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Vohland v. Sweet

Indiana Court of Appeals
433 N.E.2d 860 (Ind. App. 1982)


Facts

. Norman Sweet (plaintiff) had been an employee of Charles Vohland’s (Charles) nursery. After Charles retired in 1963, Paul Vohland (Vohland) (defendant), started Vohland’s Nursery. Sweet claimed that Vohland told him he would no longer have to “punch a time clock,” would be paid on commission, and would have an interest in the business. After that, Sweet received 20 percent of the nursery’s net profits. Sweet did not contribute any money or property to the business. Vohland filed taxes as though there was no partnership, listing Sweet’s share as a “commission” under the business’s expenses; Sweet filed his taxes as a self-employed salesman. Vohland managed the business’s finances and property. Sweet ran the operations of the nursery itself. Although there is some disagreement between Sweet and Vohland as to the details, sometime in the 1960s, the nursery’s stocks depleted. Vohland and Sweet invested the business earnings into growing the nursery’s stock in the 1970s. Vohland classified this program as an expense and did not pay Sweet his percentage of the earnings used to purchase additional stock. Sweet sued for dissolution of the partnership and an accounting. Vohland argued that he never intended to form a partnership and that Sweet was a contract employee. The court awarded Sweet $58,733, and Vohland appealed to the Indiana Court of Appeals.

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Holding and Reasoning (Neal, J.)

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  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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