Corporations Code Section 7237. Indemnification of Corporate Agents
(a) For purposes of this section, “agent” means a person who is or was a director, officer, employee, or other agent of the corporation, or is or was serving at the request of the corporation as a director, officer, employee, or agent of another foreign or domestic corporation, partnership, joint venture, trust or other enterprise, or was a director, officer, employee, or agent of a foreign or domestic corporation that was a predecessor corporation of the corporation or of another enterprise at the request of the predecessor corporation; “proceeding” means any threatened, pending, or completed action or proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative, or investigative; and “expenses” includes, without limitation, attorneys' fees and any expenses of establishing a right to indemnification under subdivision (d) or paragraph (3) of subdivision (e).
(b) A corporation shall have power to indemnify a person who was or is a party or is threatened to be made a party to any proceeding (other than an action by or in the right of the corporation to procure a judgment in its favor, an action brought under Section 5233 of Part 2 (commencing with Section 5110) made applicable pursuant to Section 7238, or an action brought by the Attorney General or a person granted relator status by the Attorney General for any breach of duty relating to assets held in charitable trust) by reason of the fact that the person is or was an agent of the corporation, against expenses, judgments, fines, settlements, and other amounts actually and reasonably incurred in connection with the proceeding if the person acted in good faith and in a manner the person reasonably believed to be in the best interests of the corporation and, in the case of a criminal proceeding, had no reasonable cause to believe the conduct of the person was unlawful. The termination of any 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 the person reasonably believed to be in the best interests of the corporation or that the person had reasonable cause to believe that the person's conduct was unlawful.
(c) A corporation shall have power to indemnify a person who was or is a party or is threatened to be made a party to any threatened, pending, or completed action by or in the right of the corporation, or brought under Section 5233 of Part 2 (commencing with Section 5110) made applicable pursuant to Section 7238, or brought by the Attorney General or a person granted relator status by the Attorney General for breach of duty relating to assets held in charitable trust, to procure a judgment in its favor by reason of the fact that the person is or was an agent of the corporation, against expenses actually and reasonably incurred by the person in connection with the defense or settlement of the action if the person acted in good faith, in a manner the person believed to be in the best interests of the corporation and with such care, including reasonable inquiry, as an ordinarily prudent person in a like position would use under similar circumstances. No indemnification shall be made under this subdivision:
(1) With respect to any claim, issue, or matter as to which the person shall have been adjudged to be liable to the corporation in the performance of the person's duty to the corporation, unless and only to the extent that the court in which the proceeding is or was pending shall determine upon application that, in view of all the circumstances of the case, the person is fairly and reasonably entitled to indemnity for the expenses which the court shall determine;
(2) Of amounts paid in settling or otherwise disposing of a threatened or pending action, with or without court approval; or
(3) Of expenses incurred in defending a threatened or pending action that is settled or otherwise disposed of without court approval unless the action concerns assets held in charitable trust and is settled with the approval of the Attorney General.
(d) To the extent that an agent of a corporation has been successful on the merits in defense of any proceeding referred to in subdivision (b) or (c) or in defense of any claim, issue, or matter therein, the agent shall be indemnified against expenses actually and reasonably incurred by the agent in connection therewith.
(e) Except as provided in subdivision (d), any indemnification under this section shall be made by the corporation only if authorized in the specific case, upon a determination that indemnification of the agent is proper in the circumstances because the agent has met the applicable standard of conduct set forth in subdivision (b) or (c), by:
(1) A majority vote of a quorum consisting of directors who are not parties to the proceeding;
(2) Approval of the members (Section 5034), with the persons to be indemnified not being entitled to vote thereon; or
(3) The court in which the proceeding is or was pending upon application made by the corporation or the agent or the attorney, or other person rendering services in connection with the defense, whether or not the application by the agent, attorney or other person is opposed by the corporation.
(f) Expenses incurred in defending any proceeding may be advanced by the corporation before the final disposition of the proceeding upon receipt of an undertaking by or on behalf of the agent to repay the amount unless it shall be determined ultimately that the agent is entitled to be indemnified as authorized in this section. The provisions of subdivision (a) of Section 7235 do not apply to advances made pursuant to this subdivision.
(g) A provision made by a corporation to indemnify its or its subsidiary's directors or officers for the defense of any proceeding, whether contained in the articles, bylaws, a resolution of members or directors, an agreement, or otherwise, shall not be valid unless consistent with this section. Nothing contained in this section shall affect any right to indemnification to which persons other than the directors and officers may be entitled by contract or otherwise.
(h) No indemnification or advance shall be made under this section, except as provided in subdivision (d) or paragraph (3) of subdivision (e), in any circumstance where it appears:
(1) That it would be inconsistent with a provision of the articles, bylaws, a resolution of the members, or an agreement in effect at the time of the accrual of the alleged cause of action asserted in the proceeding in which the expenses were incurred or other amounts were paid, which prohibits or otherwise limits indemnification; or
(2) That it would be inconsistent with any condition expressly imposed by a court in approving a settlement.
(i) A corporation shall have power to purchase and maintain insurance on behalf of an agent of the corporation against any liability asserted against or incurred by the agent in that capacity or arising out of the agent's status as such whether or not the corporation would have the power to indemnify the agent against that liability under the provisions of this section.
(j) This section does not apply to any proceeding against a trustee, investment manager, or other fiduciary of a pension, deferred compensation, saving, thrift, or other retirement, incentive, or benefit plan, trust, or provision for any or all of the corporation's directors, officers, employees, and persons providing services to the corporation or any of its subsidiary or related or affiliated corporations, in that person's capacity as such, even though the person may also be an agent as defined in subdivision (a) of the employer corporation. A corporation shall have power to indemnify the trustee, investment manager, or other fiduciary to the extent permitted by subdivision (e) of Section 7140.
(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 76, Sec. 25. (AB 383) Effective January 1, 2014.)