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Title XXIII CORPORATIONS, ASSOCIATIONS AND PARTNERSHIPS

Chapter 351

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  351.355.  Officer, director, employee, or agent of corporation indemnified, when, methods authorized. — 1.  A corporation created under the laws of this state may indemnify any person who was or is a party or is threatened to be made a party to any threatened, pending or completed action, suit, or proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative or investigative, 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 expenses, including attorneys' fees, judgments, fines and amounts paid in settlement actually and reasonably incurred by him in connection with such action, suit, or proceeding 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 action, suit, or proceeding by judgment, order, settlement, 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, and, with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, had reasonable cause to believe that his or her conduct was unlawful.

  2.  The corporation may indemnify any person who was or is a party or is threatened to be made a party to any threatened, pending or completed action or suit by or in the right of the corporation to procure a judgment in its favor 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 expenses, including attorneys' fees, and amounts paid in settlement actually and reasonably incurred by him in connection with the defense or settlement of the action or suit 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; except that no indemnification shall be made in respect of any claim, issue or matter as to which such person shall have been adjudged to be liable for negligence or misconduct in the performance of his or her duty to the corporation unless and only to the extent that the court in which the action or suit was brought determines upon application that, despite the adjudication of liability and in view of all the circumstances of the case, the person is fairly and reasonably entitled to indemnity for such expenses which the court shall deem proper.

  3.  Except as otherwise provided in the articles of incorporation or the bylaws, to the extent that a director, officer, employee or agent of the corporation has been successful on the merits or otherwise in defense of any action, suit, or proceeding referred to in subsections 1 and 2 of this section, or in defense of any claim, issue or matter therein, he or she shall be indemnified against expenses, including attorneys' fees, actually and reasonably incurred by him in connection with the action, suit, or proceeding.

  4.  Any indemnification under subsections 1 and 2 of this section, unless ordered 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 this section.  The determination shall be made by the board of directors by a majority vote of a quorum consisting of directors who were not parties to the action, suit, or proceeding, or if such a quorum is not obtainable, or even if obtainable a quorum of disinterested directors so directs, by independent legal counsel in a written opinion, or by the shareholders.

  5.  Expenses incurred in defending any civil, criminal, administrative, or investigative action, suit or proceeding may be paid by the corporation in advance of the final disposition of the action, suit, or proceeding as authorized by the board of directors in the specific case upon receipt of an undertaking by or on behalf of the director, officer, employee or agent to repay such amount unless it shall ultimately be determined that he or she is entitled to be indemnified by the corporation as authorized in this section.

  6.  The indemnification provided by this section shall not be deemed exclusive of any other rights to which those seeking indemnification may be entitled under the articles of incorporation or bylaws or any 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, and shall continue as 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.

  7.  A corporation created under the laws of this state shall have the power to give any further indemnity, in addition to the indemnity authorized or contemplated under other subsections of this section, including subsection 6, to any person who is or was a director, officer, employee or agent, or to any person who 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, provided such further indemnity is either (i) authorized, directed, or provided for in the articles of incorporation of the corporation or any duly adopted amendment thereof or (ii) is authorized, directed, or provided for in any bylaw or agreement of the corporation which has been adopted by a vote of the shareholders of the corporation, and provided further that no such indemnity shall indemnify any person from or on account of such person's conduct which was finally adjudged to have been knowingly fraudulent, deliberately dishonest or willful misconduct.  Nothing in this subsection shall be deemed to limit the power of the corporation under subsection 6 of this section to enact bylaws or to enter into agreements without shareholder adoption of the same.

  8.  The corporation may purchase and maintain insurance or another arrangement 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 him or her 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 him against such liability under the provisions of this section.  Without limiting the power of the corporation to procure or maintain any kind of insurance or other arrangement the corporation may for the benefit of persons indemnified by the corporation create a trust fund, establish any form of self insurance, secure its indemnity obligation by grant of a security interest or other lien on the assets of the corporation, or establish a letter of credit, guaranty, or surety arrangement.  The insurance or other arrangement may be procured, maintained, or established within the corporation or with any insurer or other person deemed appropriate by the board of directors regardless of whether all or part of the stock or other securities of the insurer or other person are owned in whole or in part by the corporation.  In the absence of fraud the judgment of the board of directors as to the terms and conditions of the insurance or other arrangement and the identity of the insurer or other person participating in an arrangement shall be conclusive and the insurance or arrangement shall not be voidable and shall not subject the directors approving the insurance or arrangement to liability on any ground regardless of whether directors participating in the approval are beneficiaries of the insurance arrangement.

  9.  Any provision of this chapter to the contrary notwithstanding, the provisions of this section shall apply to all existing and new domestic corporations, including but not limited to banks, trust companies, insurance companies, building and loan associations, savings bank and safe deposit companies, mortgage loan companies, corporations formed for benevolent, religious, scientific or educational purposes and nonprofit corporations.

  10.  For the purpose of this section, references to "the corporation" include all constituent corporations absorbed in a consolidation or merger as well as the resulting or surviving corporation so that any person who is or was a director, officer, employee or agent of such a constituent corporation or is or was serving at the request of such constituent corporation as a director, officer, employee or agent of another corporation, partnership, joint venture, trust or other enterprise shall stand in the same position under the provisions of this section with respect to the resulting or surviving corporation as he or she would if he or she had served the resulting or surviving corporation in the same capacity.

  11.  For purposes of this section, the term "other enterprise" shall include employee benefit plans; the term "fines" shall include any excise taxes assessed on a person with respect to an employee benefit plan; and the term "serving at the request of the corporation" shall include any service as a director, officer, employee or agent of the corporation which imposes duties on, or involves services by, such director, officer, employee, or agent with respect to an employee benefit plan, its participants, or beneficiaries; and a person who acted in good faith and in a manner he or she reasonably believed to be in the interest of the participants and beneficiaries of an employee benefit plan shall be deemed to have acted in a manner "not opposed to the best interests of the corporation" as referred to in this section.

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(L. 1949 p. 242 § 45a, A.L. 1972 H.B. 1149, A.L. 1975 S.B. 14, A.L. 1983 S.B. 367, A.L. 1986 S.B. 565, A.L. 2000 S.B. 896, A.L. 2004 H.B. 1664, A.L. 2006 H.B. 1715)

(1960) In action to set aside sale of treasury stock of corporation by board of directors to one of the directors without notifying other stockholders, where the minority stockholder was successful his expenses and attorney fees would be awarded against the corporation. Johnson v. Duensing (A.), 340 S.W.2d 758.


---- end of effective   28 Aug 2006 ----

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