Waters and Aktas Prevail in American Arbitration Association Hearing

(July 17, 2017, Boston, MA) – On June 30th Sheehan Phinney Bass & Green PA attorneys Charles A. Waters and D. Deniz Aktas prevailed in an American Arbitration Association hearing in Boston, Massachusetts on behalf of the firm’s client.

The three-arbitrator Panel found that a prominent Boston private equity firm breached its obligations contained in a 47-page separation agreement with Sheehan Phinney’s client, a co-founder of the firm. Among other provisions, the agreement converted Sheehan Phinney’s client from a general partner to a limited partner in a limited partnership investment fund, and contained a mutual general release that released “all liabilities whatsoever.” Accordingly, upon conversion to a limited partner, the agreement released all existing promissory notes that Sheehan Phinney’s client had given to the private equity firm pursuant to the manner in which the partnership called capital. Years later, the firm liquidated the fund and claimed that Sheehan Phinney’s client still owed it the debt from the promissory notes. The firm then unilaterally took funds from Sheehan Phinney’s client’s capital account, and pursued what it claimed was the remaining debt from the promissory notes. The Panel found that the firm had breached the agreement because it released all obligations associated with the promissory notes, and ordered the firm to return to Sheehan Phinney’s client all of his capital account funds. The Panel rejected each of the firm’s arguments, including that the agreement was ambiguous, and that the promissory note debt was an on-going partnership liability the survived the release language.

Waters is Chair of the firm’s Business Litigation Group. He is an experienced trial attorney representing corporations, partnerships, trusts, estates and individuals in a variety of major civil cases involving business, real estate, land use, probate, construction and employment disputes. Waters is admitted to practice in Massachusetts, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts and pro hac vice in various states around the country. He is a member of the Massachusetts and Boston Bar Associations. Waters has been ranked by both Chambers USA and Super Lawyers for his work in litigation.

Aktas is an attorney in the firm’s Boston office where her practice focuses on Business Litigation. Prior to joining the firm, she was a legal extern for the Honorable Patti B. Saris of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, providing her with unique exposure to the judicial process. Aktas experience includes research and drafting, discovery, and negotiations. She is admitted to practice in Massachusetts.

About the Firm

Sheehan Phinney is a full service business law firm representing local, national and international clients with innovative approaches and practical solutions. Founded in 1937, Sheehan Phinney has grown to over 60 attorneys with four offices throughout New Hampshire and Massachusetts and is known for professional excellence, practical counsel and commitment to both its clients and the communities it serves. Sheehan Phinney is the exclusive member in New Hampshire of Lex Mundi, the world’s leading association of premier independent law firms.