Bankruptcy Veil-Piercing: Bypassing Broken Nodes?

21 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2010 Last revised: 14 Feb 2012

See all articles by Nicholas L. Georgakopoulos

Nicholas L. Georgakopoulos

Indiana University - Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Date Written: July 14, 2010


The paper examines explanations of the relative frequency of contract piercing litigation. Tort piercing may be rare because it is displaced by product and vicarious liability. Alternatively, contract piercing may be frequent because failing subsidiaries generate piercing litigation. Examining the in¬solvency of subsidiaries by forming a bankruptcy sample, three phenomena appear. (i) The majority of tort claims argue fiduciary breach, which is very rare outside of bankruptcy. (ii) Intentional torts are exceedingly rare but piercing reaches 100%. (iii) Contract piercing is dominated by attempts to pierce others’ veils rather than the debtors.’ The latter phenomenon may correspond to reckoning around the removed nexus of contracting, bypassing the broken node that was the failed subsidiary.

Keywords: piercing, veil piercing, piercing the corporate veil, bankruptcy, substantive consolidation

JEL Classification: K19, K22, C12

Suggested Citation

Georgakopoulos, Nicholas L., Bankruptcy Veil-Piercing: Bypassing Broken Nodes? (July 14, 2010). 5th Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper, Available at SSRN: or

Nicholas L. Georgakopoulos (Contact Author)

Indiana University - Robert H. McKinney School of Law ( email )

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