How to lose a claim for liability of corporate administrators?

abogado responsabilidad administradores

3 Relevant points in a claim for Responsibility of administrators for corporate debts

 

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La reclamación de la responsabilidad de los administradores sociales es una vía para intentar el cobro de las deudas. No obstante, no es un camino fácil. En esta entrada, we review the main pitfalls that arise in this type of procedure, following the sentence of the Chamber 15 of the Provincial Court of Barcelona 22 September 2020 (Res. No. 1958/2020).

Commercial companies were created to allow the creation of a separate estate and to prevent the failure of the company from damaging the individual assets of the partners. Starting from this base, for the success of the liability claims of the administrators, se debe probar la relación de causalidad del daño y los tribunales exigen al demandante un esfuerzo argumentativo al demandante.

Fact background,,es,Juan Alberto and Paulina filed suit against FTA,,es,Asset Securitization Fund,,es,requesting the declaration of nullity for abusive of the floor and ceiling clauses contained in the novation contract of the mortgage loan of,,es,with the corresponding refund of amounts unduly collected,,es,The Securitization Fund Management Company,,es,Beech,,es,acting on behalf of FTA, he responded to said claim alleging that he lacked passive legitimacy since the entity had no legal personality and that it constituted only a private and open fund and that therefore the passive legitimization corresponded to BBVA as successor of Catalunya Banc that was the Company fund constituent,,es

MILLENIUM and EUROMAQ signed an insurance policy that guaranteed all customs and tax debts incurred by EUROMAQ.

The first paid to the AEAT 73.000 € el 26 September 2012.

MILLENIUM brought the redemption action against EUROMAQ. The collection could not be made effective because EUROMAQ abandoned its registered office and actually disappeared.

So Millennium sued D. Jesus Manuel and D. Peter Jesus, as administrators of EUROMAQ, exercising acción de responsabilidad por deudas del art. 367 LSC, considering that they breached the duty of dissolution of the company when there was cause for dissolution, that the lawsuit was linked to the insolvency situation of the company of which they were administrators and the fact that they had not requested the bankruptcy. También ejercitaron la acción de daños del art. 241 LSC por haber incumplido sus deberes como administradores, causing damage equivalent to the amount that Millenium had to pay to the Tax Agency.

Primera Instancia

The Commercial Court nº 8 Barcelona gave judgment on 14 October 2019, dismissing the claim filed by MILLENNIUM INSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED. Acquitted D. Jesus Manuel and D. Peter Jesus.

The Court considered that in relation to the action of responsibility of the article 367 LCC, no identificaron la causa de disolución y respecto a la responsabilidad por daños del artículo 241, the assumptions required by law and jurisprudence did not meet.

Provincial Court

MILLENNIUM INSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED filed an appeal.

Responsibility of administrators ex art. 367 LSC

The writing of the article 367 LSC no precisa la producción de un daño ni la existencia de la relación de causalidad. Basta con que la sociedad incurra en una causa de disolución imperativa y que el administrador, breaching their legal duty, do not call a meeting to dissolve the company within two months. Then, los administradores serán responsables de las obligaciones sociales posteriores al acaecimiento de la causa legal de disolución. Y se presume, unless proven otherwise, que las obligaciones reclamadas son de fecha posterior a la causa de disolución.

For liability action to prosper, the following requirements must be met:

“a) that the existence of a debt owed by the company and in favor of the plaintiff creditor is proven;

b) let it be proven that, least, Two months before the filing of the claim, the imperative cause for dissolution was manifested and had to be known by the administrator;

c) that the defendant administrator was so at the time of the cause for dissolution and during the following two months;

d) that the administrator let this period elapse without calling a general meeting to agree on the dissolution or remove the cause; and

and) with the favoring of the presumption indicated, that the obligation or debt claimed has been contracted or was born after the occurrence of the cause of dissolution. "

Si no se identifica correctamente la causa de disolución, the action will be dismissed. Se debe acudir a las causas de disolución contempladas en el artículo 363 the LSC que son “numerus clausus”.   Recordemos que entre dichas causas no se encuentra una situación de insolvencia que pudiera necesitar de un procedimiento concursal.

Y a este respecto es importante hacer la siguiente matización:  The way of 367 LSC nos permite reclamar las deudas generadas con posterioridad a la existencia de la causa de la disoluciónSi alegásemos el cierre de facto (the “persianazo”) as cause of dissolution, que indirectamente permite intuir que secesa en el ejercicio de la actividad que constituye el objeto social”, necessarily, the debt would be earlier: la deuda habría nacido con anterioridad a la causa de disolución. No podríamos reclamarla por esta vía.

Liability for damages of art. 241 LSC

La Sala exigía que tres requisitos eran indispensables para que la acción prosperase:

“a) a negligent act attributable to the administrator;

b) that damage is derived from it for the creditor or partner; and

c) that there is a precise and direct link between the illegal act and the damage claimed, namely, nexus of causation. "

Also, brought up the judgment of the Supreme Court of 13 July 2016, that required the plaintiff:

“There must be a clearer breach of a legal duty to which the non-payment of the social debt can be directly tied.

(….) to make an argumentative effort in the claim, a partir del cual es posible atribuir al demandado la carga de acreditar que no existe ese nexo causal.

(….) no puede recurrirse indiscriminadamente a la vía de la responsabilidad individual de los administradores por cualquier incumplimiento contractual”

For the Board, EUROMAQ cesó en su actividad, limiting itself to presenting art. 5 to LC, without making the declaration of competition, so the company was not liquidated in an orderly manner. However, MILLENIUM no realizó el esfuerzo argumentativo exigido por la jurisprudencia, and es el demandante el que debe acreditar la existencia de nexo causal entre los incumplimientos legales y el daño.  Specifically, apunta a que no constaba que Euromaq dispusiera de bienes que hubieran permitido el cobro de la deuda si se hubiera liquidado ordenadamente la sociedad.

The Chamber also rejected this motive.

Conclusion

The “persianazo”,  “cerrojazo” the “cierre de factode la empresa no conlleva necesariamente la responsabilidad de los administradores.

1.- Se deben computar los tiempos para comprobar si ha habido prescripción.

2.- En la vía del artículo 367 LSC, debe demostrarse la existencia de alguna de las causas del artículo 363 LSC y solo se pueden reclamar las deudas nacidas con posterioridad a la aparición de dicha causa.

3.- Si se pretende la acción del artículo 241 LSC, el demandante debe demostrar la existencia del acto negligente por el administrador, el daño sufrido por el acreedor, and above all, la existencia de causalidad, namely, que se habría podido cobrar de no existir dicho ilícito.

El déficit en cualquiera de dichas exigencias, probablemente conducirá a la desestimación. Por ello es recomendable que se asesore con un abogado experto en responsabilidad de los administradores societarios.

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