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indemnity clause in by-laws?

14 years 11 months ago #59222 by fencingmom
indemnity clause in by-laws? was created by fencingmom
I've just about got our by-laws finished however, we wanted to put an indemnity clause in to protect the board members. I have read plenty of by-laws on the net but I havent seen such a thing. Does anyone have an example for me to follow? I sure would appreciate your help.
14 years 11 months ago #59223 by JHB
Replied by JHB on topic indemnity clause in by-laws?
You'd need to consult a lawyer on this. I don't see how an indemnity clause just saying the officers/organization isn't liable would have any weight in bylaws.

I know some non-profits have indemnity clauses stating the organization will provide a defense, cover legal fees and settlements for officers/board members in the case of a suit as long as the person wasn't guilty of criminal activity.

Maybe someone here on the board can help. Or maybe if you write it into "Dear Ellie", Tim can check with the non-profit lawyer they consult. Otherwise, I'd suggest you get professional advice on this one.
14 years 11 months ago #59224 by backhoed
Replied by backhoed on topic indemnity clause in by-laws?
I think the only way you can protect board members is to incorporate. I am assuming you are talking about lawsuits?
14 years 11 months ago #59225 by fencingmom
Replied by fencingmom on topic indemnity clause in by-laws?
Our lawyer was going to give us this clause to add however, our pro-bono lawyer will not return any of my calls.

Yes, its to help prevent lawsuits against board members. I'm starting to think we dont need it!
14 years 11 months ago #59226 by mum24kids
My husband's a corporate attorney; I asked him for some standard language. (I think this sort of falls into the "be careful for what you wish for" category, because this thing is probably more wordy than you entire set of bylaws! I may set a record for the longest post ever with this one.)

Basically, as JHB stated, this type of clause just works out mechanism for covering legal fees, etc., if someone is sued. It doesn't prevent lawsuits.

This language talks about Delaware because so many organizations incorporate in Delaware. I'm sure you could modify it to fit your circumstance. You could also modify this to fit your circumstances with a whole lot less legalese; hubby just doesn't have time to take a stab at it now....

The first part goes in the charter; the second part is the part that goes in the bylaws to provide the actual mechanism.

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Charter Indemnification Provisions


To the maximum extent permitted by law, the Corporation shall fully indemnify any person who was or is threatened to be made a party to any threatened, pending or completed action, suit or proceeding (whether civil, criminal, administrative or investigative) by reason of the fact that such person is or was a director or officer of the Corporation, or is or was serving at the request of the Corporation as a director or officer of another corporation, partnership, joint venture, trust, employee benefit plan, or other enterprise, against expenses (including attorneys’ fees), judgements, fines and amounts paid in settlement actually and reasonable incurred by such person in connection with such action, suit or proceeding.
To the extent permitted by law, the Corporation may fully indemnify any person who was or is a party to is threatened to be made a party to any threatened, pending or completed action, suit or proceeding (whether civil, criminal, administrative or investigative) by reason of the fact that such person is or was an employee or agent of the Corporation, or is or was serving as the request of the Corporation as an employee or agent of another corporation, partnership, joint venture, trust, employee benefit plan, or other enterprise, against expenses (including attorneys’ fees), judgements, fines and amounts paid in settlement actually and reasonable incurred by such person in connection with such action, suit or proceeding.
The Corporation shall, if so requested by a director or officer, advance expenses (including attorneys’ fees) incurred by a director or officer in advance of the final disposition of such action, suit or proceeding upon the receipt of an undertaking by or on behalf of the director or officer to repay such amount if it shall ultimately be determined that such director or officer is not entitled to indemnification. The Corporation may advance expenses (including attorneys’ fees) incurred by an employee or agent in advance of the final disposition of such action, suit or proceeding upon such terms and conditions, if any, as the Board of Directors deems appropriate.

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Bylaws Indemnification Provisions


