Red Flag ALTER EGO / Piercing the Corporate Veil (Haftungsdurchgriff)

Leben Sie Ihre Gesellschaft in den USA, nicht nur auf dem Papier! Nachfolgend Artikel von NIETZER & HÄUSLER veröffentlicht bei der GACC / German American Chamber of Commerce im Januar 2011.

In principal, shareholder’s liability in a corporation is the US is comparable to the one in Germany, this is, liability is limited to the paid in capital. But there are exceptions in the U.S. legal system as there are exceptions in German corporate law as well, commonly called Piercing the Corporate Veil. A Minnetsota Court recently held that the following evidence established that the subsidiary was the parent company’s alter ego:

(1) [The shareholder] is and has always been the sole shareholder; (2) [he] was the firm’s sole incorporator; (3)[he], and no one else, gave loans to and borrowed money from the corporation; (4)[he] and his wife owned the building where the company was headquartered and received rental payments from the company; (5) the company purchased an automobile for [the shareholder's] business use which [he] also used for incidental personal business. Furthermore, a West Virginia Court had stated possible prerequisites as follows: 1. commingling of funds and other assets of the corporation with those of the individual shareholders; 2. diversion of the corporation‘s funds or assets to non-corporate uses (to the personal uses of the corporation‘s shareholders); 3. failure to maintain the corporate formalities necessary for the issuance of or subscription to the corporation‘s stock, such as formal approval of the stock issue by the board of directors; 4. an individual shareholder representing to persons outside the corporation that he or she is personally liable for the debts or other obligations of the corporation; 5. failure to maintain corporate minutes or adequate corporate records; 6. identical equitable ownership in two entities; 7 ...

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