The Law of Corporations – In American Rebel Arms, LLC v. New Orleans Hamburger and Seafood Co., 15-599 (La. App. 5 Cir. 2/24/16), Deborah Norred, the sole member of American Rebel Arms, a limited liability company (“LLC”), alleged that she was injured when she slipped and fell in a bathroom owned and operated by the defendant/restaurant. Norred filed suit for her injuries. In a separate suit, American Rebel Arms claimed that the injuries to Norred damaged its business. In response, the defendants argued that American Rebel possessed no cause of action. The Trial Court agreed and dismissed the suit.
In considering whether an LLC can recover for a slip and fall of its only member, the Louisiana Fifth Circuit looked to the language of Louisiana’s “slip and fall” statute, LSA-R.S. 9:2800.6, which creates a duty owed to “persons” who use the premises. American Rebel correctly contended that it is a “person” under Louisiana law. Nevertheless, the American Rebel Court determined that an LLC was not the type of “person” protected in the statute which references keeping “aisles, passageways, and floors in reasonably safe condition.” Only natural persons are capable of using such areas. As such, and consistent with supportive corporate law, the Fifth Circuit found that there is no “ease of association” between injury to a member and the corresponding damages to the LLC. The Court observed that even substandard conduct does not render an actor liable “for all consequences by spiraling outwards until the end of time.”