, signaling to the other partner that poor behavior won’t be tolerated and putting the partner seeking them in a stronger negotiating position as the dissolution of the company moves forward.

Thomas said during the pandemic, these types of civil remedies may be delayed as Courts focus on clearing a backlog of criminal cases, and there may ultimately be a higher hurdle for business partners to clear in establishing a true “emergency” exists which warrants immediate action by the Courts. She advised business owners who have concerns about their partner’s behavior to not wait to get legal help.

“When we meet with business owners who need to take legal action against their partners, they often tell us they had seen red flags for months,” she said. “If you’re having doubts right now, don’t wait to take action.”

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