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CALIFORNIA CORPORATE & SECURITIES LAW

Section 2115: Beware of Double Counting

Many practitioners both in and outside of California struggle with Section 2115 of the California Corporations Code.  That statute purports to apply a laundry list of California statutes to out-of-state corporations to the exclusion of the law of their state of incorporation.  An out-of-state corporation is subject to Section 2115 if: (i) more than 1/2 of its outstanding voting…

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The Alter Ego Doctrine Yields Conflict of Interest

American journalist Ambrose Bierce defined a corporation in his The Devil’s Dictionary as “an ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility”.  The alter ego doctrine is one tool that the courts use to address a perceived want of individual responsibility on the part of a corporate owner. In most cases, creditors try to use…

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Shareholder Approval of Political Contributions – Coming Soon?

On June 22, 2010, I posted an item concerning AB 919 (Nava), a California bill that would require corporations to report political contributions to shareholders and make refunds to those shareholders who don’t agree.  In today’s Proxy Season Blog, Therese Doucet writes about similar legislative efforts in New York, Massachusetts and even in Congress.  Broc…

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“‘Tis Well Consented” Vel Non

On July 19, 2010, I discussed action by written consent of the board pursuant to Corporations Code Section 307.  The statute is remarkably silent on some key points.  For example, while the statute clearly requires that consents be in writing (see Sections 8 and 195), the statute does not specifically require that the consents be…

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Section 307 – No More Sunset

Some readers may have noticed that there are currently two Section 307s in the Corporations Code.  One version of Section 307 provides in subdivision (d) that it remains in effect only until January 1, 2011.  This is commonly referred to as a “sunset provision”.   Subdivision (d) of the other Section 307 provides that it…

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CalPERS and the DDD

A few weeks ago, The Wall Street Journal reported that California’s largest public pension plan is planning to create a database of directors, which is being referred to as the “Diverse Director Database” or DDD.  Interestingly, a director registry has been part of the Corporations Code for 17 years. In 1993, former Senator Lucy Killea…

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Counting Votes – Not As Easy As It May Seem

Determining whether shareholder approval of a proposal has been obtained can be tricky.  This is all the more difficult in California because the Corporations Code includes a variety of voting rules.  One of these is Section 153 which defines “approval by (or approval of) the shareholders” in part as follows: approved or ratified by the…

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Wasting Trees in California

More than a decade ago, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted rule amendments that allow for the delivery of a single set of proxy materials to shareholders who share a single address.  This is often referred to as “householding”.  Many publicly traded companies have relied upon these rules to reduce their costs of printing and…

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Bylaw Violation is also a Breach of Fiduciary Duty

Le v. Pham, 180 Cal. App. 4th 1201 (2010) dates all the way back to January of this year but is still worth noting.  In this case, the Court of Appeal held that the shareholders in a professional corporation had a fiduciary duty to the other shareholder even though the shareholders were not majority shareholders. The corporation’s…

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Appellate Court Finds Triable Issues of Fact in Alter Ego Claim

The Sixth District Court of Appeal recently addressed what it takes for someone to beat an alter ego claim on a motion for summary judgment.  In Zoran Corp. v. Chen, the plaintiff sued several companies and an individual for amounts owed to the plaintiff for equipment that it had sold.  A central theory of the complaint…

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