pierce the corporate veil

pierce the corporate veil
v.
To impose personal liability for corporate activities on individuals associated with the corporation, doing away with the protection against personal liability that ordinarily accompanies corporate status, usually in cases in which directors or managers were using the corporation to commit fraud or other crimes for their own personal gain.

The Essential Law Dictionary. — Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. . 2008.

pierce the corporate veil
v.
   to prove that a corporation exists merely as a completely controlled front (alter ego) for an individual or management group, so that in a lawsuit the individual defendants can be held responsible (liable) for damages for actions of the corporation. If a corporation has issued stock and held regular meetings of shareholders and directors, it is unlikely a judge will "pierce" the veil and limit the liability to the corporation, unless there is proof that the corporation was created to accomplish a fraud on those dealing with it.
   See also: corporation

Law dictionary. . 2013.

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