The 2005 Florida Statutes - General Standards for Directors

Chapter 607, Florida Statutes 2005

The 2005 Florida Statutes

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607.0830 General standards for directors.--

(1) A director shall discharge his or her duties as a director, including his or her duties as a member of a committee:

(a) In good faith;

(b) With the care an ordinarily prudent person in a like position would exercise under similar circumstances; and

(c) In a manner he or she reasonably believes to be in the best interests of the corporation.

(2) In discharging his or her duties, a director is entitled to rely on information, opinions, reports, or statements, including financial statements and other financial data, if prepared or presented by:

(a) One or more officers or employees of the corporation whom the director reasonably believes to be reliable and competent in the matters presented;

(b) Legal counsel, public accountants, or other persons as to matters the director reasonably believes are within the persons' professional or expert competence; or

(c) A committee of the board of directors of which he or she is not a member if the director reasonably believes the committee merits confidence.

(3) In discharging his or her duties, a director may consider such factors as the director deems relevant, including the long-term prospects and interests of the corporation and its shareholders, and the social, economic, legal, or other effects of any action on the employees, suppliers, customers of the corporation or its subsidiaries, the communities and society in which the corporation or its subsidiaries operate, and the economy of the state and the nation.

(4) A director is not acting in good faith if he or she has knowledge concerning the matter in question that makes reliance otherwise permitted by subsection (2) unwarranted.

(5) A director is not liable for any action taken as a director, or any failure to take any action, if he or she performed the duties of his or her office in compliance with this section.

History.--s. 84, ch. 89-154; s. 26, ch. 97-102.

607.0831 Liability of directors.--

(1) A director is not personally liable for monetary damages to the corporation or any other person for any statement, vote, decision, or failure to act, regarding corporate management or policy, by a director, unless:

(a) The director breached or failed to perform his or her duties as a director; and

(b) The director's breach of, or failure to perform, those duties constitutes:

1. A violation of the criminal law, unless the director had reasonable cause to believe his or her conduct was lawful or had no reasonable cause to believe his or her conduct was unlawful. A judgment or other final adjudication against a director in any criminal proceeding for a violation of the criminal law estops that director from contesting the fact that his or her breach, or failure to perform, constitutes a violation of the criminal law; but does not estop the director from establishing that he or she had reasonable cause to believe that his or her conduct was lawful or had no reasonable cause to believe that his or her conduct was unlawful;

2. A transaction from which the director derived an improper personal benefit, either directly or indirectly;

3. A circumstance under which the liability provisions of s. 607.0834 are applicable;

4. In a proceeding by or in the right of the corporation to procure a judgment in its favor or by or in the right of a shareholder, conscious disregard for the best interest of the corporation, or willful misconduct; or

5. In a proceeding by or in the right of someone other than the corporation or a shareholder, recklessness or an act or omission which was committed in bad faith or with malicious purpose or in a manner exhibiting wanton and willful disregard of human rights, safety, or property.

(2) For the purposes of this section, the term "recklessness" means the action, or omission to act, in conscious disregard of a risk:

(a) Known, or so obvious that it should have been known, to the director; and

(b) Known to the director, or so obvious that it should have been known, to be so great as to make it highly probable that harm would follow from such action or omission.

(3) A director is deemed not to have derived an improper personal benefit from any transaction if the transaction and the nature of any personal benefit derived by the director are not prohibited by state or federal law or regulation and, without further limitation:

(a) In an action other than a derivative suit regarding a decision by the director to approve, reject, or otherwise affect the outcome of an offer to purchase the stock of, or to effect a merger of, the corporation, the transaction and the nature of any personal benefits derived by a director are disclosed or known to all directors voting on the matter, and the transaction was authorized, approved, or ratified by at least two directors who comprise a majority of the disinterested directors (whether or not such disinterested directors constitute a quorum);

(b) The transaction and the nature of any personal benefits derived by a director are disclosed or known to the shareholders entitled to vote, and the transaction was authorized, approved, or ratified by the affirmative vote or written consent of such shareholders who hold a majority of the shares, the voting of which is not controlled by directors who derived a personal benefit from or otherwise had a personal interest in the transaction; or

(c) The transaction was fair and reasonable to the corporation at the time it was authorized by the board, a committee, or the shareholders, notwithstanding that a director received a personal benefit.

(4) The circumstances set forth in subsection (3) are not exclusive and do not preclude the existence of other circumstances under which a director will be deemed not to have derived an improper benefit.

History.--s. 85, ch. 89-154; s. 24, ch. 93-281; s. 27, ch. 97-102.

