Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 13.1. Corporations
8/10/2020

Article 9. Indemnification.

§ 13.1-875. Definitions.

In this article:

"Corporation" includes any domestic corporation and any domestic or foreign predecessor entity of a domestic corporation in a merger or other transaction in which the predecessor's existence ceased upon consummation of the transaction.

"Director" or "officer" means an individual who is or was a director or officer, respectively, of a corporation or who, while a director or officer of the corporation, is or was serving at the corporation's request as a director, officer, manager, partner, trustee, employee, or agent of another foreign or domestic corporation, limited liability company, partnership, joint venture, trust, employee benefit plan, or other entity. A director or officer is considered to be serving an employee benefit plan at the corporation's request if such person's duties to the corporation also impose duties on, or otherwise involve services by, such person to the plan or to participants in or beneficiaries of the plan. "Director" or "officer" includes, unless the context requires otherwise, the estate or personal representative of a director or officer.

"Expenses" includes counsel fees.

"Liability" means the obligation to pay a judgment, settlement, penalty, fine, including any excise tax assessed with respect to an employee benefit plan, or reasonable expenses incurred with respect to a proceeding.

"Official capacity" means, (i) when used with respect to a director, the office of director in a corporation; or (ii) when used with respect to an officer, as contemplated in § 13.1-881, the office in a corporation held by the officer. "Official capacity" does not include service for any other foreign or domestic corporation or any partnership, joint venture, trust, employee benefit plan, or other entity.

"Party" means an individual who was, is, or is threatened to be made a named defendant or respondent in a proceeding.

"Proceeding" means any threatened, pending, or completed action, suit, or proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative, arbitrative, or investigative and whether formal or informal.

1985, c. 522; 2007, c. 925; 2009, c. 587.

§ 13.1-876. Authority to indemnify.

A. Except as provided in subsection D, a corporation may indemnify an individual made a party to a proceeding because the individual is or was a director against liability incurred in the proceeding if the director:

1. Conducted himself in good faith;

2. Believed:

a. In the case of conduct in his official capacity with the corporation, that his conduct was in its best interests; and

b. In all other cases, that his conduct was at least not opposed to its best interests; and

3. In the case of any criminal proceeding, that he had no reasonable cause to believe that his conduct was unlawful.

B. A director's conduct with respect to an employee benefit plan for a purpose he believed to be in the interests of the participants in and beneficiaries of the plan is conduct that satisfies the requirement of subdivision A 2 b.

C. The termination of a proceeding by judgment, order, settlement or conviction, or upon a plea of nolo contendere or its equivalent, is not, of itself, determinative that the director did not meet the relevant standard of conduct described in this section.

D. Unless ordered by a court under subsection C of § 13.1-879.1, a corporation may not indemnify a director under this section:

1. In connection with a proceeding by or in the right of the corporation except for reasonable expenses incurred in connection with the proceeding if it is determined that the director has met the relevant standard under subsection A; or

2. In connection with any other proceeding charging improper personal benefit to the director, whether or not involving action in his official capacity, in which he was adjudged liable on the basis that personal benefit was improperly received by him.

Code 1950, § 13.1-205.1; 1968, c. 689; 1975, c. 500; 1981, c. 57; 1985, c. 522; 2007, c. 925.

§ 13.1-877. Mandatory indemnification.

Unless limited by its articles of incorporation, a corporation shall indemnify a director who entirely prevails in the defense of any proceeding to which he was a party because he is or was a director of the corporation against reasonable expenses incurred by him in connection with the proceeding.

Code 1950, § 13.1-205.1; 1968, c. 689; 1975, c. 500; 1981, c. 57; 1985, c. 522.

§ 13.1-878. Advance for expenses.

A. A corporation may pay for or reimburse the reasonable expenses incurred by a director who is a party to a proceeding in advance of final disposition of the proceeding if the director furnishes the corporation a signed written undertaking, executed personally or on his behalf, to repay any funds advanced if he is not entitled to mandatory indemnification under § 13.1-877 and it is ultimately determined under § 13.1-879.1 or 13.1-880 that he has not met the relevant standard of conduct.

