Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 13.1. Corporations
8/15/2020

Article 7. Members and Meetings.

§ 13.1-837. Members.

A corporation may have one or more classes of members or may have no members. If the corporation has one or more classes of members, the designation of such class or classes and the qualifications and rights of the members of each class shall be set forth in the articles of incorporation or, if the articles of incorporation so provide, in the bylaws. A corporation may issue certificates evidencing membership interests therein. Membership interests shall not be transferable. Members shall not have voting or other rights except as provided in the articles of incorporation or if the articles of incorporation so provide, in the bylaws. Members of any corporation existing on January 1, 1957, shall continue to have the same voting and other rights as before January 1, 1957, until changed by amendment of the articles of incorporation.

Code 1950, § 13.1-211; 1956, c. 428; 1958, c. 564; 1982, c. 182; 1985, c. 522; 2007, c. 925.

§ 13.1-838. Annual meeting.

A. A corporation shall hold a meeting of members annually at a time stated in or fixed in accordance with the bylaws.

B. Except as otherwise determined by the board of directors acting pursuant to subsection C of § 13.1-844.2, meetings of members may be held at such place, in or out of the Commonwealth, as may be provided in the bylaws or, where not inconsistent with the bylaws, in the notice of the meeting.

C. The failure to hold an annual meeting at the time stated in or fixed in accordance with a corporation's bylaws does not affect the validity of any corporate action.

Code 1950, § 13.1-213; 1956, c. 428; 1975, c. 500; 1985, c. 522; 2007, c. 925; 2012, c. 706; 2018, c. 265.

§ 13.1-839. Special meeting.

A. A corporation shall hold a special meeting of members:

1. On call of the chairman of the board of directors, the president, the board of directors, or the person or persons authorized to do so by the articles of incorporation or bylaws; or

2. In the absence of a provision in the articles of incorporation or bylaws stating who may call a special meeting of members, a special meeting of members may be called by members having one-twentieth of the votes entitled to be cast at such meeting.

B. Unless otherwise provided in the articles of incorporation, a written demand for a special meeting may be revoked by a writing, including an electronic transmission, to that effect received by the corporation prior to the receipt by the corporation of demands sufficient in number to require the holding of a special meeting.

C. If not otherwise fixed under § 13.1-840 or 13.1-844, the record date for determining members entitled to demand a special meeting is the date the first member signs the demand.

D. Except as otherwise determined by the board of directors acting pursuant to subsection C of § 13.1-844.2, members' meetings may be held at such place in or out of the Commonwealth as may be provided in the bylaws or, where not inconsistent with the bylaws, in the notice of the meeting.

E. Only business within the purpose or purposes described in the meeting notice required by subsection C of § 13.1-842 may be conducted at a special members' meeting.

Code 1950, § 13.1-213; 1956, c. 428; 1975, c. 500; 1985, c. 522; 2007, c. 925; 2012, c. 706; 2018, c. 265.

§ 13.1-840. Court-ordered meeting.

A. The circuit court of the city or county where a corporation's principal office is located, or, if none in the Commonwealth, where its registered office is located, may, after notice to the corporation, order a meeting of members to be held:

1. On petition of any member of the corporation entitled to participate in an annual meeting if an annual meeting was not held within 15 months after its last annual meeting or, if there has been no annual meeting, the date of its incorporation; or

2. On petition of a member who signed a demand for a special meeting that satisfies the requirements of § 13.1-839 if:

a. Notice of the special meeting was not given within 30 days after the date the demand was delivered to the corporation's secretary; or

b. The special meeting was not held in accordance with the notice.

B. The court may fix the time and place of the meeting, determine the members entitled to participate in the meeting, specify a record date for determining members entitled to notice of and to vote at the meeting, prescribe the form and content of the meeting notice, and enter other orders necessary to accomplish the purpose or purposes of the meeting.

1985, c. 522; 2007, c. 925.

§ 13.1-841. Corporate action without meeting.

A. 1. Corporate action required or permitted by this chapter to be taken at a meeting of the members may be taken without a meeting and without prior notice if the corporate action is taken by all members entitled to vote on the corporate action, in which case no corporate action by the board of directors shall be required.

