In my article Abolishing LLC Veil Piercing, I argued that:
Courts are now routinely applying the corporate law doctrine of veil piercing to limited liability companies. This extension of a seriously flawed doctrine into a new arena is not required by statute and is unsupportable as a matter of policy. The standards by which veil piercing is effected are vague, leaving judges great discretion. The result has been uncertainty and lack of predictability, increasing transaction costs for small businesses. At the same time, however, there is no evidence that veil piercing has been rigorously applied to affect socially beneficial policy outcomes. Judges typically seem to be concerned more with the facts and equities of the specific case at bar than with the implications of personal shareholder liability for society at large.
A standard academic move treats veil piercing as a safety valve allowing courts to address cases in which the externalities associated with limited liability seem excessive. In doing so, veil piercing is called upon to achieve such lofty goals as leading LLC members to optimally internalize risk, while not deterring capital formation and economic growth, while promoting populist notions of economic democracy. The task is untenable. Veil piercing is rare, unprincipled, and arbitrary. Abolishing veil piercing would refocus judicial analysis on the appropriate question - did the defendant - LLC member do anything for which he or she should be held directly liable?
I had pretty much given up hope that courts would accept my argument, but then came Pannell v. Shannon, --- S.W.3d ----, 2014 WL 1101472 (Ky. 2014), footnote 15 of which states:
This, of course, assumes the doctrine of veil piercing even applies to limited liability companies under Kentucky law. While several decisions have assumed that it does, see Stettenbenz v. Butch's Rod Shop, LLC, 2012–CA–001405–MR, 2013 WL 4779862 (Ky.App. Sept. 6, 2013) (unpublished), the question appears to have been raised in only one case, Howell Contractors, Inc. v. Berling,383 S.W.3d 465, 466 (Ky.App.2012), which ultimately avoided the question by applying Ohio law, which does allow veil piercing of LLCs. There are, of course, strong arguments for why LLC veil piercing should not be allowed, see generally Stephen M. Bainbridge, Abolishing LLC Veil Piercing, 2005 U. Ill. L.Rev. 77 (2005), even when corporate veil piercing is viable in the jurisdiction, see Thomas E. Rutledge & Lady E. Booth, The Limited Liability Company Act: Understanding Kentucky's New Organizational Option, 83 Ky. L.J. 1, 17 n. 73 (1995) (“An issue to be considered is the degree to which the common law doctrine of piercing the corporate veil should apply to LLCs. While the use of the LLC's liability shield should not be permitted to protect wrongdoers, the application of the law that has developed in this area is questionable.”).