Arbitration/Decedent’s Interest in LLC

In a recent decision from the Chancery Division in Bergen County, New Jersey, Ora Billig v. Estate of Billig, et al, Docket No. C-374-11, the Court dealt with a contested estate matter, wherein the defendant/executor moved to compel arbitration of the purchase of the decedent’s interest in Billing Realty, Co., LLC, which is an entity which owned and operated a number of parking garages in New York City.

To start, the company’s operating agreement provided that the value of a member’s interest shall be determined by arbitration. However, two members of the LLC objected to the participation by the decedent’s wife in the arbitration. In the end, the Court granted defendant/executor’s motion, noting a strong public policy in favor of arbitration. Furthermore, the Court held that the widow’s interests will be affected by the valuation and will not be adequately represented by the executor. By allowing all parties to participate in a single proceeding will avoid piecemeal litigation, and therefore, the Court concluded that a single arbitration would best serve judicial economy, i.e. enhance efficiency, reduce delay and avoid piecemeal litigation.

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