2. Notwithstanding subdivision 1 of this subsection, if so provided in the articles of incorporation of a corporation, corporate action required or permitted by this chapter to be taken at a meeting of members may be taken without a meeting and without prior notice, if the corporate action is taken by members who would be entitled to vote at a meeting of members having voting power to cast not fewer than the minimum number (or numbers, in the case of voting by voting groups) of votes that would be necessary to authorize or take the corporate action at a meeting at which all members entitled to vote thereon were present and voted.

3. The corporate action shall be evidenced by one or more written consents bearing the date of execution and describing the corporate action taken, signed by the members entitled to take such corporate action without a meeting and delivered to the secretary of the corporation for inclusion in the minutes or filing with the corporate records. Any corporate action taken by written consent shall be effective according to its terms when the requisite consents are in possession of the corporation. Corporate action taken under this section is effective as of the date specified therein, provided the consent states the date of execution by each member.

B. If not otherwise determined under § 13.1-840 or 13.1-844, the record date for determining members entitled to take corporate action without a meeting is the date the first member signs the consent under subsection A. No written consent shall be effective to take the corporate action referred to therein unless, within 120 days after the earliest date of execution appearing on a consent delivered to the corporation in the manner required by this section, written consents sufficient in number to take corporate action are received by the corporation. A written consent may be revoked by a writing to that effect received by the corporation prior to receipt by the corporation of unrevoked written consents sufficient in number to take corporate action.

C. For purposes of this section, written consent may be accomplished by one or more electronic transmissions, as defined in § 13.1-803. A consent signed under this section has the effect of a vote of voting members at a meeting and may be described as such in any document filed with the Commission under this chapter.

D. If corporate action is to be taken under this section by fewer than all of the members entitled to vote on the action, the corporation shall give written notice of the proposed corporate action, not less than five days before the action is taken, to all persons who are members on the record date and who are entitled to vote on the matter. The notice shall contain or be accompanied by the same material that under this chapter would have been required to be sent to members in a notice of meeting at which the corporate action would have been submitted to the members for a vote.

E. If this chapter requires that notice of proposed corporate action be given to nonvoting members and the corporate action is to be taken by consent of the voting members, the corporation shall give its nonvoting members written notice of the proposed action not less than five days before it is taken. The notice shall contain or be accompanied by the same material that under this chapter would have been required to be sent to nonvoting members in a notice of meeting at which the corporate action would have been submitted to the members for a vote.

F. Any person, whether or not then a member, may provide that a consent in writing as a member shall be effective at a future time, including the time when an event occurs, but such future time shall not be more than 60 days after such provision is made. Any such consent shall be deemed to have been made for purposes of this section at the future time so specified for the consent to be effective, provided that (i) the person is a member at such future time and (ii) the person did not revoke the consent prior to such future time.

Code 1950, § 13.1-216; 1956, c. 428; 1985, c. 522; 2007, c. 925; 2015, c. 611.

§ 13.1-842. Notice of meeting.

A. 1. A corporation shall notify members of the date, time, and place, if any, of each annual and special members' meeting. Such notice shall be given no less than 10 nor more than 60 days before the meeting date except that notice of a members' meeting to act on an amendment of the articles of incorporation, a plan of merger, domestication, a proposed sale of assets pursuant to § 13.1-900, or the dissolution of the corporation shall be given not less than 25 nor more than 60 days before the meeting date. Unless this chapter or the articles of incorporation require otherwise, the corporation is required to give notice only to members entitled to vote at the meeting.

2. In lieu of delivering notice as specified in subdivision A 1, the corporation may publish such notice at least once a week for two successive calendar weeks in a newspaper published in the city or county in which the registered office is located, or having a general circulation therein, the first publication to be not more than 60 days, and the second not less than seven days before the date of the meeting.

B. Unless this chapter or the articles of incorporation require otherwise, notice of an annual meeting need not state the purpose or purposes for which the meeting is called.

C. Notice of a special meeting shall state the purpose or purposes for which the meeting is called.

D. If not otherwise fixed under § 13.1-840 or 13.1-844, the record date for determining members entitled to notice of and to vote at an annual or special meeting is the day before the effective date of the notice to members.

