Commercial Division Blog

Posted: April 22, 2019 / Categories Commercial, Law Firms and Professional Ethics

Partnership Tax Returns Were Not Dispositive Evidence of Plaintiff's Status as a Partner

On April 2, 2019, Justice Masley of the New York County Commercial Division issued a decision in Barrison v. D'Amato and Lynch, LLP, 2019 NY Slip Op. 30905(U), holdiong that partnership tax returns were not dispositive evidence of a plaintiff's status as a partner, explaining:

Whether partnership status is enjoyed turns on various factors, including sharing in profits and losses, exercising joint control over the business, and making capital investment and possessing an ownership interest in the partnership. Tax returns, without any other indicia of partnership, are insufficient.

Here, aside from the tax documents, plaintiff does not provide any evidence that he actually contributed capital to, possessed an ownership interest in or shared in the losses of the Firm. Nor does plaintiff offer any evidence of control over the Firm's policies or hiring decisions. Therefore, plaintiff has failed to establish that he was an equity partner with the Firm.

(Internal citations omitted).

We often litigate employment disputes--both for employers and individuals. Sometime, those disputes turn on the plaintiff's employment status. Contact Schlam Stone & Dolan partner John Lundin at if you or a client have questions regarding whether someone is a partner, employee or independent contractor.