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United States V. Wrw Corporation Business Law 531

1024 words - 5 pages

United States v. WRW Corporation 986 F.2d 138 (1983) United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit PECK, Circuit Judge             In 1985, civil penalties totaling $90,350 were assessed against WRW Corporation (WRW), a Kentucky corporation, for serious violations of safety standards under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act (the Act) which resulted in the deaths of two miners.  Following the imposition of civil penalties, WRW liquidated its assets and went out of business.             Three individual defendants, who were the sole shareholders, officers, and directors of WRW, were later indicted and convicted for willful violations of mandatory health and safety standards under the ...view middle of the document...

            The court first found that WRW was under capitalized because it was incorporated with only $3,000 of capital, which the record indicates was insufficient to pay normal expenses associated with the operation of a coal mine.  The district court next found that WRW failed to observe corporate formalities, noting that no bylaws were produced by the defendants, and all corporate actions taken by the individual defendants were without corporation authorization.  Finally, although WRW never distributed any dividends to the individual defendants, and there was no evidence that the individual defendants siphoned off corporate funds, these factors alone do not mitigate against piercing the corporate veil in this case because WRW was never sufficiently capitalized and operated at a loss during its two years of active existence.             In addition to holding that the equities of this case support piercing the corporate veil, the district court held that the corporate veil should be pierced under the "alter ego" theory, because WRW and the defendants did not have separate personalities.  In light of the lack of observance of corporate formalities or distinction between the individual defendants and the corporation, we agree with the district court's conclusion that "there was a complete merger of ownership and control of WRW with the individual defendants.             The specific factual findings made by the district court amply support piercing the corporate veil of WRW and holding the individual defendants liable for the penalty assessed against the corporate entity.  For all the foregoing reasons, the judgment of the district court is
Deciding Authority: UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT Parties: United States v. WRW Corporation Facts: There were serious violations of safety standards by WRW Corporation and this resulted in the deaths of two miners. A civil penalty of $90,350 was imposed and WRW Corporation liquidated its assets and went out of business. Three individual defendants Roger Richardson, Noah Woolum, and William Woolum, who were the sole shareholders, officers and directors of the company were criminally indicted, imprisoned and criminally fined. The...

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