E. Unless the bylaws require otherwise, if an annual or special meeting is adjourned to a different date, time, or place, notice need not be given if the new date, time, or place, if any, is announced at the meeting before adjournment. If a new record date for the adjourned meeting is or shall be fixed under § 13.1-844, however, not less than 10 days before the meeting date notice of the adjourned meeting shall be given under this section to persons who are members as of the new record date.

Code 1950, § 13.1-214; 1956, c. 428; 1958, c. 564; 1960, c. 214; 1985, c. 522; 1986, c. 529; 2002, c. 285; 2007, c. 925; 2010, c. 171; 2015, c. 611; 2018, c. 265.

§ 13.1-843. Waiver of notice.

A. A member may waive any notice required by this Act, the articles of incorporation, or bylaws before or after the date and time of the meeting that is the subject of such notice. The waiver shall be in writing, be signed by the member entitled to the notice, and be delivered to the secretary of the corporation for inclusion in the minutes or filing with the corporate records.

B. A member's attendance at a meeting:

1. Waives objection to lack of notice or defective notice of the meeting, unless the member at the beginning of the meeting objects to holding the meeting or transacting business at the meeting; and

2. Waives objection to consideration of a particular matter at the meeting that is not within the purpose or purposes described in the meeting notice, unless the member objects to considering the matter when it is presented.

Code 1950, § 13.1-215; 1956, c. 428; 1985, c. 522; 2007, c. 925.

§ 13.1-844. Record date.

A. The bylaws may fix or provide the manner of fixing in advance the record date for one or more voting groups in order to make a determination of members for any purpose. If the bylaws do not fix or provide for fixing a record date, the board of directors of the corporation may fix as the record date the date on which it takes such action or a future date.

B. A record date fixed under this section may not be more than 70 days before the meeting or action requiring a determination of members.

C. A determination of members entitled to notice of or to vote at a members' meeting is effective for any adjournment of the meeting unless the board of directors fixes a new record date, which it shall do if the meeting is adjourned to a date more than 120 days after the date fixed for the original meeting.

D. If a court orders a meeting adjourned to a date more than 120 days after the date fixed for the original meeting, it may provide that the original record date continues in effect or it may fix a new record date.

1985, c. 522; 2007, c. 925.

§ 13.1-844.1. Conduct of the meeting.

A. At each meeting of members, a chairman shall preside. The chairman shall be appointed as provided in the articles of incorporation, bylaws, or, in the absence of such a provision, by the board of directors.

B. Unless the articles of incorporation or bylaws provide otherwise, the chairman shall determine the order of business and shall have the authority to establish rules for the conduct of the meeting.

C. The chairman of the meeting shall announce at the meeting when the polls will open and close for each matter voted upon. If no announcement is made, the polls shall be deemed to have opened at the beginning of the meeting and to close upon the final adjournment of the meeting.

2007, c. 925.

§ 13.1-844.2. Remote participation in annual and special meetings.

A. Members may participate in any meeting of members by means of remote communication to the extent the board of directors authorizes such participation for members. Participation by means of remote communication shall be subject to such guidelines and procedures the board of directors adopts, and shall be in conformity with subsection B.

B. Members participating in a members' meeting by means of remote communication shall be deemed present and may vote at such a meeting if the corporation has implemented reasonable measures to:

1. Verify that each person participating remotely is a member or a member's proxy; and

2. Provide such members a reasonable opportunity to participate in the meeting and to vote on matters submitted to the members, including an opportunity to read or hear the proceedings of the meeting, substantially concurrently with such proceedings.

C. Unless the articles of incorporation or bylaws require the meeting of members to be held at a place, the board of directors may determine that any meeting of members shall not be held at any place and shall instead be held solely by means of remote communication in conformity with subsection B.

2010, c. 171; 2018, c. 265.

§ 13.1-845. Members' list for meeting.

A. After fixing a record date for a meeting, a corporation shall prepare an alphabetical list of the names of all its members who are entitled to notice of a members' meeting. If the board of directors fixes a different record date to determine the members entitled to vote at the meeting, a corporation shall also prepare an alphabetical list of the names of all its members who are entitled to vote at the meeting. A list shall be arranged by voting group, and show the address of each member.

