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Law firm not entitled to summary judgment on complaint seeking payment

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Finding that there are genuine issues of material fact as to whether an employee was acting on his own behalf or on behalf of his company when he sought a law firm’s services, the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered more proceedings on the firm’s complaint for payment.

In Ruben Pazmino v. Bose McKinney & Evans, LLP, 49A02-1206-CC-499, Bose McKinney & Evans LLP did legal work for Buena Vista Realty Group LLC from February through July 2008 at the request of Ruben Pazmino. The company was administratively dissolved on April 24, 2008. Bose was never paid for its work and filed a lawsuit against Buena Vista and against Pazmino for the services it performed after Buena Vista was dissolved.

Both Pazmino and the firm moved for summary judgment. The trial court entered judgment in favor of Bose and ordered Pazmino to pay total judgment of $11,174.20. On appeal, Pazmino claimed he was only an employee of Buena Vista and not personally liable for the LLC’s obligations. Bose, on the other hand, is trying to hold Pazmino responsible for his own act of personally requesting services after Buena Vista dissolved.

Neither Bose nor Pazmino established as a matter of law that either party was entitled to summary judgment, as Bose hasn’t shown Pazmino secured its services on his own behalf and Pazmino hasn’t shown that he was just an employee and not an interested party in Buena Vista.

The Court of Appeals went on to address additional legal arguments raised by Bose: that Pazmino is personally liable for requesting services not associated with winding up the LLC and that Pazmino was not statutorily authorized to wind up or bind Buena Vista post-dissolution.

The judges held that regardless of the nature of the work performed by Bose, Buena Vista continued to exist as a principal that could be bound by the acts of its agents. They also believed that the reference to personal liability of members in Indiana Code 23-18-9-3(b)(2) is intended to clarify that, even upon dissolution, an LLC, not its members, remains responsible for the LLC’s obligations.

“Thus, where Pazmino acted within the scope of the authority conferred by Buena Vista, Bose’s remedy is with Buena Vista, not Pazmino,” Judge Michael Barnes wrote.

The case is remanded for further proceedings.

 

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  1. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  2. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  3. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  4. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  5. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

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