Does a probate court in Michigan have jurisdiction over a Florida LLC and its Florida resident members?

Asked 7 months ago - West Palm Beach, FL

Wondering if a Michigan probate court out of state can enter a default judgement against an out of state LLC and its out of state members and have it stand, or if defendants can appeal judgement based on jurisdiction.

Additional information

There is about to be a default judgement against the LLC. The estate of a previous client of ours is who is filing the lawsuit. My husband previously had another partner running the company. That partner left, and my husband was sole owner and member. I am currently sole member and owner. My husband and I have never been to MI, this case is our only connection to Michian, and neither my husband nor I have ever spoke with the client. The original complaint was with an independent contractor of the company. Our names were never mentioned. We believe we are going to be personally sued, since the company has no assets and the prosecuting attorney is relentless.

Attorney answers (6)

  1. Donna R Blaustein

    Contributor Level 13

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You have not provided enough information to answer this question appropriately. In general, an out of state entity must be served with pleadings or there must be some business activity in the state to allow the secretary of state to be served on its behalf. You really need to consult an attorney to be sure you and the LLC and its members are protected.

    The above answer is not to be considered legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should consult... more
  2. Pamela Thea Higer Polani

    Contributor Level 12

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Please provide more details so that a more informed answer could be provided. Thanks!

    I may be further reached by email (polani@bellsouth.net) or through my website (www.bocadelrayattorneyatlaw.com).... more
  3. Carol Anne Johnson

    Contributor Level 18

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Without proper service of process that such a claim is pending - No. If the members of the LLC HAVE been properly served and failed to file an appropriate response within the time allotted, then they are in default. If improper jurisdiction is claimed, then that should have been argued in the response to the initial pleading. Whether or not jurisdiction exists is based on the "minimum contacts" rule, so not enough information to answer with specificity.

    Carol Johnson Law Firm, P.A. : (727) 647-6645 : carol@caroljohnsonlaw.com : Wills, Trusts, Real Property, Probate,... more
  4. David Michael Platt

    Contributor Level 7

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . As indicated by all of the other answers, there are just not enough facts here to provide a clear answer. As an attorney licensed in both Michigan and Florida, however, I can tell you that a Probate Court has pretty much the same powers in equity as a Circuit Court in Michigan. Therefore, if properly served, the Court has the authority to enter the judgment. Whether it can be set aside due to improper service is a factual question.

  5. Christopher Quinn Wintter

    Contributor Level 12

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . I agree that you need to hire counsel and you have given us inadequate facts to answer your question.

    Generally, a court can only enter a judgment against a person or business entity if it acquires personal jurisdiction over the person or entity. Personal jurisdiction is usually only acquired by serving the person or entity with a summons and complaint by personal service. However, even if the court obtains personal service over the defendant, the court may not enter a judgment against the defendant unless the person has sufficient minimium contacts with the State (here Michigan) attempting to excercise jurisdiction over the defendant. If the person does not have sufficient minimium contacts with the state, the court cannot enter a judgment that binds that person.

    You state that the judgment is a default judgment by the probte court in Michigan. Probate courts often do not excercise personal jurisdiction over beneficiaries but only excercise jurisdiction over the property under its control. However, Stock is personalty which is probated and disposed of by an estate in the estate of the decedent's domicile or residence.

    You definitely need to hire an attorney to advise you as to the issues. Good Luck.

  6. Charles Adam Shultz

    Contributor Level 19

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . It depends on what the claim is? You need to provide more facts about the claim and the connection of the claim to what appears to be a Michigan Probate. Ownership of the LLC interest by the decedent would be in the Michigan but claims by the decedent or the decedent's estate against the LLC or its member may very well be Florida jurisdiction.

    The general advice above does not constitute an attorney-client relationship: you haven't hired me or my firm or... more

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