B. The undertaking required by subsection A shall be an unlimited general obligation of the director but need not be secured and may be accepted without reference to financial ability to make repayment.

C. Authorizations of payments under this section shall be made by:

1. The board of directors:

a. If there are two or more disinterested directors, by a majority vote of all the disinterested directors, a majority of whom shall for such purpose constitute a quorum, or by a majority of the members of a committee of two or more disinterested directors appointed by such a vote; or

b. If there are fewer than two disinterested directors, by the vote necessary for action by the board in accordance with subsection C of § 13.1-868, in which authorization directors who do not qualify as disinterested directors may participate; or

2. The members, but any membership interest under the control of a director who at the time does not qualify as a disinterested director may not be voted on the authorization.

Code 1950, § 13.1-205.1; 1968, c. 689; 1975, c. 500; 1981, c. 57; 1985, c. 522; 2007, c. 925; 2010, c. 171; 2015, c. 611.

§ 13.1-879. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1987, cc. 59, 257.

§ 13.1-879.1. Court orders for advances, reimbursement or indemnification.

A. An individual who is made a party to a proceeding because he is a director of the corporation may apply to a court for an order directing the corporation to make advances or reimbursement for expenses, or to provide indemnification. Such application may be made to the court conducting the proceeding or to another court of competent jurisdiction.

B. The court shall order the corporation to make advances, reimbursement, or both, for expenses or to provide indemnification if it determines that the director is entitled to such advances, reimbursement or indemnification and shall also order the corporation to pay the director's reasonable expenses incurred to obtain the order.

C. With respect to a proceeding by or in the right of the corporation, the court may (i) order indemnification of the director to the extent of the director's reasonable expenses if it determines that, considering all the relevant circumstances, the director is entitled to indemnification even though he was adjudged liable to the corporation and (ii) also order the corporation to pay the director's reasonable expenses incurred to obtain the order of indemnification.

D. Neither (i) the failure of the corporation, including its board of directors, its independent legal counsel and its members, to have made an independent determination prior to the commencement of any action permitted by this section that the applying director is entitled to receive advances, reimbursement, or both, nor (ii) the determination by the corporation, including its board of directors, its independent legal counsel and its members, that the applying director is not entitled to receive advances and/or reimbursement or indemnification shall create a presumption to that effect or otherwise of itself be a defense to that director's application for advances for expenses, reimbursement or indemnification.

1987, cc. 59, 257; 2007, c. 925.

§ 13.1-880. Determination and authorization of indemnification.

A. A corporation may not indemnify a director under § 13.1-876 unless authorized in the specific case after a determination has been made that indemnification of the director is permissible because he has met the relevant standard of conduct set forth in § 13.1-876.

B. The determination shall be made:

1. If there are two or more disinterested directors, by the board of directors by a majority vote of all the disinterested directors, a majority of whom shall for such purpose constitute a quorum, or by a majority of the members of a committee of two or more disinterested directors appointed by such a vote;

2. By special legal counsel:

a. Selected in the manner prescribed in subdivision 1 of this subsection; or

b. If there are fewer than two disinterested directors, selected by the board of directors, in which selection directors who do not qualify as disinterested directors may participate; or

3. By the members, but membership interests under the control of a director who at the time does not qualify as a disinterested director may not be voted on the determination.

C. Authorization of indemnification shall be made in the same manner as the determination that indemnification is permissible, except that if there are fewer than two disinterested directors or if the determination is made by special legal counsel, authorization of indemnification shall be made by those entitled under subdivision B 2 to select counsel.

Code 1950, § 13.1-205.1; 1968, c. 689; 1975, c. 500; 1981, c. 57; 1985, c. 522; 2007, c. 925.

§ 13.1-881. Indemnification of officers.

