Q: I was just wondering if I have a case. I feel like I was done wrong and unfair. Can I do anything?
12 years ago a friend and I started a used car dealership. In structuring the company my name was not included, but it was me who was responsible for creating the company’s brand (business name, logo, slogan, website, colors, operating methods). My ideas, my creations, my hard work for the first 4 years that built the foundation to what this company is today. They are still using my work, ideas, methods, brand, and concepts to profit. After 4 years of my so called friend, now beneficiary of my work and ideas told me I was no longer worth what he was paying me, and my percentage of the profits was getting cut. The company’s profits were exponentially growing because of my performance and work, I did not understand the blatant disrespect, disregard, and greed so I left. This was not right and I should be compensated. 25-30 people would come forth and say that I was the major contributor to the creation and current profits, even the owner under oath could not deny this fact.
A: There may be potential claims here that you could have pursued. As you may well know, most civil claims/disputes like this have a deadline by which the claim must be brought in court (a "statute of limitations"). Given that the business was started 12 years ago and the relationship appears to have failed (you walked away) about 8 years ago, you may have lost your opportunity to sue for these claims. Presumably, most of the wrongdoing occurred before and leading up to you leaving 8 years ago, but you may want to think about whether there are any particular acts/wrongdoing by your former business partner that you didn't learn about until many years later. In that case, although the act itself may have occurred so long ago that the statute of limitations has passed, your lack of knowledge about it until later may have delayed/tolled the statute of limitations to not begin running until you discovered it or could have reasonably discovered it. If you are serious about pursuing something, you should attempt to speak with an attorney very soon about whether you may have any claims that are still valid and have not expired due to a lapse of the statute of limitations.
You might find more success posting this question under a category like litigation or lawsuits or disputes. These attorneys may tend to be more broadly familiar with the statutes of limitations for a wide variety of types of claims.
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