By Amanda Bourgeois

The substantial flexibility afforded by the limited liability company structure has made it an increasingly popular business entity choice.  Indeed, most of the default provisions in the Louisiana Limited Liability Company Law, La. R.S. 12:1301, et seq. (the “La LLC Law”) may be altered or superseded by the articles of organization or operating agreement of the limited liability company.  One such provision that is quite frequently altered or superseded in the operating agreements of many limited liability companies is that of the transfer or assignment of a membership interest in the limited liability company.

Unless the articles of organization or operating agreement of the limited liability company provide otherwise, a membership interest is freely assignable, in whole or in part, under the La LLC Law.[1]  This default provision is often unattractive to members of limited liability companies, especially ones that may be family-owned or formed for a particular joint venture project.  The desire to keep membership in the entity limited to either the current members or certain defined groups of persons drives many members of limited liability companies to include rules and restrictions to limit or prohibit the rights of a member to transfer or assign the membership interest in the limited liability company.  Most transfer restrictions included in a written operating agreement or the articles of organization are not problematic under Louisiana law.  However, members should be aware that restricting a member’s ability to pledge or encumber the membership interests in the limited liability company can be rendered ineffective by certain provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code – Secured Transactions, La. R.S. 10:9-101, et seq. (“UCC Chapter 9”).

Although there are some exceptions, in most cases, an interest in a limited liability company is considered a general intangible under UCC Chapter 9.  As a comparison, in most cases, shares of stock in a corporation are considered a security under UCC Chapter 9.  Under Louisiana law, this classification of general intangible versus security can affect, among other things, the available methods of perfecting the security interest, the determination of priority of competing security interests, and the effectiveness of anti-assignment provisions.

Pursuant to La. R.S. 10:9-408, certain contractual restrictions on the creation and perfection of a security interest of a general intangible are negated and rendered ineffective.  In the context of a limited liability company, Section 9-408 could be used to render ineffective a provision in an operating agreement or articles of incorporation (i) prohibiting a member from pledging or encumbering his or her membership interest or (ii) requiring the prior consent of the limited liability company or the other members thereof to the pledge or encumbrance of membership interests in the limited liability company.

Importantly, although the restrictions under Section 9-408 may permit a lender to take a perfected security interest in limited liability company interests despite contrary provisions in the organizational documents of the limited liability company, it does not necessarily mean that the secured creditor will have the right to enforce the security interest.  Further, it does not otherwise negate the default assignment provisions of the La LLC Law, or any similar provisions in the limited liability company organizational documents, that provide that any assignment of membership interests shall not grant to the assignee full membership rights absent the consent of the other members.  Consequently, absent contrary provisions in the organizational documents of the limited liability company or the unanimous consent in writing of the other members, in the event of a seizure of or foreclosure upon the membership interests, the creditor or any purchaser in a foreclosure sale is treated as an assignee of the membership interest, which only entitles the assigned to a right to receive distributions, share in the profits and losses, and receive allocations of income, gain, loss, deduction, credit or similar items to which the assignor member would otherwise have received.

__________________________________________

[1] It should be noted that even under the default provisions of the La LLC Law, an assignment of a membership interest does not entitle the assignee to become or exercise any rights or powers of a member, such as voting or participating in the management of the business, until such time as the assignee is admitted as a member, which requires the unanimous consent in writing of the other members of the limited liability company pursuant to the La LLC Law.  The assignment does, though, entitle the assignee to receive distributions, share in the profits and losses, and receive allocations of income, gain, loss, deduction, credit or similar items to which the assignor member would otherwise have received.   

 

imagesCAPVJJ54

By G. Trippe Hawthorne

Act 759 of 2014 updated and amended a number of aspects of Louisiana’s Public Bid Law, set out at La. R.S. 38:2212, et seq. The 2014 Amendments included the following:

  • A Public bid opening is no longer required. La. R.S. 38:2212.A.(3)(g)(iii), which previously provided, “[a]ll construction contracts on public works shall be opened in a public meeting” was deleted;
  • The requirement to provide “10 Day documents” (attestation affidavits; E-verify, etc…) only applies to the apparent low bidder (with the exception of East Baton Rouge Parish, which requires some documents to be filed prior to bidding) La. R.S. 38:2212.B(3)(a) and (b);
  • Written words expressly govern in the event of a conflict between words and numbers for the base bid total and alternate bids. La. R.S. 38:2212.B(6)(b);
  • Unit prices govern if there is a discrepancy between the base bid total and extended unit pricing. La. R.S. 38:2212.B.(6)(c);
  • The Contract Limit is no longer a static $150,000. It will be adjusted to CPI after February 15, 2015. La. R.S. 38:2212.C(1);
  • Submitted bid documents will be made available for public inspection no sooner than the earlier of (i) 14 days after the bid opening or (ii) the recommendation of award by the public entity or design professional. La. R.S. 38:2212.H;
  • Projects cannot be advertised if the public entity does not have sufficient funds budgeted to meet the “Probable construction costs” which will be announced at the bid opening or posted electronically. La. R.S. 38:2212.H;
  • Bidders must attend (and stay at) any mandatory pre-bid meeting. La. R.S. 38:2212.I;
  • Additional details as to the procedures for the due process hearing required to declare a bidder non-responsible are filled in. La.R.S. 38:2212.X; and
  • The deadline for awarding or rejecting all bids has been unified at 45 days (the State of Louisiana had previously been under a 30 day deadline); the 45 day deadline can be extended by agreement between the awarding authority and the apparent low bidder. La. R.S. 38:2215.

It is noteworthy that these amendments to the Public Bid Law did not include any changes apparently intended to soften the current climate of “ultra-strict” construction of bid responsiveness required by Hamp’s Const., L.L.C. v. City of New Orleans, 2005-0489 (La. 2/22/06), 924 So. 2d 104, and illustrated in cases such as Roof Technologies, Inc. v. State, Div. of Admin., Office of Facility Planning & Control, 2009-0925 (La. App. 1 Cir. 10/28/09), 29 So. 3d 621, 621 (La. Ct. App. 2009).