Business associations

2.CATEGORIES OF AGENCY

a)Actual Express Authority--authority is the power of the agent to affect the legal relations of the principal by acts done in accordance with the principal's manifestations of consent to him." Rest 7. Operative word is "manifestation" . If he says, do something, it's express ‑‑ but the manifestation may include implied assent to other things as well, which is-->


b)Actual Implied Authority--unless otherwise agreed, authority to conduct a transaction includes authority to do acts which are incidental to it, usually accompany it, or are reasonably necessary to accomplish it." Rest 35

c)Apparent Authority ‑‑ a.k.a. "ostensible authority"--apparent authority is the power to affect the legal relationships of another person by transactions with third persons, professedly as agent for the other, arising from and in accordance with the other's manifestations to such third persons." Rest 8. But note that the manifestation includes allowing the agent to represent accurately his own authority.

d)Inherent Authority--this is the authority that inheres in an office. General agent (agent authorized to conduct a series of transactions involving continuity of service): P is bound if A is acting in the interests of P and A does an act usual or necessary with respect to the authorized transactions ;

1)Unusual activities--depositing corporate checks on a personal account is an unusual activity, and the bank should make inquiry if the person is authorized to do that; otherwise, the bank is liable to the principal for lost money (Mohr)

e)Ratification--ratification is the affirmance by a person of a prior act which did not bind him but which was done or professedly done on his account, whereby the act, as to some or all persons, is given effect as if originally authorized by him." Rest 82. The principal can affirm by words, or by deeds. This includes the failure to repudiate the subject matter when presented, suing to enforce the obligation, retaining the benefits of the transaction. Note several things:

1)Ratification assumes that the principal was not previously bound. If the principal had been previously bound, then the liability would be based on another agency theory.

2)It doesn't matter to whom the affirmance is made. It could be to the agent, to the third party, or anyone else or nobody at all. Why? Because what was lacking in the original contract was merely his expression of assent to the relationship of agency. The terms are fixed, the third party believes he has an agreement, all that's missing is the opposite party. So the President of the firm's note to himself that the affirms may be sufficient. If there are some formalities required to authorize an act ‑‑e.g., sealed instruments, deeds ‑‑ then there might be additional formality required for affirmance.

f)Estoppel--purported principal either (a) intentionally or carelessly causes the belief that a purported agent is acting on his behalf, or (b) sits silently knowing that such belief exists without taking reasonable steps, and the third party relies detrimentally.



C.ULTRA VIRES TRANSACTIONS--those beyond the purposes and powers, express and implied, of the corporation. Under common law, shareholder ratification of an ultra vires transaction nullified the use of an ultra vires defense by the corporation.


1.TORT ACTIONS--ultra vires is NO defense to tort liability.


2.CRIMINAL ACTIONS--claims that a corporate act was beyond the corps authorized powers are NO defense to criminal liability.



3.CONTRACT ACTIONS--at common law, a purely executory ultra vires contracts were NOT enforceable against either party; fully performed contracts could NOT be rescinded by either party; and, under the majority rule, partially performed contracts were generally enforceable by the performing party, since the nonperforming party was estopped to assert an ultra vires defense.


4.STATUTES--most states now have statutes that preclude the use of ultra vires as a defense in a suit between the contracting parties, but permit ultra vires to be raised in certain other contexts:

a)Suits Against Officers or Directors--if performance of an ultra vires contract results in a loss to the corp, it can sue the officers or dirs for damages for exceeding their authority.

b)Suit By State--these limiting statutes do NOT bar the state from suing to enjoin a corp from transacting unauthorized business.

c)Broad Certificate Provisions--when the certificate of incorporation states that the purpose is to engage in any lawful activity for which corp may be organized, ultra vires is unlikely to arise.



V.MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL


A.ALLOCATION OF POWERS BETWEEN DIRECTORS AND SHAREHOLDERS


1.MANAGEMENT OF CORPORATIONS BUSINESS--corporate statutes vest the power to manage in the board of directors, except as provided by valid agreement in a close corp. He boards power is limited to proper purposes.