Section 1.1 Directors and Executive Officers. The corporation shall indemnify its Directors and executive officers to the fullest extent not prohibited by the Delaware General Corporation Law; provided, however, that the corporation may limit the extent of such indemnification by individual contracts with its Directors and executive officers; and, provided, further, that the corporation shall not be required to indemnify any Director or executive officer in connection with any proceeding (or part thereof) initiated by such person or any proceeding by such person against the corporation or its Directors, officers, employees or other agents unless (i) such indemnification is expressly required to be made by law, (ii) the proceeding was authorized by the Board of Directors of the corporation, or (iii) such indemnification is provided by the corporation, in its sole discretion, pursuant to the powers vested in the corporation under the Delaware General Corporation Law.
Section 1.2 Other Officers, Employees and Other Agents. The corporation shall have power to indemnify its other officers, employees and other agents as set forth in the Delaware General Corporation Law.
Section 1.3 Good Faith.
(a) For purposes of any determination under this Article XI, a Director or executive officer shall be deemed to have acted in good faith and in a manner such officer reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the corporation, and, with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, to have had no reasonable cause to believe that such officer’s conduct was unlawful, if such officer’s action is based on information, opinions, reports and statements, including financial statements and other financial data, in each case prepared or presented by:
(i) one or more officers or employees of the corporation whom the Director or executive officer believed to be reliable and competent in the matters presented;
(ii) counsel, independent accountants or other persons as to matters which the Director or executive officer believed to be within such person’s professional competence; and
(iii) with respect to a Director, a committee of the Board upon which such Director does not serve, as to matters within such committee’s designated authority, which committee the Director believes to merit confidence; so long as, in each case, the Director or executive officer acts without knowledge that would cause such reliance to be unwarranted.
(b) The termination of any proceeding by judgment, order, settlement, conviction or upon a plea of nolo contendere or its equivalent shall not, of itself, create a presumption that the person did not act in good faith and in a manner which such person reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the corporation, and, with respect to any criminal proceeding, that such person had reasonable cause to believe that his conduct was unlawful.
(c) The provisions of this Section 11.3 shall not be deemed to be exclusive or to limit in any way the circumstances in which a person may be deemed to have met the applicable standard of conduct set forth by the Delaware General Corporation Law.
Section 1.4 Expenses. The corporation shall advance, prior to the final disposition of any proceeding, promptly following request therefor, all expenses incurred by any Director or executive officer in connection with such proceeding upon receipt of an undertaking by or on behalf of such person to repay said amounts if it should be determined ultimately that such person is not entitled to be indemnified under this Article XI or otherwise.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, unless otherwise determined pursuant to Section 11.5 of this Article XI, no advance shall be made by the corporation if a determination is reasonably and promptly made (i) by the Board of Directors by a majority vote of a quorum consisting of Directors who were not parties to the proceeding, or (ii) if such quorum is not obtainable, or, even if obtainable, a quorum of disinterested directors so directs, by independent legal counsel in a written opinion, that the facts known to the decision-making party at the time such determination is made demonstrate clearly and convincingly that such person acted in bad faith or in a manner that such person did not believe to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the corporation.
Section 1.5 Enforcement. Without the necessity of entering into an express contract, all rights to indemnification and advances to Directors and executive officers under this Article XI shall be deemed to be contractual rights and be effective to the same extent and as if provided for in a contract between the corporation and the Director or executive officer. Any right to indemnification or advances granted by this Article XI to a Director or executive officer shall be enforceable by or on behalf of the person holding such right in any court of competent jurisdiction if (i) the claim for indemnification or advances is denied, in whole or in part, or (ii) no disposition of such claim is made within ninety (90) days of request therefor. The claimant in such enforcement action, if successful in whole or in part, also shall be entitled to be paid the expense of prosecuting his claim. The corporation shall be entitled to raise as a defense to any such action that the claimant has not met the standards of conduct that make it permissible under the Delaware General Corporation Law for the corporation to indemnify the claimant for the amount claimed. Neither the failure of the corporation (including its Board of Directors, independent legal counsel or its stockholders) to have made a determination prior to the commencement of such action that indemnification of the claimant is proper in the circumstances because such person has met the applicable standard of conduct set forth in the Delaware General Corporation Law, nor an actual determination by the corporation (including its Board of Directors, independent legal counsel or its stockholders) that the claimant has not met such applicable standard of conduct, shall be a defense to the action or create a presumption that claimant has not met the applicable standard of conduct.
Section 1.6 Non-Exclusivity of Rights. The rights conferred on any person by this Article XI shall not be exclusive of any other right which such person may have or hereafter acquire under any statute, provision of the Certificate of Incorporation, Bylaws, agreement, vote of stockholders or disinterested Directors or otherwise, both as to action in his official capacity and as to action in another capacity while holding office. The corporation is specifically authorized to enter into individual contracts with any or all of its Directors, officers, employees or agents respecting indemnification and advances, to the fullest extent not prohibited by the Delaware General Corporation Law.
Section 1.7 Survival of Rights. The rights conferred on any person by this Article XI shall continue as to a person who has ceased to be a Director, officer, employee or other agent and shall inure to the benefit of the heirs, executors and administrators of such a person.
Section 1.8 Insurance. To the fullest extent permitted by the Delaware General Corporation Law, the corporation, upon approval by the Board of Directors, may purchase insurance on behalf of any person required or permitted to be indemnified pursuant to this Article XI.
14 years 11 months ago #59227 by fencingmom
Replied by fencingmom on topic indemnity clause in by-laws?
Mum - thanks,,,,I think! Now I have alot of work to do!
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