A failed mediation attempt has led to court proceedings to dissolve a prominent Indianapolis-area divorce law firm.
A petition to dissolve Hollingsworth & Zivitz was filed late last month in Hamilton Superior Court. Named partner Kena Hollingsworth filed the petition in Kena S. Hollingsworth v. Hollingsworth & Zivitz, P.C., and Christina M. Zivitz, 29D02-1904-PL-003832, writing that a “deadlock” exists between her and partner Christina Zivitz over the management of the firm.
In the Petition to Dissolve Corporation, Hollingsworth says she and Zivitz each own 50 percent of the Carmel firm’s capital stock. Pursuant to Indiana Code section 23-1-47-1(2)(A), a court can dissolve a corporation if “the directors are deadlocked in the management of the corporate affairs, the shareholders are unable to break the deadlock, and irreparable injury to the corporation is threatened or being suffered, or the business and affairs of the corporation can no longer be conducted to the advantage of the shareholders generally, because of the deadlock.”
Hollingsworth told the court the last reason for dissolution is present in this case, writing, “Because of the deadlock, the business and affairs of the Firm can no longer be conducted to the advantage of the Shareholders generally.”
In a request for mediation filed April 22, the same day the dissolution petition was filed, Hollingsworth said she and Zivitz were originally scheduled to go to mediation on April 19. The scheduled mediator was William Baten of Van Winkle Baten Alternative Dispute Resolution in Indianapolis.
“On April 12, 2019, in an email, Zivitz’s counsel confirmed to Hollingsworth and the mediator that the mediation would go forward on April 19, 2019, as scheduled,” Hollingsworth’s request reads. “On April 17, 2019 two (2) days before the mediation, Zivitz cancelled the mediation, asserting (for the first time) that she lacked information necessary to mediate; specifically, that her business valuation expert has unspecified questions about the Firm’s 2018 tax return that could not be answered until the Firm’s certified public accountant returns to his office on May 1, 2019.”
Hollingsworth asked the court to order the parties to mediation no later than May 31, noting mediation would allow them “to explore a resolution on terms that this Court cannot Order, namely, a buyout … .”
Hamilton Superior Judge Jonathan M. Brown granted that request in an April 25 order, ordering the parties to mediation with Baten no later than May 31. Brown also set a hearing on Hollingsworth’s dissolution petition for June 17.
Hollingsworth and Zivitz did not respond to messages seeking comment about their firm’s dissolution, nor did Kevin Tharp, the Riley Bennett Egloff attorney representing Hollingsworth in the proceedings. Online court records do not list an attorney for Zivitz.
According to the firm’s website, the named partners of Hollingsworth and Zivitz met while in college and formed their firm in 2004, originally operating under the name Hollingsworth Jocham & Zivitz, P.C. Aside from Hollingsworth and Zivitz, the firm has eight other attorneys, seven of whom are women, and seven staff members.