2013 Maryland Code
CORPORATIONS AND ASSOCIATIONS
§ 2-418 - Indemnification of directors, officers, employees, and agents
(a) (1) In this section the following words have the meanings indicated.
(2) “Corporation” includes any domestic or foreign predecessor entity of a corporation in a merger, consolidation, or other transaction in which the predecessor’s existence ceased upon consummation of the transaction.
(3) “Director” means any person who is or was a director of a corporation and any person who, while a director of a 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, partnership, joint venture, trust, limited liability company, other enterprise, or employee benefit plan.
(4) “Expenses” include attorney’s fees.
(5) (i) “Official capacity” means:
1. When used with respect to a director, the office of director in the corporation; and
2. When used with respect to a person other than a director as contemplated in subsection (j) of this section, the elective or appointive office in the corporation held by the officer, or the employment or agency relationship undertaken by the employee or agent in behalf of the corporation.
(ii) “Official capacity” does not include service for any other foreign or domestic corporation or any partnership, joint venture, trust, other enterprise, or employee benefit plan.
(6) “Party” includes a person who was, is, or is threatened to be made a named defendant or respondent in a proceeding.
(7) “Proceeding” means any threatened, pending or completed action, suit or proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative, or investigative.
(b) (1) A corporation may indemnify any director made a party to any proceeding by reason of service in that capacity unless it is established that:
(i) The act or omission of the director was material to the matter giving rise to the proceeding; and
1. Was committed in bad faith; or
2. Was the result of active and deliberate dishonesty; or
(ii) The director actually received an improper personal benefit in money, property, or services; or
(iii) In the case of any criminal proceeding, the director had reasonable cause to believe that the act or omission was unlawful.
(2) (i) Indemnification may be against judgments, penalties, fines, settlements, and reasonable expenses actually incurred by the director in connection with the proceeding.
(ii) However, if the proceeding was one by or in the right of the corporation, indemnification may not be made in respect of any proceeding in which the director shall have been adjudged to be liable to the corporation.
(3) (i) The termination of any proceeding by judgment, order, or settlement does not create a presumption that the director did not meet the requisite standard of conduct set forth in this subsection.
(ii) The termination of any proceeding by conviction, or a plea of nolo contendere or its equivalent, or an entry of an order of probation prior to judgment, creates a rebuttable presumption that the director did not meet that standard of conduct.
(4) A corporation may not indemnify a director or advance expenses under this section for a proceeding brought by that director against the corporation, except:
(i) For a proceeding brought to enforce indemnification under this section; or
(ii) If the charter or bylaws of the corporation, a resolution of the board of directors of the corporation, or an agreement approved by the board of directors of the corporation to which the corporation is a party expressly provide otherwise.
(c) A director may not be indemnified under subsection (b) of this section in respect of any proceeding charging improper personal benefit to the director, whether or not involving action in the director’s official capacity, in which the director was adjudged to be liable on the basis that personal benefit was improperly received.
(d) Unless limited by the charter:
(1) A director who has been successful, on the merits or otherwise, in the defense of any proceeding referred to in subsection (b) of this section, or in the defense of any claim, issue, or matter in the proceeding, shall be indemnified against reasonable expenses incurred by the director in connection with the proceeding, claim, issue, or matter in which the director has been successful.
(2) A court of appropriate jurisdiction, upon application of a director and such notice as the court shall require, may order indemnification in the following circumstances:
(i) If it determines a director is entitled to reimbursement under paragraph (1) of this subsection, the court shall order indemnification, in which case the director shall be entitled to recover the expenses of securing such reimbursement; or
(ii) If it determines that the director is fairly and reasonably entitled to indemnification in view of all the relevant circumstances, whether or not the director has met the standards of conduct set forth in subsection (b) of this section or has been adjudged liable under the circumstances described in subsection (c) of this section, the court may order such indemnification as the court shall deem proper. However, indemnification with respect to any proceeding by or in the right of the corporation or in which liability shall have been adjudged in the circumstances described in subsection (c) of this section shall be limited to expenses.
(3) A court of appropriate jurisdiction may be the same court in which the proceeding involving the director’s liability took place.
(e) (1) Indemnification under subsection (b) of this section may not be made by the corporation unless authorized for a specific proceeding after a determination has been made that indemnification of the director is permissible in the circumstances because the director has met the standard of conduct set forth in subsection (b) of this section.