607.0832 Director conflicts of interest.--

(1) No contract or other transaction between a corporation and one or more of its directors or any other corporation, firm, association, or entity in which one or more of its directors are directors or officers or are financially interested shall be either void or voidable because of such relationship or interest, because such director or directors are present at the meeting of the board of directors or a committee thereof which authorizes, approves, or ratifies such contract or transaction, or because his or her or their votes are counted for such purpose, if:

(a) The fact of such relationship or interest is disclosed or known to the board of directors or committee which authorizes, approves, or ratifies the contract or transaction by a vote or consent sufficient for the purpose without counting the votes or consents of such interested directors;

(b) The fact of such relationship or interest is disclosed or known to the shareholders entitled to vote and they authorize, approve, or ratify such contract or transaction by vote or written consent; or

(c) The contract or transaction is fair and reasonable as to the corporation at the time it is authorized by the board, a committee, or the shareholders.

(2) For purposes of paragraph (1)(a) only, a conflict of interest transaction is authorized, approved, or ratified if it receives the affirmative vote of a majority of the directors on the board of directors, or on the committee, who have no relationship or interest in the transaction described in subsection (1), but a transaction may not be authorized, approved, or ratified under this section by a single director. If a majority of the directors who have no such relationship or interest in the transaction vote to authorize, approve, or ratify the transaction, a quorum is present for the purpose of taking action under this section. The presence of, or a vote cast by, a director with such relationship or interest in the transaction does not affect the validity of any action taken under paragraph (1)(a) if the transaction is otherwise authorized, approved, or ratified as provided in that subsection, but such presence or vote of those directors may be counted for purposes of determining whether the transaction is approved under other sections of this act.

(3) For purposes of paragraph (1)(b), a conflict of interest transaction is authorized, approved, or ratified if it receives the vote of a majority of the shares entitled to be counted under this subsection. Shares owned by or voted under the control of a director who has a relationship or interest in the transaction described in subsection (1) may not be counted in a vote of shareholders to determine whether to authorize, approve, or ratify a conflict of interest transaction under paragraph (1)(b). The vote of those shares, however, is counted in determining whether the transaction is approved under other sections of this act. A majority of the shares, whether or not present, that are entitled to be counted in a vote on the transaction under this subsection constitutes a quorum for the purpose of taking action under this section.

History.--s. 86, ch. 89-154; s. 25, ch. 93-281; s. 28, ch. 97-102.

607.0833 Loans to officers, directors, and employees; guaranty of obligations.--Any corporation may lend money to, guarantee any obligation of, or otherwise assist any officer, director, or employee of the corporation or of a subsidiary, whenever, in the judgment of the board of directors, such loan, guaranty, or assistance may reasonably be expected to benefit the corporation. The loan, guaranty, or other assistance may be with or without interest and may be unsecured or secured in such manner as the board of directors shall approve, including, without limitation, a pledge of shares of stock of the corporation. Nothing in this section shall be deemed to deny, limit, or restrict the powers of guaranty or warranty of any corporation at common law or under any statute. Loans, guarantees, or other types of assistance are subject to s. 607.0832.

History.--s. 87, ch. 89-154.

607.0834 Liability for unlawful distributions.--

(1) A director who votes for or assents to a distribution made in violation of s. 607.06401 or the articles of incorporation is personally liable to the corporation for the amount of the distribution that exceeds what could have been distributed without violating s. 607.06401 or the articles of incorporation if it is established that the director did not perform his or her duties in compliance with s. 607.0830. In any proceeding commenced under this section, a director has all of the defenses ordinarily available to a director.

(2) A director held liable under subsection (1) for an unlawful distribution is entitled to contribution:

(a) From every other director who could be liable under subsection (1) for the unlawful distribution; and

(b) From each shareholder for the amount the shareholder accepted knowing the distribution was made in violation of s. 607.06401 or the articles of incorporation.

(3) A proceeding under this section is barred unless it is commenced within 2 years after the date on which the effect of the distribution was measured under s. 607.06401(6) or (8).

History.--s. 88, ch. 89-154; s. 150, ch. 90-179; s. 29, ch. 97-102.

607.08401 Required officers.--

(1) A corporation shall have the officers described in its bylaws or appointed by the board of directors in accordance with the bylaws.

(2) A duly appointed officer may appoint one or more officers or assistant officers if authorized by the bylaws or the board of directors.

(3) The bylaws or the board of directors shall delegate to one of the officers responsibility for preparing minutes of the directors' and shareholders' meetings and for authenticating records of the corporation.

(4) The same individual may simultaneously hold more than one office in a corporation.

History.--s. 89, ch. 89-154; s. 151, ch. 90-179.

Note.--Former s. 607.0840.

607.0841 Duties of officers.--Each officer has the authority and shall perform the duties set forth in the bylaws or, to the extent consistent with the bylaws, the duties prescribed by the board of directors or by direction of any officer authorized by the bylaws or the board of directors to prescribe the duties of other officers.

History.--s. 90, ch. 89-154.