B. The members' list for notice shall be available for inspection by any member, beginning two business days after notice of the meeting is given for which the list was prepared and continuing through the meeting, at the corporation's principal office or at a place identified in the meeting notice in the county or city where the meeting will be held. A members' list for voting shall be similarly available for inspection promptly after the record date for voting. A member, or the member's agent or attorney, is entitled on written demand to inspect and, subject to the requirements set forth in subsection C of § 13.1-933, to copy a list, during the regular business hours and at the member's expense, during the period it is available for inspection.

C. If the meeting is to be held at a place, the corporation shall make the list of members entitled to vote available at the meeting, and any member, or the member's agent or attorney, is entitled to inspect the list at any time during the meeting or any adjournment.

D. If the corporation refuses to allow a member, the member's agent, or the member's attorney to inspect a members' list before or at the meeting as provided in subsections B and C, or to copy a list as permitted by subsection B, the circuit court of the county or city where the corporation's principal office, or if none in the Commonwealth its registered office, is located, on application of the member, may summarily order the inspection or copying at the corporation's expense and may postpone the meeting for which the list was prepared until the inspection or copying is complete.

E. Refusal or failure to prepare or make available a members' list does not affect the validity of action taken at the meeting.

1985, c. 522; 2007, c. 925; 2010, c. 171; 2018, c. 265.

§ 13.1-846. Voting entitlement of members.

A. Members shall not be entitled to vote except as the right to vote shall be conferred by the articles of incorporation or if the articles of incorporation so provide, in the bylaws.

B. When directors or officers are to be elected by members, the bylaws may provide that such elections may be conducted by mail.

C. Unless the articles of incorporation provide otherwise, in the election of directors every member, regardless of class, is entitled to one vote for as many persons as there are directors to be elected at that time and for whose election the member has a right to vote.

D. If a corporation has no members or its members have no right to vote, the directors shall have the sole voting power.

Code 1950, § 13.1-217; 1956, c. 428; 1975, c. 500; 1982, c. 182; 1985, c. 522; 2002, c. 285; 2007, c. 925.

§ 13.1-847. Proxies.

A. A member entitled to vote may vote in person or, unless the articles of incorporation or bylaws otherwise provide, by proxy.

B. A member or the member's agent or attorney-in-fact may appoint a proxy to vote or otherwise act for the member by signing an appointment form or by an electronic transmission. Any copy, facsimile telecommunications or other reliable reproduction of the writing or transmission created pursuant to this subsection may be substituted or used in lieu of the original writing or transmission for any and all purposes for which the original writing or transmission could be used, provided that such copy, facsimile telecommunication or other reproduction shall be a complete reproduction of the entire original writing or transmission.

C. An appointment of a proxy is effective when a signed appointment form or an electronic transmission of the appointment is received by the inspectors of election or the officer or agent of the corporation authorized to tabulate votes. An appointment is valid for 11 months unless a longer period is expressly provided in the appointment form.

D. An appointment of a proxy is revocable unless the appointment form or electronic transmission states that it is irrevocable and the appointment is coupled with an interest. Appointments coupled with an interest include the appointment of:

1. A creditor of the corporation who extended it credit under terms requiring the appointment;

2. An employee of the corporation whose employment contract requires the appointment; or

3. A party to a voting agreement created under § 13.1-852.2.

E. The death or incapacity of the member appointing a proxy does not affect the right of the corporation to accept the proxy's authority unless notice of the death or incapacity is received by the secretary or other officer or agent authorized to tabulate votes before the proxy exercises the proxy's authority under the appointment.

F. An appointment made irrevocable under subsection D is revoked when the interest with which it is coupled is extinguished.

G. Subject to § 13.1-848 and to any express limitation on the proxy's authority stated in the appointment form or electronic transmission, a corporation is entitled to accept the proxy's vote or other action as that of the member making the appointment.

H. Any fiduciary who is entitled to vote any membership interest may vote such membership interest by proxy.

1985, c. 522; 1999, c. 101; 2002, c. 285; 2007, c. 925; 2010, c. 171.

§ 13.1-847.1. Voting procedures and inspectors of elections.

A. A corporation may appoint one or more inspectors to act at a meeting of members in connection with determining voting results. Each inspector, before entering upon the discharge of his duties, shall certify in writing that the inspector will faithfully execute the duties of inspector with strict impartiality and according to the best of his ability.

