In Mary P. Ogea v. Travis Merritt and Merritt Construction, LLC, No. 2013-1085, the Louisiana Supreme Court provided businesses and members of Limited Liability Companies with clarification on the statutory exceptions to the shield of limited liability. Specifically, the Louisiana Supreme Court provided guidance to businesses and members of Limited Liability Companies concerning the following enumerated exceptions to the general rule of limited liability: fraud, breach of professional duty, or other negligent or wrongful acts. The court found that mere licensure in a particular field does not result in one being considered a professional for the purposes of the exclusion. The failure to produce competent evidence that an individual member of a Limited Liability Company is a professional as defined by the various Revised Statutes on the subject was fatal to the claimant’s ability to avail herself of that exception to the general rule of limited liability. Finally, to determine whether an individual member of a limited liability company is personally liable under the “negligent or wrongful act” exception to the general rule of limited liability, the court will consider the following: (1) whether the conduct could be fairly characterized as a tort; (2) whether the conduct could be characterized as a crime, for which a natural person, not a juridical person, could be held culpable; (3) whether the conduct at issue was required by, or was in furtherance of a contract between the claimant and the LLC; and (4) whether the conduct at issue was done outside the member’s capacity as a member.
Plauché, Smith & Nieset is engaged in the insurance defense practice, concentrating on insurance defense litigation and business litigation in Calcasieu Parish, Cameron Parish, Jefferson Davis Parish, Allen Parish, and Beauregard Parish. Plauché, Smith & Nieset also engages in the insurance defense practice throughout the state of Louisiana.