607.0842 Resignation and removal of officers.--

(1) An officer may resign at any time by delivering notice to the corporation. A resignation is effective when the notice is delivered unless the notice specifies a later effective date. If a resignation is made effective at a later date and the corporation accepts the future effective date, its board of directors may fill the pending vacancy before the effective date if the board of directors provides that the successor does not take office until the effective date.

(2) A board of directors may remove any officer at any time with or without cause. Any officer or assistant officer, if appointed by another officer, may likewise be removed by such officer.

History.--s. 91, ch. 89-154.

607.0843 Contract rights of officers.--

(1) The appointment of an officer does not itself create contract rights.

(2) An officer's removal does not affect the officer's contract rights, if any, with the corporation. An officer's resignation does not affect the corporation's contract rights, if any, with the officer.

History.--s. 92, ch. 89-154.

607.0850 Indemnification of officers, directors, employees, and agents.--

(1) A corporation shall have power to indemnify any person who was or is a party to any proceeding (other than an action by, or in the right of, the corporation), by reason of the fact that he or she is or was a director, officer, employee, or agent of the corporation or is or was serving at the request of the corporation as a director, officer, employee, or agent of another corporation, partnership, joint venture, trust, or other enterprise against liability incurred in connection with such proceeding, including any appeal thereof, if he or she acted in good faith and in a manner he or she reasonably believed to be in, or not opposed to, the best interests of the corporation and, with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, had no reasonable cause to believe his or her conduct was unlawful. The termination of any proceeding by judgment, order, settlement, or conviction or upon a plea of nolo contendere or its equivalent shall not, of itself, create a presumption that the person did not act in good faith and in a manner which he or she reasonably believed to be in, or not opposed to, the best interests of the corporation or, with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, had reasonable cause to believe that his or her conduct was unlawful.

(2) A corporation shall have power to indemnify any person, who was or is a party to any proceeding by or in the right of the corporation to procure a judgment in its favor by reason of the fact that the person is or was a director, officer, employee, or agent of the corporation or is or was serving at the request of the corporation as a director, officer, employee, or agent of another corporation, partnership, joint venture, trust, or other enterprise, against expenses and amounts paid in settlement not exceeding, in the judgment of the board of directors, the estimated expense of litigating the proceeding to conclusion, actually and reasonably incurred in connection with the defense or settlement of such proceeding, including any appeal thereof. Such indemnification shall be authorized if such person acted in good faith and in a manner he or she reasonably believed to be in, or not opposed to, the best interests of the corporation, except that no indemnification shall be made under this subsection in respect of any claim, issue, or matter as to which such person shall have been adjudged to be liable unless, and only to the extent that, the court in which such proceeding was brought, or any other court of competent jurisdiction, shall determine upon application that, despite the adjudication of liability but in view of all circumstances of the case, such person is fairly and reasonably entitled to indemnity for such expenses which such court shall deem proper.

(3) To the extent that a director, officer, employee, or agent of a corporation has been successful on the merits or otherwise in defense of any proceeding referred to in subsection (1) or subsection (2), or in defense of any claim, issue, or matter therein, he or she shall be indemnified against expenses actually and reasonably incurred by him or her in connection therewith.

(4) Any indemnification under subsection (1) or subsection (2), unless pursuant to a determination by a court, shall be made by the corporation only as authorized in the specific case upon a determination that indemnification of the director, officer, employee, or agent is proper in the circumstances because he or she has met the applicable standard of conduct set forth in subsection (1) or subsection (2). Such determination shall be made:

(a) By the board of directors by a majority vote of a quorum consisting of directors who were not parties to such proceeding;

(b) If such a quorum is not obtainable or, even if obtainable, by majority vote of a committee duly designated by the board of directors (in which directors who are parties may participate) consisting solely of two or more directors not at the time parties to the proceeding;

(c) By independent legal counsel:

1. Selected by the board of directors prescribed in paragraph (a) or the committee prescribed in paragraph (b); or

2. If a quorum of the directors cannot be obtained for paragraph (a) and the committee cannot be designated under paragraph (b), selected by majority vote of the full board of directors (in which directors who are parties may participate); or

(d) By the shareholders by a majority vote of a quorum consisting of shareholders who were not parties to such proceeding or, if no such quorum is obtainable, by a majority vote of shareholders who were not parties to such proceeding.

(5) Evaluation of the reasonableness of expenses and authorization of indemnification shall be made in the same manner as the determination that indemnification is permissible. However, if the determination of permissibility is made by independent legal counsel, persons specified by paragraph (4)(c) shall evaluate the reasonableness of expenses and may authorize indemnification.

