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CALIFORNIA CORPORATE & SECURITIES LAW

New York Judge Considers Meaning Of “Voting Power” In California Contract

Chapter 1 of the California General Corporation Law includes a large number of definitions, beginning with “Acknowledged” (Section 149) and ending with “Written, in writing” (Section 195).  It is easy to gloss over these terms as the balance of the CGCL doesn’t use initial capitals or italics to identify defined terms.  I suspect that many lawyers…

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Professor Bainbridge Precises Corporate Philanthropy

Earlier this week, UCLA Law School Professor Stephen Bainbridge precised the question of corporate philanthropy.  He notes “Virtually all states have adopted statutes specifically granting corporations the power to make charitable donations, which eliminates the ultra vires issue.”  Several years back, I compared California’s and Delaware’s statutes: Delaware’s statute appears to be more limited than California’s…

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What Kind Of California Corporation Must Include A Salary Limitation In Its Articles Or Bylaws?

I suspect that at least a few California corporate lawyers are unaware of a provision in the California Corporations Code requiring the articles or bylaws of certain corporations to contain a limitation on the salaries paid to the persons operating or employed by the corporation, including officers and directors.  If you are guessing that this provision is included…

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Multifarious Meanings of “Person”

Last Friday, I observed that the definitions of “person” found in the Securities Act and the Securities Exchange Act are oddly incongruous. The California Corporations Code is similarly inharmonious.  Section 18 of the Code, which applies to the entire Corporations Code unless a provision or context requires otherwise, provides the most compendious and indeterminate definition:…

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Shareholder Derivative Suit Or Derivative Action?

I have long puzzled over the question of which is correct – “derivative suit” or “derivative action”?  Historically, the term “suit” was used for proceedings in equity.  California courts have generally regarded shareholder derivative claims as equitable.   Nelson v. Anderson, 72 Cal. App. 4th 111, 127, 84 Cal. Rptr. 2d 753, 763 (1999).  Thus, one might…

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Shares of Foreign Subsidiaries

I expect that little or no thought is given to the possible application of California’s Corporate Securities Law of 1968 when a corporation incorporates a subsidiary under the laws of a foreign country.  However, the issuance of shares to a corporate parent located in California may well involve the offer and sale of securities in California.  As…

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A Shareholder Consent In Its Dotage May Or May Not Be Valid

California Corporations Code Section 603(a) broadly authorizes shareholder action by written consent: Unless otherwise provided in the articles, any action that may be taken at any annual or special meeting of shareholders may be taken without a meeting and without prior notice, if a consent in writing, as specified in [Corporations Code] Section 195, setting…

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Enforceability Of Exclusive Forum Bylaw May Hinge On The Meaning Of “May”

No California appellate court has yet addressed the validity of forum selection bylaws in a published decision.  When the question comes before a California appellate court, the outcome may turn on the meaning of “may” in California Corporations Code Section 2116.  The statute in its entirety provides: The directors of a foreign corporation transacting intrastate…

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Buying Assets? Have You Considered This Secretary’s Certificate?

California Corporations Code Section 1001 requires approval by the outstanding shares (Corp. Code § 152) of the principal terms of a sale of all or substantially all of a corporation’s assets (unless the transaction is in the usual and regular course of business).  Presumably, corporate sellers are in a good position to determine whether Section 1001…

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LLC Bound By Agreement Signed By Manager’s Manager

Justice Kenneth R. Yegan clearly and concisely frames the question in Western Surety Co. v. La Cumbre Office Partners, LLC, 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 77 (2017): ” natural person is the managing member of a limited liability company (LLC 1) that is the sole manager of another limited liability company (LLC 2). The person signs an…

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