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Limited Liability Company - Liability

llc liable personally corporate

State LLC statutes specifically provide that members of an LLC are not personally liable for the LLC's debts and obligations. This limited liability is similar to the liability protection for corporate shareholders, partners in a limited partnership, and partners in a limited liability partnership. Under certain circumstances, however, a member may become personally liable for an LLC's debts.

An individual member is generally personally liable for his or her own TORTS and for any contractual obligations entered into on behalf of the member and not on behalf of an LLC. In addition, a member is personally liable to a third person if the member personally guarantees a debt or obligation to the third person. A person who incurs debts and obligations on behalf of the LLC prior to the LLC's formation is jointly and severally liable with the LLC for those debts and obligations.

Members may also become personally liable for an LLC's debts or obligations under the "piercing-the-corporate-veil" theory. This doctrine imposes personal liability upon corporate shareholders and applies primarily if a corporation is undercapitalized, fails to follow corporate formalities, or engages in FRAUD. Although the law of LLCs is still developing, piercing the corporate veil is likely applicable to an LLC that fails to follow the legal formalities required to manage the LLC. LLC statutes in Colorado, Illinois, and Minnesota specifically apply the corporate veil-piercing theory to LLCs.

A member is generally considered an agent of an LLC and thus may bind the LLC for the debts and obligations of the business. When a member has apparent or actual authority and acts on behalf of an LLC while carrying on the usual business of the LLC, the member binds the LLC. If a third person knows that the member is not authorized to act on behalf of the LLC, the LLC is generally not liable for the member's unauthorized acts. Some states also limit a member's authority to act as an agent of an LLC.

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