|ENTERPRISE PRODUCTS PARTNERS L P filed this Form 10-K on 02/28/2018|
Our common unitholders may not have limited liability if a court finds that limited partner actions constitute control of our business.
Under Delaware law, common unitholders could be held liable for our obligations to the same extent as a general partner if a court determined that the right of limited partners to remove our general partner or to take other action under our partnership agreement constituted participation in the “control” of our business. Under Delaware law, our general partner generally has unlimited liability for our obligations, such as our debts and environmental liabilities, except for those of our contractual obligations that are expressly made without recourse to our general partner.
The limitations on the liability of holders of limited partner interests for the obligations of a limited partnership have not been clearly established in some of the states in which we do business. You could have unlimited liability for our obligations if a court or government agency determined that (i) we were conducting business in a state, but had not complied with that particular state’s partnership statute; or (ii) your right to act with other unitholders to remove or replace our general partner, to approve some amendments to our partnership agreement or to take other actions under our partnership agreement constituted “control” of our business.
Unitholders may have liability to repay distributions.
Under certain circumstances, our unitholders may have to repay amounts wrongfully distributed to them. Under Section 17-607 of the Delaware Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act, we may not make a distribution to our unitholders if the distribution would cause our liabilities to exceed the fair value of our assets. Liabilities to partners on account of their partnership interests and liabilities that are non-recourse to the partnership are not counted for purposes of determining whether a distribution is permitted. Delaware law provides that for a period of three years from the date of an impermissible distribution, limited partners who received the distribution and who knew at the time of the distribution that it violated Delaware law will be liable to the limited partnership for the distribution amount. A purchaser of common units who becomes a limited partner is liable for the obligations of the transferring limited partner to make contributions to the partnership that are known to such purchaser of common units at the time it became a limited partner and for unknown obligations if the liabilities could be determined from our partnership agreement.
Our general partner’s interest in us and the control of our general partner may be transferred to a third party without unitholder consent.
Our general partner, in accordance with our partnership agreement, may transfer its general partner interest without the consent of unitholders. In addition, our general partner may transfer its general partner interest to a third party in a merger or consolidation or in a sale of all or substantially all of its assets without the consent of our unitholders. Furthermore, there is no restriction in our partnership agreement on the ability of the sole member of our general partner, currently Dan Duncan LLC, to transfer its equity interests in our general partner to a third party. The new equity owner of our general partner would then be in a position to replace the Board and officers of our general partner with their own choices and to influence the decisions taken by the Board and officers of our general partner.