Blizzard Energy, Inc. v. SchaefersAnnotate this Case
Blizzard invested in a tire pyrolysis project in Kansas and subsequently sued Schaefers. A Kansas jury returned a $3.825 million fraud judgment, which was entered in California. The California court added a judgment debtor (BKS) pursuant to the “outside reverse veil piercing” doctrine, which arises when the request for piercing comes from a third party outside the targeted business entity. The targeted entity was BKS. Schaefers owns a 50 percent interest in that LLC. Schaefers’ wife, Karin, owns the other 50 percent. Neither Karin nor BKS was a defendant in the Kansas action. The California court found that BKS is Schaefers’ alter ego.
The court of appeal affirmed in part. The evidence is sufficient to support the finding that BKS is Schaefers’ alter ego. The court remanded for further proceedings so that the trial court may weigh competing equities that bear on the veil-piercing issue. Blizzard is entitled to recover the damages awarded by the Kansas judgment, but Karin may be an innocent third party who would suffer substantial harm if recovery is accomplished through the reverse veil piercing; there is no indication that she was involved in the fraud committed by Schaefers. Karin may not be responsible for debts incurred by Schaefers after their separation in 1996.