Unless limited by a corporation's articles of incorporation:

1. An officer of the corporation is entitled to mandatory indemnification under § 13.1-877, and is entitled to apply for court-ordered indemnification under § 13.1-879.1, in each case to the same extent as a director; and

2. The corporation may indemnify and advance expenses under this article to an officer of the corporation to the same extent as to a director.

Code 1950, § 13.1-205.1; 1968, c. 689; 1975, c. 500; 1981, c. 57; 1985, c. 522; 2007, c. 925.

§ 13.1-882. Insurance.

A corporation may purchase and maintain insurance on behalf of an individual who is or was a director or officer of the corporation, or who, while a director or officer of the corporation, is or was serving at the request of the corporation as a director, officer, partner, trustee, employee or agent of another foreign or domestic corporation, limited liability company, partnership, joint venture, trust, employee benefit plan or other entity, against liability asserted against or incurred by such person in that capacity or arising from his status as a director or officer, whether or not the corporation would have power to indemnify him against the same liability under § 13.1-876 or 13.1-877.

Code 1950, § 13.1-205.1; 1968, c. 689; 1975, c. 500; 1981, c. 57; 1985, c. 522; 2007, c. 925.

§ 13.1-883. Application of article.

A. Unless the articles of incorporation or bylaws expressly provide otherwise, any authorization of indemnification in the articles of incorporation or bylaws shall not be deemed to prevent the corporation from providing the indemnity permitted or mandated by this article. A corporation, by a provision in its articles of incorporation or bylaws or in a resolution adopted or contract approved by its board of directors or members, may obligate itself in advance of the act or omission giving rise to a proceeding to provide indemnification in accordance with § 13.1-876 and advance funds to pay for or reimburse expenses in accordance with § 13.1-878. Any such obligatory provision shall be deemed to satisfy the requirements for authorization referred to in subsection C of § 13.1-878 and subsection C of § 13.1-880.

B. Any corporation shall have power to make any further indemnity, including indemnity with respect to a proceeding by or in the right of the corporation, and to make additional provision for advances and reimbursement of expenses, to any director or officer that may be authorized by the articles of incorporation or any bylaw made by the members or any resolution adopted, before or after the event, by the members, except an indemnity against (i) such person's willful misconduct, or (ii) a knowing violation of the criminal law. Any such provision that obligates the corporation to provide indemnification to the fullest extent permitted by law shall be deemed, unless the articles of incorporation or any such bylaw or resolution expressly provides otherwise, also to obligate the corporation to advance funds to pay for or reimburse expenses to the fullest extent permitted by law in accordance with § 13.1-878 except that the applicable standard shall be conduct that does not constitute willful misconduct or a knowing violation of criminal law, rather than the standard of conduct prescribed in § 13.1-876. Unless the articles of incorporation, or any such bylaw or resolution expressly provides otherwise, any determination as to the right to any further indemnity shall be made in accordance with subsection B of § 13.1-880. Each such indemnity may continue as to a person who has ceased to have the capacity referred to above and may inure to the benefit of the heirs, executors and administrators of such a person.

C. The provisions of this article and Article 8 (§ 13.1-853 et seq.) of this Act shall apply to the same extent to any cooperative organized under the Code of Virginia.

D. No right provided to any person pursuant to this section may be reduced or eliminated by any amendment of the articles of incorporation or bylaws with respect to any act or omission occurring before such amendment.

E. This article does not limit a corporation's power to pay or reimburse expenses incurred by a director or an officer in connection with his appearance as a witness in a proceeding at a time when he is not a party.

F. This article does not limit a corporation's power to indemnify, advance expenses to, or provide or maintain insurance on behalf of an employee or agent who is not a director or officer.

Code 1950, § 13.1-205.1; 1968, c. 689; 1975, c. 500; 1981, c. 57; 1985, c. 522; 1987, cc. 59, 257; 1988, c. 561; 2007, c. 925; 2010, c. 171.

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.

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