One of the requirements to bring a lawsuit is that you have standing to sue. What the heck is standing? It just means that you have to be the person/party who was actually wronged. So if my friend entered into a contract and the other party breached that contract, my friend could sue the other party, but I couldn't, because I wasn't wronged...I wasn't party to the contract. (Technically I could still sue, it just would get dismissed very early on, and I might be subject to a counter-suit for bringing a frivolous claim.)
For real estate investors who hold property in an LLC, standing can be an issue because the LLC is treated as a separate "person" from the LLC's owners. So, unless you're an attorney and can represent third parties, you generally can't sue or defend from suit if it's your LLC that is the party involved in the suit.
However, there is an interesting exception to the standing rule for eviction cases. Normally, only the real party in interest would be able to bring an eviction action, which would mean the owner. However, Ohio law loosens the standing requirements for evictions and allows a property manager to bring the action, even though the property manager wouldn't be a "real party in interest" otherwise, since they don't own the property. That's why you don't have to show up in court (generally) for eviction cases when you have a property manager. Feel free to make up your own bad standing pun and insert it here - perhaps something using the old "left standing out in the rain" adage might garner an appropriate groan.
Please remember that these posts are for informational purposes only and should not be considered or relied on as legal advice. If you are ever in doubt about your rights under the law, you should consult an attorney familiar with the law in your area.
Ben Bauer is a Cincinnati-based attorney who writes about things in law and life that he finds interesting.