One of the fundamental principles of corporate law – in the U.S., as well as in other countries – is that a corporate entity has a legal existence separate and apart from its shareholders, officers, and directors, and that the individuals cannot be held personally liable for the debts and obligations of the company. However, in a recent extraordinary and noteworthy decision, the Irish High Court, applying Irish law, pierced the corporate veil in finding two Irish directors and two shadow directors personally liable in connection with a multinational fraud scheme. As discussed below, the decision underscores the importance of directors’ duties and their obligations to be informed about their companies’ operations. A copy of the Court’s October 28, 2022 decision can be found here.
Continue Reading Irish Court Lifts Corporate Veil to Hold Directors Liable

Back in 2015, the California Legislature enacted Labor Law Section 558.1, making an “other person” acting for an employer (defined as any natural person who is owner, director, officer, or managing agent of the employer) who causes the employer to violate the state’s wage and hour laws liable as the employer for the violation. As I noted at the time, this new statutory provision, which created personal liability for individuals for the employer’s wage law obligations, was quite controversial. However, as noted in a December 21, 2018 post on the Sheppard Mullin law firm’s Labor & Employment Law Blog entitled “Managers Beware: Can You Be Held Personally Liable for Wage and Hour Violations” (here), a California appellate court recently confirmed that “even in the absence of this new section, the labor code imposes personal liability” for California minimum wage and overtime violations.
Continue Reading Personal Liability for Corporate California Wage and Hour Violations?

In an unusual and potentially significant move, the U.S. Department of Justice has named as one of the defendants in a False Claims Act lawsuit a private equity firm whose portfolio company the DOJ alleges engaged in an illegal health care-related kickback scheme. As the Jones Day law firm noted in a February 27, 2018 client memo about the DOJ’s action, the inclusion of a PE firm as a defendant in this lawsuit “may indicate a sea change in terms of who the DOJ is willing to pursue in False Claims Act changes” and “could signal the DOJ’s willingness to seek to pierce the corporate veil and hold private equity sponsors accountable for the noncompliance of their portfolio companies in the health care industry.” The DOJ’s February 23, 2018 press release about the lawsuit can be found here. The DOJ’s complaint in intervention in the lawsuit can be found here.
Continue Reading DOJ Targets Private Equity Firm for Portfolio Company’s Alleged Improper Kickbacks

It is generally understood that corporate directors act in a fiduciary role in performing their board duties. But to whom do directors owe their fiduciary duties? That was the question asked in a November 8, 2013 decision from the North Carolina Supreme Court, in which the Court reversed a trial verdict and post trial motion