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The law permits the incorporation of a business for the very purpose of enabling its proprietors to escape personal liability (see, e.g., Bartle v. Home Owners Co-op., 309 N. Y. 103, 106) but, manifestly, the privilege is not without its limits. Broadly speaking, the courts will disregard the corporate form, or, to use accepted terminology, 'pierce the corporate veil', whenever necessary 'to prevent fraud or to achieve equity'. (International Aircraft Trading Co. v. Manufacturers Trust Co., 297 N. Y. 285, 292.) In determining whether liability should be extended to reach assets beyond those belonging to the corporation, courts are guided, as Judge Cardozo noted, by 'general rules of agency'. (Berkey v. Third Ave. Ry. Co., 244 N. Y. 84, 95.)


Common ownership by itself is insufficient to pierce the veil. See United States v. Bestfoods, 524 U.S. 51, 118 S. Ct. 1876, 1884, 141 L. Ed. 2d 43 (1998). The district court may consider the chronology of events. An inference of evasion may be stronger when the work shifted to the related corporation is distinct from the related corporation's primary line of business. Other factors may also be relevant, such as whether the carrier ...

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