Consider who you loan money too and, perhaps more importantly, the manner in which your loan agreements (promissory notes) are drafted. By way of example, in what appears to be a failed construction project in Conrad FLB Management, LLC v. Diamond Blue International, Inc., 44 Fla. L. Weekly D2897a (Fla. 3d DCA 2019), a group of lenders lent money to a limited liability company (“Company”) in connection with the development of a project. Promissory notes were executed by Company and executed by its managing member as a representative of Company, and not in a personal capacity. Company, however, did not own the project. Rather, an affiliated entity owned the project (“Affiliated Entity”). Affiliated Entity had the same managing member as Company. Once the Company received the loan proceeds, it transferred the money to Affiliated Entity, presumably for purposes of the project.
The loans were not repaid and the lenders sued Company, Affiliated Entity, and its managing member, in a personal capacity. The lenders claimed they were all jointly liable under the promissory notes. Although the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the lenders, this was reversed on appeal as to the Affiliated Entity and the managing member because there was a factual issue as to whether they should be bound by the note executed on behalf of Company.
First, Florida Statute s. 673.4011(1) provides that “a person is not liable on a promissory note unless either (a) the person signed the note, or (b) the person is represented by an agent who signed the note.” Conrad FLB Management, LLC, supra. Affiliated Entity is a separate entity and did not execute the note.