The City of Cleveland has been one of the most active cities in combating the negative effects of the 2008 financial crisis, utilizing nuisance abatement actions in combination with municipal programs aimed at assisting homeowners and renters. However, the Ohio Revised Limited Liability Company Act ("ORLLCA"), passed in 2021, may reverse the progress made in cities like Cleveland by enabling real estate investors to conceal assets in several series under the same limited liability company, resulting in rising vacancy rates and unstable communities. This will negatively impact the effectiveness of nuisance abatement actions and traditional housing code enforcement in curbing the rise of vacancy in blighted communities. This Note examines the conflicts between the ORLLCA and the processes involved in nuisance abatement actions. The Series Limited Liability Company ("Series LLCs") structure directly conflicts with the requirement of service of process in civil litigation, making it difficult to serve the summons to the defendant. The labyrinthine structure of Series LLCs, combined with the elusive personas of LLCs, makes it almost impossible to serve the summons within the six-month period specified by the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure. The process of Service by Publication is not a feasible alternative, as it is time-consuming, costly, and not equivalent to the standard means of service of process. The ORLLCA's pass-through partnership status and limited liability protection also makes it difficult to enforce and collect judgment in a Series LLC nuisance abatement action. This Note concludes that the ORLLCA's impact on nuisance abatement actions will hinder efforts to curb the rise of vacancy in communities and suggests methods to circumvent this hindrance.
Playing Monopoly with the Neighborhood: Impact of Series Limited Liability Companies on Nuisance Abatement Actions and Housing Code Enforcement,
71 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at https://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol71/iss2/8