Allison v. Eriksson — Remedies Available to Minority LLC Members in Freeze-Out Mergers
Under M.G.L. c. 156C, § 60(b), members of a Massachusetts limited liability company (LLC) who object to a merger are left with only one option: to resign and have their interest bought out by the majority. However, in Allison v. Eriksson, the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) clarified that members opposing the merger of their LLC are entitled to additional equitable remedies beyond the scope of the statute if the majority member or members breached their fiduciary duties to the minority member in the process of effectuating the merger. 479 Mass. 626, 98 N.E.3d 143 (2018). In such a case, the courts have discretion to tailor equitable relief for the dissenting minority while also keeping in mind the best interests of the LLC, which may include rescinding the merger, or even modifying the operating agreement of the new LLC. This rule is applicable to “freeze-out mergers,” which occur when the majority members or member merge the business into a new entity with the purpose of eliminating, or “freezing out,” the minority.