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Corporate Matters: Oral Agreement Can Be Unilaterally Terminated If There Is No Definite Term or a Particular Undertaking

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Under New York partnership law (“Partnership Law”), a partnership can be formed orally. Additionally, a partnership may be dissolved unilaterally if “no definite term or particular undertaking is specified” in the underlying agreement.

In Gelman v. Buehler 2013 NY Slip OP 01991 (March 26, 2013, plaintiff (P) and defendant (D) were recent business school graduates who decided to form a partnership in 2007. D had proposed a plan to P aimed at acquiring $600,000 from investors for the purpose of establishing a "search fund" to research and identify and raise any additional funding needed to pay the purchase price of the targeted business. P and D were to manage the business with the goal of increasing its value until it could be sold at a profit (referred to as a "liquidity event") and the investors would share in the profits realized from the sale. P accepted D's proposal and the partnership was formed by oral agreement. P and D expected that the business plan would reach its objective in four to seven years. The partners apparently pursued prospective investors for several months. D withdrew from the venture after P refused his demand for majority ownership of the partnership.