What Are the Limits of an LLC’s Liability Protection?


Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) are a popular business structure due to their flexibility and the personal liability protection they offer their members. Under Florida law, a LLC provides a shield that protects members from being personally liable for the debts and obligations of the business. However, this protection is not absolute. This blog will delve into the nature of liability protection for LLCs in Florida, the limits of this protection, and factors that can affect it. We will also explore practical examples to illustrate these concepts.

Understanding LLC Liability Protection

LLCs are hybrid entities that combine characteristics of corporations and partnerships. One of the primary benefits of forming an LLC is that it limits the personal liability of its members. This means that members are typically not personally responsible for the LLC's debts or legal obligations. Instead, their liability is usually limited to the amount of their investment in the LLC.

Limits of Liability Protection

While the liability protection offered by an LLC is robust, it is not without limits. Here are key factors that can affect the extent of this protection:

  1. Personal Guarantees:
    • When an LLC member personally guarantees a loan or a lease for the LLC, they become personally liable for that obligation. For instance, if a member signs a personal guarantee for a business loan, the lender can pursue the member's personal assets if the LLC defaults on the loan.
  2. Piercing the Corporate Veil:
    • Under certain circumstances, courts may disregard the LLC's separate legal entity status, a process known as "piercing the corporate veil." This can happen if the LLC is found to be a sham entity or if members fail to adhere to formalities required for maintaining an LLC. Factors that may lead to veil piercing include commingling personal and business funds, undercapitalization, or fraudulent behavior.
  3. Tortious Conduct by Members:
    • Members can be held personally liable for their own wrongful acts, even if those acts are performed on behalf of the LLC. For example, if a member commits fraud or engages in negligent conduct that causes harm, they can be personally sued for damages.
  4. Failure to Comply with State Requirements:
    • Failing to comply with state regulations, such as annual filing requirements or paying necessary fees, can result in the loss of liability protection. In Florida, LLCs must file an annual report and pay a fee to remain in good standing. Neglecting these requirements can lead to administrative dissolution of the LLC, exposing members to personal liability.

Practical Examples

  1. Example of Personal Guarantees:
    • Scenario: Jane Doe, a member of Sunshine Marketing LLC, personally guarantees a $50,000 business loan.
    • Outcome: Sunshine Marketing LLC defaults on the loan. The lender can seek repayment from Jane Doe’s personal assets due to the personal guarantee she signed.
  2. Example of Piercing the Corporate Veil:
    • Scenario: John Smith operates ABC Landscaping LLC but uses the LLC’s bank account to pay for personal expenses, such as his mortgage and car payments.
    • Outcome: A creditor sues ABC Landscaping LLC for unpaid debts. The court finds that John’s commingling of personal and business funds justifies piercing the corporate veil, making John personally liable for the LLC’s debts.
  3. Example of Tortious Conduct:
    • Scenario: Sarah Johnson, a member of Tech Innovators LLC, knowingly sells defective products that cause injury to consumers.
    • Outcome: Injured consumers sue Tech Innovators LLC and Sarah Johnson personally for damages resulting from the defective products. Sarah is held personally liable for her fraudulent conduct.

Factors Affecting Liability Protection

Several factors can influence the effectiveness of an LLC’s liability protection:

  1. Proper Formation and Maintenance:
    • Ensure the LLC is properly formed according to Florida state laws, including filing Articles of Organization and creating an Operating Agreement. Regularly update and maintain these documents to reflect current business operations.
  2. Separate Personal and Business Finances:
    • Maintain clear separation between personal and business finances. Use separate bank accounts and credit cards for the LLC and avoid using business funds for personal expenses.
  3. Adequate Capitalization:
    • Ensure the LLC is adequately funded to meet its financial obligations. Underfunded LLCs are more susceptible to veil piercing.
  4. Adherence to Formalities:
    • Follow all required formalities, such as holding regular meetings, maintaining accurate records, and complying with state filing requirements.


An LLC provides significant liability protection for its members, but this protection has its limits. Understanding the scenarios that can lead to personal liability is crucial for LLC members to safeguard their personal assets effectively. By adhering to best practices and maintaining the integrity of the LLC structure, members can minimize their risk of personal liability. Always consult with a legal professional to ensure compliance with Florida laws and to address specific concerns related to your LLC. If you have questions about creating or managing your LLC, contact the Business lawyers at MSD Business for a free consultation.


  1. Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations. Limited Liability Company Overview.
  2. Florida Statutes, Chapter 605.
  3. What Do I Do if My Partner Abandons Our LLC. March 26, 2024. W. Chase Carpenter.
  4. Financial Disputes In LLCs: Understanding and Managing the Key Issues in Florida. March 21, 2024. W. Chase Carpenter.

About the Author:

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Chase Carpenter is a partner in the Business Division of Law Offices of Moffa, Sutton, & Donnini, P.A. His practice revolves around business transactions and business litigation. Mr. Carpenter handles a wide range of cases including contract drafting, partnership disputes, commercial leases, and construction litigation. These cases encompass diverse industries, including healthcare, technology, real estate investment, and government contracting.

About the Firm:

The Law Offices of Moffa, Sutton, & Donnini, P.A., also known as MSD Business, is a local business law firm in Tampa, FL, serving clients throughout Fort Lauderdale and statewide. Our firm has a long history of helping clients navigate all types of complex legal matters, including local and state tax issues. In our business law practice, we assist clients with everything from mergers and acquisitions to contract disputes, business litigation, general counsel, and more.