Can I sue a manager of a defunct LLC who ripped me off?

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Can I sue a manager of a defunct LLC who ripped me off?

I rented a house from a guy 5 years ago. Then 3 years ago he sold the house to his brother, and 2 years later the brothers transferred the house to a Texas LLC. My last lease agreement showed the LLC as the landlord. When I moved out last year, they kept my entire security deposit, making up lame reasons for doing so. I sued the LLC in small claims court, the trial date has still not been set. Now I have just learned that the brothers are in the process of selling the property, making my lawsuit moot. Can I sue one of the brothers personally for taking my deposit in bad faith?

Asked on June 29, 2011 under Business Law, Texas

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

What you have been the victim of is a shell game.  But really I think that in the end you may prevail.  So the first lease showed the original landlord as the owner - personally - in the transaction.  That is whom you gave the security deposit to, correct?  Then he transferred it to his brother - also a person and not a corporation - and the security transferred with the transaction (probably under the law there as it is in many states).  Then the transfer to the LLC which is I am sure controlled by the brothers.  So sue everyone. Amend the complaint to add them personally and show the court all the lease agreements.  Get a copy from the state of the incorporation papers of the LLC.  You need to "pierce the corporate veil" of the LLC and get to the real owners.  One you have a personal judgement then you can attach personal assets.  Good luck to you.


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