Podiatrist Shareholder Dispute


Former Attorney: Tricia Shackelford

Case Summary:

A healthcare client came to Tricia Shackelford after resigning from her practice. When the client moved on to a new organization, she was notified that she was in breach of her Shareholders' agreement and her former practice would not buy back the shares despite doing so in the past for other professionals moving on.

Tricia was able to craft a strategy for her client and negotiate a swift resolution. At the end, the practice agreed to buy back client's shares.

Case Highlights

Dr. Taylor came to me with a big problem.  She was a partner in a prominent podiatry practice in Eastern Kentucky.  However, the environment in the practice was stressful and Dr. Taylor wanted to live in a larger city.  Her colleague and friend, Dr. Roberts, had recently left the practice in Eastern Kentucky to join a practice in Lexington and was quite happy with her new job.  The Lexington practice was growing, so Dr. Taylor interviewed with them.

The Lexington practice offered Dr. Taylor a position.  She resigned from the Eastern Kentucky practice, and she and her family moved to Lexington.  Dr. Roberts’ transition had been seamless.  The Eastern Kentucky practice purchased back her shares in the practice pursuant to the terms of her Shareholders Agreement with the practice without any problems.  Dr. Taylor was not anticipating any problems with her resignation as a podiatrist and a shareholder.

Unfortunately, the path for Dr. Taylor was not as easy.  The Eastern Kentucky practice claimed that Dr. Roberts had solicited Dr. Taylor in violation of Dr. Roberts’ Shareholders Agreement and threatened to hold Dr. Roberts liable for her breach of the Agreement.  The Eastern Kentucky practice also refused to buy back Dr. Taylor’s shares in the practice, despite the fact that her Shareholders Agreement with the practice was identical to the Shareholders Agreement that the practice had had with Dr. Roberts.

This is where Dr. Taylor was when I met her.  She was in a really tough spot. Although she had resigned her employment with the Eastern Kentucky practice, she was still a shareholder in the practice.  The Eastern Kentucky practice was threatening to take action against Dr. Taylor’s friend, Dr. Roberts.  The Eastern Kentucky practice was also making it difficult for Dr. Taylor to function in her new job, and it was refusing to purchase her ownership interest in the company.  The situation compromised Dr. Taylor’s move to Lexington, her livelihood, and her family.

I was able to craft a strategy with Dr. Taylor to use her position as a shareholder in the Eastern Kentucky practice as leverage to negotiate a resolution.  Dr. Taylor sought to enforce her access to information regarding the Eastern Kentucky practice through court action, which motivated the Eastern Kentucky practice to come to the table and, ultimately, purchase Dr. Taylor’s shares in the practice at a fair price.

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