Wednesday, December 17, 2008, 8:57 PM

COA Allows Partnership Dispute To Proceed

Yesterday in Wiggs v. Peedin the NC Court of Appeals (COA) reversed the trial court's grant of summary judgment for a defendant (Peedin) who denied the existence of a partnership formed by her late husband and argued that any such partnership dissolved upon his death and couldn't be imputed to her.

Plaintiffs contended that Peedin's late husband formed an oral partnership with them to develop land for use as a hog farming business. The farm operated for years before her husband's death. When he died, she denied them access to the land. She denied that her late husband ever formed a valid partnership with plaintiffs.

The COA held there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether her late husband formed a valid partnership with plaintiffs, noting that a partnership may be formed by oral agreement and also by parties' conduct. Having so found, the COA next addressed Peedin's argument that the partnership must've dissolved upon his death and couldn't be imputed to her. The COA held that summary judgment was inappropriate, finding a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Peedin should be held to be plaintiffs' partner under the doctrines of partnership by estoppel or apparent authority, based on her spoken words to plaintiffs and their continued conduct with respect to the hog farm's operation after her husband's death.

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