Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 13.1. Corporations
Chapter 9. Virginia Stock Corporation Act

Article 8.1. Derivative Proceedings and Other Shareholder Actions.

§ 13.1-672.1. Standing; condition precedent; stay of proceedings.

A. A shareholder shall not commence or maintain a derivative proceeding unless the shareholder:

1. Was a shareholder of the corporation at the time of the act or omission complained of, became a shareholder through transfer by operation of law from one who was a shareholder at that time, or became a shareholder before public disclosure and without knowledge of the act or omission complained of;

2. Was a shareholder at the time the shareholder made the written demand required by subdivision B 1; and

3. Fairly and adequately represents the interests of the corporation in enforcing the right of the corporation.

B. No shareholder may commence a derivative proceeding until:

1. A written demand has been made on the corporation to take suitable action; and

2. Ninety days have expired from the date delivery of the written demand was made on the corporation unless (i) the shareholder has earlier been notified that the demand has been rejected by the corporation or (ii) irreparable injury to the corporation would result by waiting for the expiration of the 90-day period.

C. If the corporation commences an inquiry into the allegations made in the demand or complaint, the court may stay any derivative proceeding for such period as the court deems appropriate.

1992, c. 802; 2007, c. 165; 2010, c. 782; 2019, c. 734.

§ 13.1-672.2. Discontinuance or settlement.

A. A derivative proceeding may not be settled or discontinued without the court's approval. If the court determines that a proposed discontinuance or settlement will substantially and adversely affect the interests of the corporation's shareholders or a class or series of the corporation's shareholders, the court shall direct that notice be given to the shareholders affected.

B. Notice required by subsection A shall be given in such manner as the court shall determine, and the costs of such notice shall be borne in such manner as the court shall direct.

1992, c. 802; 2019, c. 734.

§ 13.1-672.3. Foreign corporations.

Notwithstanding the provisions of §§ 13.1-672.1 and 13.1-672.4, in any derivative proceeding in the right of a foreign corporation, subject to the court's determination of whether the courts of the Commonwealth are a convenient forum for such a proceeding, the matters covered by this article shall be governed by the laws of the jurisdiction of formation of the foreign corporation except for matters covered by subsection C of § 13.1-672.1 and §§ 13.1-672.2 and 13.1-672.5.

1992, c. 802; 2005, c. 765; 2019, c. 734.

§ 13.1-672.4. Dismissal.

A. A derivative proceeding shall be dismissed by the court on motion by the corporation if one of the groups specified in subsection B or E has:

1. Conducted a review and evaluation, adequately informed in the circumstances, of the allegations made in the demand or complaint;

2. Determined in good faith on the basis of that review and evaluation that the maintenance of the derivative proceeding is not in the best interests of the corporation; and

3. Submitted in support of the motion a short and concise statement of the reasons for its determination.

B. Unless a panel is appointed pursuant to subsection E, the determination in subsection A shall be made by:

1. A majority vote of disinterested directors present at a meeting of the board of directors if the disinterested directors constitute a quorum; or

2. A majority vote of a committee consisting of two or more disinterested directors appointed by a majority vote of disinterested directors present at a meeting of the board of directors, regardless of whether such disinterested directors constituted a quorum.

C. If a derivative proceeding is commenced after a determination has been made rejecting a demand by a shareholder, the complaint shall allege with particularity facts establishing that the requirements of subsection A or B have not been met. With respect to any allegation that the requirements of subsection A or B have not been met, the plaintiff shall be entitled to discovery if, and only with respect to, facts that are alleged in the complaint with particularity.

D. The plaintiff shall have the burden of proving that the requirements of subsection A or B have not been met, except that the corporation shall have the burden with respect to the issue of disinterestedness under subsection B if the complaint alleges with particularity facts raising a substantial question as to such disinterestedness.

E. Upon motion by the corporation, the court may appoint a panel of disinterested persons to make a determination whether the maintenance of the derivative proceeding is in the best interests of the corporation.

1992, c. 802; 1993, c. 233; 2005, c. 765; 2019, c. 734.

§ 13.1-672.5. Payment of and security for expenses.

On termination of a derivative proceeding, the court may:

1. Order the corporation to pay the plaintiff's expenses incurred in the proceeding if it finds that the proceeding has resulted in a substantial benefit to the corporation; or

2. Order the plaintiff or the plaintiff's attorney to pay the corporation's or any defendant's expenses incurred in defending the proceeding if it finds that the proceeding was commenced or maintained arbitrarily, vexatiously, or not in good faith.

1992, c. 802; 1993, c. 233; 2019, c. 734.

§ 13.1-672.6. Shareholder action to appoint a custodian or receiver for a public corporation.

A. The circuit court in any city or county where a public corporation's principal office is or was last located, or, if none in the Commonwealth, where its registered office is or was last located may appoint one or more persons to be custodians, or, if the corporation is insolvent, to be receivers, of and for a public corporation in a proceeding by a shareholder where it is established that:

1. The directors are deadlocked in the management of the corporate affairs, the shareholders are unable to break the deadlock, and irreparable injury to the corporation is threatened or being suffered; or

2. The directors or those in control of the corporation are acting fraudulently and irreparable injury to the corporation is threatened or being suffered.

B. The court:

1. May issue injunctions, appoint a temporary custodian or temporary receiver with all the powers and duties the court directs, take other action to preserve the corporate assets wherever located, and carry on the business of the corporation until a full hearing is held;

2. Shall hold a hearing, after notifying all parties to the proceeding and any interested persons designated by the court, before appointing a custodian or receiver; and

3. Has jurisdiction over the corporation and all of its property, wherever located.

C. The court may appoint an individual or domestic or foreign corporation, authorized to transact business in the Commonwealth, as a custodian or receiver and may require the custodian or receiver to post bond, with or without sureties, in an amount the court directs.

D. The court shall describe the powers and duties of the custodian or receiver in its appointing order, which may be amended from time to time. Among other powers:

1. A custodian may exercise all of the powers of the corporation, through or in place of its board of directors, to the extent necessary to manage the business and affairs of the corporation; and

2. A receiver (i) may dispose of all or any part of the assets of the corporation wherever located, at a public or private sale, if authorized by the court, and (ii) may sue and defend in the receiver's own name as receiver in all courts of the Commonwealth.

E. The court during a custodianship may redesignate the custodian a receiver, and during a receivership may redesignate the receiver a custodian, if doing so is in the best interests of the corporation.

F. The court from time to time during the custodianship or receivership may order compensation paid and expense disbursements or reimbursements made to the custodian or receiver from the assets of the corporation or proceeds from the sale of its assets.

2007, c. 165; 2019, c. 734.

§ 13.1-672.7. Shareholder defined.

As used in this article, "shareholder" means a record shareholder, a beneficial shareholder, and a voting trust beneficial owner whose entitlement to bring the proceeding under this article is not inconsistent with the voting trust agreement.

2019, c. 734.