Did the Federal Reserve Board overstep its authority when it defined someone who guarantees the debt of another as an “applicant” for credit? It’s an issue seemingly about as sexy as watching white paint dry. Still, of all the cases on the U.S. Supreme Court’s docket during the 2015–2016 term, which was so defined by the unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February, the one that stood out most to me was Hawkins v. Community Bank of Raymore, a case that boiled down to exactly that question. That’s because Hawkins touched on so much more than what an “applicant” is or is not.
What Is Reg. B, and Why Does It Matter?
Hawkins originated in Missouri and concerned validity of Regulation B (“Reg. B”), a federal lending regulation under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (“ECOA”) intended to guard against marital discrimination in credit transactions. Reg. B protects applicants for credit who meet a lender’s creditworthiness requirements individually from being forced to procure their spouse’s guaranty on the debt, and it arguably protects the guarantors themselves as well. In other words, if an obligor can show the only reason she was required to obtain a personal guaranty from her spouse was because she had a spouse, she likely has a defense under Reg. B. (more…)
When it comes to corporations, LLCs, and other entities, people tend to focus on their birth rather than their death, with most available literature being on the pros and cons of different types of entities and how to go about creating one. But for reasons similar to why the birth of LLCs and corporations is a regular, ongoing need for many of our clients, so too is the death of these entities.
Of course, a classic example would be when a business ceases operations and is liquidated. There are plenty of more routine reasons why this might happen though. For example, an entity might be created for the specific purpose of holding one piece of real estate that is being developed or renovated. Once the work is done and the developer sells the real estate for a profit, what happens to the entity? Often, the entity, having served its purpose, is put through the dissolution process. (more…)
Often in my practice I’ll write documents that call upon a client who owns all or part of a limited liability company (“LLC”) or other entity to sign more than once on the same signature page. This may seem silly, but it serves an important purpose. Sometimes the dual signature is required because the client is both the manager and a member (owner) of the LLC, and sometimes it’s because the client’s signature is required both as a representative of the LLC and in his or her personal capacity. In any case, whether a person’s signature is meant to bind their company or just that person individually is an important distinction.
A key benefit of the LLC entity structure is that individuals who wish to start a business can do so with a great deal of flexibility and relatively little formality required. Providing a hybrid between the pass-through taxation of partnerships and the limited liability for owners provided by corporations, LLCs have become the dominant form of entity for most types of businesses, from mom-and-pop shops, to real estate holding companies, to subsidiaries of large corporations. LLCs are inherently simple; and yet, even simplicity has its complications. (more…)