B. The inspectors shall (i) ascertain the number of members and the voting power of each, (ii) determine the number of the members represented at a meeting and the validity of proxy appointments and ballots, (iii) count all votes, (iv) determine, and retain for a reasonable period a record of the disposition of, any challenges made to any determination by the inspectors, and (v) certify their determination of the number of members represented at the meeting and their count of the votes. The inspectors may appoint or retain other persons or entities to assist the inspectors in the performance of their duties, and may rely on information provided by such persons and other persons, including those appointed to tabulate votes, unless the inspectors believe reliance is unwarranted. In any court proceeding there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the report of the inspectors is correct.

C. No ballot, proxies, or votes, nor any revocations thereof or changes thereto, shall be accepted by the inspectors after the closing of the polls unless the circuit court of the city or county where the corporation's principal office is located or, if none in the Commonwealth, where its registered office is located, upon application by a member, shall determine otherwise.

D. In determining the validity of proxies and ballots and in counting the votes, the inspectors shall be limited to an examination of the proxies, any envelopes submitted with those proxies, any information provided in accordance with subsection B of § 13.1-847, ballots, and the regular books and records of the corporation. If the inspectors consider other reliable information for the limited purpose permitted herein, they shall specify, at the time that they make their certification pursuant to clause (v) of subsection B, the precise information that they considered, including the person or persons from whom they obtained the information, when the information was obtained, the means by which the information was obtained, and the basis for their belief that such information is accurate and reliable.

E. If authorized by the board of directors, any member vote to be taken by written ballot may be satisfied by a ballot submitted by electronic transmission by the member or the member's proxy, provided that any such electronic transmission shall either set forth or be submitted with information from which it may be determined that the electronic transmission was authorized by the member or the member's proxy. A member who votes by a ballot submitted by electronic transmission is deemed present at the meeting of members.

2007, c. 925; 2010, c. 171; 2015, c. 611.

§ 13.1-848. Corporation's acceptance of votes.

A. If the name signed on a vote, ballot, consent, waiver, or proxy appointment corresponds to the name of a member, the corporation, if acting in good faith, is entitled to accept the vote, ballot, consent, waiver, or proxy appointment and give it effect as the act of the member.

B. If the name signed on a vote, ballot, consent, waiver, or proxy appointment does not correspond to the name of a member, the corporation, if acting in good faith, is nevertheless entitled to accept the vote, ballot, consent, waiver, or proxy appointment and give it effect as the act of the member if:

1. The member is an entity and the name signed purports to be that of an officer, partner or agent of the entity;

2. The name signed purports to be that of an administrator, executor, guardian, or conservator representing the member and, if the corporation requests, evidence of fiduciary status acceptable to the corporation has been presented with respect to the vote, ballot, consent, waiver, or proxy appointment;

3. The name signed purports to be that of a receiver or trustee in bankruptcy of the member and, if the corporation requests, evidence acceptable to the corporation that such receiver or trustee has been authorized to vote the membership interest in an order of the court by which such person was appointed has been presented with respect to the vote, ballot, consent, waiver, or proxy appointment;

4. The name signed purports to be that of a beneficial owner or attorney-in-fact of the member and, if the corporation requests, evidence acceptable to the corporation of the signatory's authority to sign for the member has been presented with respect to the vote, ballot, consent, waiver, or proxy appointment; or

5. Two or more persons are the member as fiduciaries and the name signed purports to be the name of at least one of the fiduciaries and the person signing appears to be acting on behalf of all the fiduciaries.

C. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivisions B 2 and 5, in any case in which the will, trust agreement, or other instrument under which a fiduciary purports to act contains directions for the voting of membership interests in any corporation, or for the execution and delivery of proxies for the voting thereof, such directions shall be binding upon the fiduciary and upon the corporation if a copy thereof has been furnished to the corporation.

D. The corporation is entitled to reject a vote, ballot, consent, waiver, or proxy appointment if the secretary or other officer or agent authorized to count votes, acting in good faith, has reasonable basis for doubt about the validity of the signature on it or about the signatory's authority to sign for the member.

E. Neither the corporation nor the person authorized to count votes, including an inspector under § 13.1-847.1, who accepts or rejects a vote, ballot, consent, waiver, or proxy appointment in good faith and in accordance with the standards of this section or subsection B of § 13.1-847 is liable in damages to the member for the consequences of the acceptance or rejection.

