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Martin v. Peyton

    Brief Fact Summary. Respondents, William Peyton et al., entered an agreement with a broker, John Hall, to loan Hall collateral to keep his business afloat. Appellant, Charles Martin, interpreted the agreement as forming a partnership.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. An agreement that offers a degree of control by a first party to protect first party’s assets should not be considered a partnership if factors as a whole indicate that the other party still maintains day-to-day control of the business.


    Facts. Hall was a friend of Respondents, and Hall’s brokerage business was suffering. Respondents discussed helping Hall and his business, but they needed to ensure that Hall’s business would discontinue their speculative, unwise investments. Respondents agreed to loan Hall $2.5 million in securities for Hall to secure $2 million in loans. In return, Respondents received Hall’s more speculative collateral and would receive a percentage of Hall’s profits. Respondents acquired the ability to review Hall’s books and veto certain investments.

    Issue. The issue is whether the conditions of the agreements between Respondents and Hall constituted a partnership between the two parties.

    Held. The agreements did not establish a partnership. Although Respondents ensured that they had some control over the operations of Hall’s business, the controls they bargained for were to ensure that their investment was secure. Immediately prior to Respondent’s investment, Hall’s business was doing poorly due to bad decision-making and Respondents needed to prevent further bad decisions. Hall still was able to control the day-to-day affairs, and Respondents never had control to initiate their own ideas.


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