Vohland v. Sweet

Indiana Court of Appeals

433 N.E.2d 860 (Ind. App. 1982)

A partnership is formed when 2 or more parties voluntarily agree to carry on a business as owners and intend to do those things which constitute a partnership.

Relevant Facts

Norman Sweet (the plaintiff) was an employee of Charles Vohland’s nursery. After he retired, Paul Vohland (the defendant), took over operations for Vohland’s Nursery.

The plaintiff claimed that the defendant told him he would no longer have to punch a time clock, would be paid on commission, and would have a 20% interest in the business’s net profits. The plaintiff did not contribute any money or property to the business. The defendant managed the business’s finances and property, and filed taxes as though there was no partnership, listing the plaintiff’s share as a commission as a business expense. The plaintiff filed his taxes as a self-employed salesman. The plaintiff ran the daily operations of the nursery. Although there is some disagreement between the parties as to the specifics, it was agreed that in the 1960s the nursery’s stocks depleted. As a result, the parties spent the next decade investing the business’s earnings into growing the nursery’s stock. This investment was classified as an expense, and the defendant did not pay the plaintiff his percentage of the earnings used to purchase additional stock. The plaintiff sued for dissolution of the partnership and for an accounting. The defendant argued that he never intended to form a partnership and that the plaintiff was a contract employee. The court awarded the plaintiff $58,733.00, and the defendant appealed.

Issue

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Holding & Reasoning

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Concurrence

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Dissent

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Last updated:

December 12, 2020

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Procedural History

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Citations

433 N.E.2d 860 (Ind. App. 1982)