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Law School Case Brief

Summers v. Dooley - 94 Idaho 87, 481 P.2d 318 (1971)

Rule:

Idaho Code § 53-318(8) provides that any difference arising as to ordinary matters connected with the partnership business may be decided by a majority of the partners. Section 53-318(8) is of a mandatory rather than permissive nature.

Facts:

Plaintiff and defendant agreed to operate a trash-collecting business. They decided to perform the work themselves, and if either was unable to perform then that partner was responsible for paying a third party to work on his behalf. Plaintiff was unable to perform his duties and suggested that the business hire an employee. Defendant objected but plaintiff hired another person anyway, personally costing plaintiff $11,000. Plaintiff wanted to be reimbursed for half of the costs.

Issue:

Should the partnership be held responsible for the costs that arose out of plaintiff’s hiring of the employee over the objections of defendant?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

Plaintiff should not be compensated by the partnership for the cost of the additional employee. The additional employee was brought on for the personal benefit of plaintiff and not the partnership. Defendant repeatedly rejected the hiring. A decision to change the status quo would also require a majority approval, and plaintiff’s one vote did not constitute a majority.

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