Man claims partner unfairly terminated ownership in convenience store

Kelly Holleran Aug. 13, 2009, 8:16am

A man who says he owned a 50 percent stake in a successful convenience store has filed suit against the store's co-owner and the company he helped create after he says he was terminated from owning a portion of the company without reason.

Nasrullah Hussain claims defendant Inayat J. Khoja approached him during the fourth quarter of 2008 about the possibility of acquiring a convenience store in Baton Rouge.

According to the complaint filed Aug. 10 in Jefferson County District Court, the men decided to start a new company, formed under Louisiana law, known as Anna Enterprises. That company would purchase the convenience store, they agreed.

"The Corporation was formed on or about Nov. 11, 2008, with the Corporation being owned 50 percent by Plaintiff and 50 percent by Defendant Khoja," the suit states. "Defendant Khoja and Plaintiff were not only the sole shareholders of the Corporation, but were also the sole directors and officers of said entity."

After the company's formation, Hussain and Khoja entered into a land lease agreement at 1253 Florida St. in Baton Rouge where they were to build their convenience store, the complaint says. The lease agreement was in the company's name, Hussain says.

According to the complaint, Hussain played a huge role in helping to set up the store for its opening day � he hired and trained workers, among other things.

"More particularly, not only did Plaintiff invest certain cash assets and equipment in the Corporation, Plaintiff also agreed to, at least temporarily, relocate his domicile from Jefferson County, Texas, to Baton Rouge, La., so that Plaintiff could remain on site to assist in startup operations of the convenience store facility," the suit states.

Almost immediately, the store was deemed a successful operation as it began making profits the first day it opened, the complaint says.

"This profit was enhanced due to the fact that the convenience store facility was a regular stopping point for certain commercial bus line facilities, including bus lines operated by Greyhound Transportation Co.," Hussain wrote in his complaint.

Despite the store's profits, Hussain claims he was only paid a reduced rate hourly salary and received no profit distributions from the company.

On April 3, Khoja appeared at the convenience store Hussain was managing and told Hussain his employment with Anna Enterprises had been terminated, according to the complaint.

In addition, his ownership interest and position as officer and director had also been terminated, the suit states.

"Upon contesting these events, Plaintiff was simply advised by Defendant Khoja that the 'deal was done' and that Defendant Khoja might consider reimbursing Plaintiff's investment in the Corporation, however, that would take place at a later date, if in fact it ever occurred," the complaint says.

However, Hussain claims he still has not received his investment in the corporation, the value of his ownership in the corporation or his pro-rata share of net income generated through the corporation's operation.

Claims in Hussain's complaint include breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud. He also says Khoja and Anna Enterprises violated Louisiana revised statutes.

Hussain is seeking actual, punitive and exemplary damages, plus attorney's fees, costs and other relief to which he may be entitled.

James E. Wimberley of McPherson, Hughes, Bradley, Wimberley, Steele and Chatelain in Port Arthur will be representing him.

The case has been assigned to Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: D184-638.

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