2.SHAREHOLDER APPROVAL OF FUNDAMENTAL CHANGES--shs must approve certain fundamental changes in the corp, e.g., amendment of articles, merger, sale of substantially all assets, and dissolution.


3.POWER TO ELECT DIRECTORS--shs have the power to elect dirs and to remove them for cause, absent provisions for removal without cause in the certificate, bylaws, or in statutes. Some statutes also permit the board or the courts to remove a dir for certain specific reasons (e.g., felony conviction).


4.POWER TO RATIFY MANAGEMENT TRANSACTIONS--shs have the power to ratify certain management transactions and insulate the transactions against a claim that managers lacked authority, or shift the burden on the issue of self-interest.


5.POWER TO ADOPT PRECATORY RESOLUTIONS--shs may also adopt advisory but nonbinding (precatory) resolutions on proper subjects of their concern.


6.BYLAWS--shs usually have the power to adopt and amend bylaws, although some statutes give the board of dirs the concurrent power to do this.



7.CLOSE CORPORATION--this is a corp owned by a small number of shs who may actively manage; it has no general market for its stock, and it has some limitations regarding transferability of stock.


8.STATUTORY CLOSE CORPORATION STATUS--the basic requirements to qualify for special treatment under the statutes are that, in its cert of incorpn, a statutory close corp must identify itself as such, and must include certain limitations as to the number of shs, transferability of shares, or both.

a)Functioning As a Close Corporation--there may be sh agreements relating to any phase of the corp affairs.

  B.DIRECTORS


1.APPOINTMENT OF DIRECTORS--initial dirs are either designated in the articles of incorporation or elected at a meeting of incorporators. Subsequent elections are by shs at their annual meetings. The number of dirs is usually set by the articles or bylaws.

a)Qualifications--absent a contrary provision in the articles or bylaws, dirs need not be shs of the corp or residents of the state of incorporation.

b)Vacancies--statutes vary, but under Model Act, a vacancy may be filled by either the shs or dirs.

1)Compare--removal: some statutes require that vacancies created by removal of a dir be filled by the shs unless the articles or bylaws provide otherwise.


2.TENURE OF OFFICE

a)Term of Appointment--under most statutes, office is held until the next meeting, although on a classified board, dirs may serve staggered multi year terms.

b)Power to Bind Corporation Beyond Term--unless limited by the articles, the board has the power to make contracts biding the corp beyond the dirs term of office.

c)Removal of Director During Term--at common law, shs can remove a dir for cause (e.g., fraud, incompetence, dishonesty) unless an article or bylaw provision permits removal without cause. a dir being removed for cause is entitled to a hearing by shs before a vote to remove. a number of statutes permit removal without cause.

1)Removal by Board--board can NEVER remove a dir unless authorized by statute;

2)Removal by Court--there is a split authority as to whether a court can remove a dir for cause.

I)Statutes--some statutes permit courts to remove a dir for specified reasons. Usually, a petition for removal can be brought only by a certain percentage of shs or the attorney general.

3.FUNCTIONING OF BOARD

a)Meetings--absent a statute, dirs can act only at a duly convened meeting consisting of a quorum. In most jurisdictions, a meeting can be conducted by telephone or other means whereby participants can hear each other simultaneously. Most statutes also allow board action by unanimous written consent without a meeting.


1)Notice--although formal notice is unnecessary for a regular meeting, special meetings require notice to every dir of date, time, and place. Usually, notice can be waived in writing before or after a meeting. Attendance waives notice unless the dir attends only to protest the meeting.

2)Quorum--a majority of the authorized number of dirs constitutes a quorum. Many statutes permit the articles or bylaws to require more than simple majority or less than that.

3)Voting--absent a contrary provision, an affirmative vote of a majority of those present, not a majority of those voting, is required for board action.

b)Effect of Noncompliance With Formalities--today, most courts hold that informal but unanimous approval of a transaction is effective, as is a matter receiving the explicit approval by a majority of dirs without a meeting, plus acquiescence by the remaining dirs.

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