(6) Expenses incurred by an officer or director in defending a civil or criminal proceeding may be paid by the corporation in advance of the final disposition of such proceeding upon receipt of an undertaking by or on behalf of such director or officer to repay such amount if he or she is ultimately found not to be entitled to indemnification by the corporation pursuant to this section. Expenses incurred by other employees and agents may be paid in advance upon such terms or conditions that the board of directors deems appropriate.

(7) The indemnification and advancement of expenses provided pursuant to this section are not exclusive, and a corporation may make any other or further indemnification or advancement of expenses of any of its directors, officers, employees, or agents, under any bylaw, agreement, vote of shareholders or disinterested directors, or otherwise, both as to action in his or her official capacity and as to action in another capacity while holding such office. However, indemnification or advancement of expenses shall not be made to or on behalf of any director, officer, employee, or agent if a judgment or other final adjudication establishes that his or her actions, or omissions to act, were material to the cause of action so adjudicated and constitute:

(a) A violation of the criminal law, unless the director, officer, employee, or agent had reasonable cause to believe his or her conduct was lawful or had no reasonable cause to believe his or her conduct was unlawful;

(b) A transaction from which the director, officer, employee, or agent derived an improper personal benefit;

(c) In the case of a director, a circumstance under which the liability provisions of s. 607.0834 are applicable; or

(d) Willful misconduct or a conscious disregard for the best interests of the corporation in a proceeding by or in the right of the corporation to procure a judgment in its favor or in a proceeding by or in the right of a shareholder.

(8) Indemnification and advancement of expenses as provided in this section shall continue as, unless otherwise provided when authorized or ratified, to a person who has ceased to be a director, officer, employee, or agent and shall inure to the benefit of the heirs, executors, and administrators of such a person, unless otherwise provided when authorized or ratified.

(9) Unless the corporation's articles of incorporation provide otherwise, notwithstanding the failure of a corporation to provide indemnification, and despite any contrary determination of the board or of the shareholders in the specific case, a director, officer, employee, or agent of the corporation who is or was a party to a proceeding may apply for indemnification or advancement of expenses, or both, to the court conducting the proceeding, to the circuit court, or to another court of competent jurisdiction. On receipt of an application, the court, after giving any notice that it considers necessary, may order indemnification and advancement of expenses, including expenses incurred in seeking court-ordered indemnification or advancement of expenses, if it determines that:

(a) The director, officer, employee, or agent is entitled to mandatory indemnification under subsection (3), in which case the court shall also order the corporation to pay the director reasonable expenses incurred in obtaining court-ordered indemnification or advancement of expenses;

(b) The director, officer, employee, or agent is entitled to indemnification or advancement of expenses, or both, by virtue of the exercise by the corporation of its power pursuant to subsection (7); or

(c) The director, officer, employee, or agent is fairly and reasonably entitled to indemnification or advancement of expenses, or both, in view of all the relevant circumstances, regardless of whether such person met the standard of conduct set forth in subsection (1), subsection (2), or subsection (7).

(10) For purposes of this section, the term "corporation" includes, in addition to the resulting corporation, any constituent corporation (including any constituent of a constituent) absorbed in a consolidation or merger, so that any person who is or was a director, officer, employee, or agent of a constituent corporation, or is or was serving at the request of a constituent corporation as a director, officer, employee, or agent of another corporation, partnership, joint venture, trust, or other enterprise, is in the same position under this section with respect to the resulting or surviving corporation as he or she would have with respect to such constituent corporation if its separate existence had continued.

(11) For purposes of this section:

(a) The term "other enterprises" includes employee benefit plans;

(b) The term "expenses" includes counsel fees, including those for appeal;

(c) The term "liability" includes obligations to pay a judgment, settlement, penalty, fine (including an excise tax assessed with respect to any employee benefit plan), and expenses actually and reasonably incurred with respect to a proceeding;

(d) The term "proceeding" includes any threatened, pending, or completed action, suit, or other type of proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative, or investigative and whether formal or informal;

(e) The term "agent" includes a volunteer;

(f) The term "serving at the request of the corporation" includes any service as a director, officer, employee, or agent of the corporation that imposes duties on such persons, including duties relating to an employee benefit plan and its participants or beneficiaries; and

(g) The term "not opposed to the best interest of the corporation" describes the actions of a person who acts in good faith and in a manner he or she reasonably believes to be in the best interests of the participants and beneficiaries of an employee benefit plan.

(12) A corporation shall have power to purchase and maintain insurance on behalf of any person who is or was a director, officer, employee, or agent of the corporation or is or was serving at the request of the corporation as a director, officer, employee, or agent of another corporation, partnership, joint venture, trust, or other enterprise against any liability asserted against the person and incurred by him or her in any such capacity or arising out of his or her status as such, whether or not the corporation would have the power to indemnify the person against such liability under the provisions of this section.

History.--s. 93, ch. 89-154; s. 30, ch. 97-102.

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