Thursday, July 21, 2016

Why do people do what they do?

Litigation between spouses in divorce situations are frequent example of irrationality in action, to the benefit of only the lawyers involved. The recent Court of Appeals opinion in Lee v. Lee,  No. 2014-CA-000387-MR, July 15, 2016 is a good example.

Mr. Lee formed a Kentucky Limited Liability Corporation to shield his assets from a $70,000 judgement obtained by Mrs, Lee. The Jefferson Circuit Court disregarded the supposed separate and independent existence of the LLC and held, as a matter of fact, that the LLC was the judgment debtor's "alter ego."

In other words, the LLC was a sham and, for all practical purposes, the judgment against Mr. Lee was also a judgment against the LLC. Therefore, the Court issued a garnishment order against the LLC's bank.

Mr. Lee was clearly a big fan of Founding Father Robert Goodloe Harper, who famously issues the drunken declaration of principle "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute," in connection with the XYZ affair and French attempts at extortion. (Harper's toast was subsequently adopted as a slogan in connection with the Barbary pirate conflict, for which it is better known.) Mr. Lee did not appeal the Circuit Court's factual determination to disregard the LLC's separate existence, but he did assert the proposition on appeal that a separate judgment against the LLC was required for a bank garnishment, whether the LLC was a sham or not.

It didn't work.

I think I understand everything so far.

The trial and appellate judges do what they do because it's their job.

The lawyers do what they do for the money and pointless appeals are actually cheaper than the time it would take to talk sense to a blockhead. "You pay for it, we'll do it," is not a bad motto.

Mrs. Lee wanted her money and Mr. Lee didn't want to give it to her.

But, the Amicus brief in the appeal has me stumped. Who and why would anyone file an Amicus brief in an appeal like this?


Tom Fox, J. D.
Southern Specialty Law Publishing Company
Louisville, Kentucky

A division of Accountable Kentucky Incorporated
a Kentucky Non-profit corporation

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This is not legal advice and I am not a lawyer.

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