(2) Such determination shall be made:
(i) By the board of directors by a majority vote of a quorum consisting of directors not, at the time, parties to the proceeding, or, if such a quorum cannot be obtained, then by a majority vote of a committee of the board consisting solely of one or more directors not, at the time, parties to such proceeding and who were duly designated to act in the matter by a majority vote of the full board in which the designated directors who are parties may participate;
(ii) By special legal counsel selected by the board of directors or a committee of the board by vote as set forth in subparagraph (i) of this paragraph, or, if the requisite quorum of the full board cannot be obtained therefor and the committee cannot be established, by a majority vote of the full board in which directors who are parties may participate; or
(iii) By the stockholders.
(3) Authorization of indemnification and determination as to reasonableness of expenses shall be made in the same manner as the determination that indemnification is permissible. However, if the determination that indemnification is permissible is made by special legal counsel, authorization of indemnification and determination as to reasonableness of expenses shall be made in the manner specified in paragraph (2)(ii) of this subsection for selection of such counsel.
(4) Shares held by directors who are parties to the proceeding may not be voted on the subject matter under this subsection.
(f) (1) Reasonable expenses incurred by a director who is a party to a proceeding may be paid or reimbursed by the corporation in advance of the final disposition of the proceeding upon receipt by the corporation of:
(i) A written affirmation by the director of the director’s good faith belief that the standard of conduct necessary for indemnification by the corporation as authorized in this section has been met; and
(ii) A written undertaking by or on behalf of the director to repay the amount if it shall ultimately be determined that the standard of conduct has not been met.
(2) The undertaking required by paragraph (1)(ii) of this subsection 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 the repayment.
(3) Payments under this subsection shall be made as provided by the charter, bylaws, or contract or as specified in subsection (e)(2) of this section.
(g) The indemnification and advancement of expenses provided or authorized by this section may not be deemed exclusive of any other rights, by indemnification or otherwise, to which a director may be entitled under the charter, the bylaws, a resolution of stockholders or directors, an agreement or otherwise, both as to action in an official capacity and as to action in another capacity while holding such office.
(h) This section does not limit the corporation’s power to pay or reimburse expenses incurred by a director in connection with an appearance as a witness in a proceeding at a time when the director has not been made a named defendant or respondent in the proceeding.
(i) For purposes of this section:
(1) The corporation shall be deemed to have requested a director to serve an employee benefit plan where the performance of the director’s duties to the corporation also imposes duties on, or otherwise involves services by, the director to the plan or participants or beneficiaries of the plan;
(2) Excise taxes assessed on a director with respect to an employee benefit plan pursuant to applicable law shall be deemed fines; and
(3) Action taken or omitted by the director with respect to an employee benefit plan in the performance of the director’s duties for a purpose reasonably believed by the director to be in the interest of the participants and beneficiaries of the plan shall be deemed to be for a purpose which is not opposed to the best interests of the corporation.
(j) Unless limited by the charter:
(1) An officer of the corporation shall be indemnified as and to the extent provided in subsection (d) of this section for a director and shall be entitled, to the same extent as a director, to seek indemnification pursuant to the provisions of subsection (d) of this section;
(2) A corporation may indemnify and advance expenses to an officer, employee, or agent of the corporation to the same extent that it may indemnify directors under this section; and
(3) A corporation, in addition, may indemnify and advance expenses to an officer, employee, or agent who is not a director to such further extent, consistent with law, as may be provided by its charter, bylaws, general or specific action of its board of directors, or contract.
(k) (1) A corporation may purchase and maintain insurance on behalf of any person who is or was a director, officer, employee, or agent of the corporation, or who, while a director, officer, employee, or agent 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, partnership, joint venture, trust, other enterprise, or employee benefit plan against any liability asserted against and incurred by such person in any such capacity or arising out of such person’s position, whether or not the corporation would have the power to indemnify against liability under the provisions of this section.
(2) A corporation may provide similar protection, including a trust fund, letter of credit, or surety bond, not inconsistent with this section.
(3) The insurance or similar protection may be provided by a subsidiary or an affiliate of the corporation.
(l) Any indemnification of, or advance of expenses to, a director in accordance with this section, if arising out of a proceeding by or in the right of the corporation, shall be reported in writing to the stockholders with the notice of the next stockholders’ meeting or prior to the meeting.
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