F. Corporate action based on the acceptance or rejection of a vote, consent, waiver, or proxy appointment under this section is valid unless a court of competent jurisdiction determines otherwise.

1985, c. 522; 2007, c. 925; 2015, c. 611.

§ 13.1-849. Quorum and voting requirements for voting groups.

A. The bylaws may provide the number or percentage of members entitled to vote represented in person or by proxy, or the number or percentage of votes represented in person or by proxy, which shall constitute a quorum at a meeting of members. In the absence of any such provision, members holding one-tenth of the votes entitled to be cast represented in person or by proxy shall constitute a quorum. The vote of a majority of the votes entitled to be cast by the members present or represented by proxy at a meeting at which a quorum is present shall be necessary for the adoption of any matter voted upon by the members, unless a greater proportion is required by this Act or the articles of incorporation. Members entitled to vote as a separate voting group may take action on a matter at a meeting only if a quorum of those members exists with respect to that matter.

B. Once a member is represented for any purpose at a meeting, the member is deemed present for quorum purposes for the remainder of the meeting and for any adjournment of that meeting unless a new record date is or shall be set for that adjourned meeting.

C. Less than a quorum may adjourn a meeting.

D. The election of directors is governed by § 13.1-852.

Code 1950, § 13.1-219; 1956, c. 428; 1985, c. 522; 2007, c. 925.

§ 13.1-850. Action by single and multiple voting groups.

A. If the articles of incorporation or this Act provides for voting by a single voting group on a matter, action on that matter is taken when voted upon by that voting group as provided in § 13.1-849.

B. If the articles of incorporation or this Act provides for voting by two or more voting groups on a matter, action on that matter is taken only when voted upon by each of those voting groups counted separately as provided in § 13.1-849. Action may be taken by one voting group on a matter even though no action is taken by another voting group entitled to vote on the matter.

1985, c. 522; 2007, c. 925.

§ 13.1-851. Change in quorum or voting requirements.

A. The articles of incorporation may provide for a lesser or greater quorum requirement for members or voting groups of members than required by this chapter.

B. An amendment to the articles of incorporation that adds, changes, or deletes a quorum or voting requirement shall meet the quorum requirement and be adopted by the vote and voting groups required to take action under the quorum and voting requirements then in effect.

Code 1950, § 13.1-218; 1956, c. 428; 1985, c. 522; 1986, c. 321.

§ 13.1-852. Voting for directors; cumulative voting.

A. Unless otherwise provided in the articles of incorporation, directors are elected by a plurality of the votes cast by the members entitled to vote in the election at a meeting at which a quorum is present.

B. Members do not have a right to cumulate their votes for directors unless the articles of incorporation so provide.

C. A statement included in the articles of incorporation that "all of a designated voting group of members are entitled to cumulate their votes for directors" or words of similar import means that the members designated are entitled to multiply the number of votes they are entitled to cast by the number of directors for whom they are entitled to vote and cast the product for a single candidate or distribute the product among two or more candidates.

D. Members otherwise entitled to vote cumulatively may not vote cumulatively at a particular meeting unless:

1. The meeting notice or proxy statement accompanying the notice states conspicuously that cumulative voting is authorized; or

2. A member who has the right to cumulate his votes gives notice to the secretary of the corporation not less than 48 hours before the time set for the meeting of the member's intent to cumulate his votes during the meeting. If one member gives such a notice, all other members in the same voting group participating in the election are entitled to cumulate their votes without giving further notice.

Code 1950, § 13.1-221; 1956, c. 428; 1985, c. 522; 2007, c. 925.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

The Virginia General Assembly is offering access to the Code of Virginia on the Internet as a service to the public. We are unable to assist users of this service with legal questions nor respond to requests for legal advice or the application of the law to specific facts. Therefore, to understand and protect your legal rights, you should consult an attorney.

The Code of Virginia online database excludes material copyrighted by the publisher, Michie, a division of Matthew Bender. Copyrighted material includes annotations and revisors' notes, which may be found in the print version of the Code of Virginia. Annotated print copies of the Code of Virginia are available in most Virginia public library systems, from LexisNexis (1-800-446-3410), and from West, a Thomson-Reuters business (1-800-344-5008).