Revealing the people behind a limited liability company

In the last post I talked about why my subpoena to a formation agent (this is not an official term like registered agent and is a general way to refer to the companies which will set up a business for you by carrying out the requisite filings) contained the requests it did.

Now we’ll take a look at what I received back from the formation agent, Harvard Business Services, Inc., in response to the subpoena duces tecum they were served with.

Some may think my posting this information is a violation of privacy of the entity which was the subject of the subpoena. There is no privacy violation in doing this for multiple reasons. First and foremost, the obtained documents were not subject to a protective order. This would be the case if the opposing attorney and myself agreed that I could be provided this information on the condition I wouldn’t share it with anyone. Second, I’m not aware of any federal or state constitutional right to privacy in hiding behind a limited liability company (LLC). Third, the attached document doesn’t contain any information that’s generally considered private. If this document was to be filed electronically with a federal court, I’d have to abide by Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 5.2, entitled “Privacy Protection For Filings Made with the Court.”  This rule would require that I redact the last four digits of the social-security number and taxpayer-identification number, the year of an individual’s birth, the initials of a minor and the last four digits of the financial-account number. To that extent, I did redact the last four digits of the credit card number which was used to form the LLC in question with Harvard Business Services. There are exceptions relating to the redaction of financial account numbers but for now those are unnecessary to explain.

Take a look at what was received from the formation agent. Prior to this subpoena, I didn’t know anything about this LLC. After, I know a lot more. Even if the individuals listed were not “members” by the time I received the subpoenaed documents, I have enough information to keep digging. I then would subpoena the named individuals and keep going until I uncovered what was necessary to my client’s case.

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