Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

302A.521 INDEMNIFICATION.
    Subdivision 1. Definitions. (a) For purposes of this section, the terms defined in this
subdivision have the meanings given them.
(b) "Corporation" includes a domestic or foreign corporation that was the predecessor of the
corporation referred to in this section in a merger or other transaction in which the predecessor's
existence ceased upon consummation of the transaction.
(c) "Official capacity" means (1) with respect to a director, the position of director in a
corporation, (2) with respect to a person other than a director, the elective or appointive office or
position held by an officer, member of a committee of the board, or the employment relationship
undertaken by an employee of the corporation, and (3) with respect to a director, officer, or
employee of the corporation who, while a director, officer, or employee of the corporation, is or
was serving at the request of the corporation or whose duties in that position involve or involved
service as a director, officer, partner, trustee, governor, manager, employee, or agent of another
organization or employee benefit plan, the position of that person as a director, officer, partner,
trustee, governor, manager, employee, or agent, as the case may be, of the other organization
or employee benefit plan.
(d) "Proceeding" means a threatened, pending, or completed civil, criminal, administrative,
arbitration, or investigative proceeding, including a proceeding by or in the right of the
corporation.
(e) "Special legal counsel" means counsel who has not represented the corporation or a
related organization, or a director, officer, member of a committee of the board, or employee,
whose indemnification is in issue.
    Subd. 2. Indemnification mandatory; standard. (a) Subject to the provisions of subdivision
4, a corporation shall indemnify a person made or threatened to be made a party to a proceeding
by reason of the former or present official capacity of the person against judgments, penalties,
fines, including, without limitation, excise taxes assessed against the person with respect to
an employee benefit plan, settlements, and reasonable expenses, including attorneys' fees and
disbursements, incurred by the person in connection with the proceeding, if, with respect to the
acts or omissions of the person complained of in the proceeding, the person:
(1) has not been indemnified by another organization or employee benefit plan for the same
judgments, penalties, fines, including, without limitation, excise taxes assessed against the
person with respect to an employee benefit plan, settlements, and reasonable expenses, including
attorneys' fees and disbursements, incurred by the person in connection with the proceeding
with respect to the same acts or omissions;
(2) acted in good faith;
(3) received no improper personal benefit and section 302A.255, if applicable, has been
satisfied;
(4) in the case of a criminal proceeding, had no reasonable cause to believe the conduct
was unlawful; and
(5) in the case of acts or omissions occurring in the official capacity described in subdivision
1, paragraph (c), clause (1) or (2), reasonably believed that the conduct was in the best interests of
the corporation, or in the case of acts or omissions occurring in the official capacity described in
subdivision 1, paragraph (c), clause (3), reasonably believed that the conduct was not opposed
to the best interests of the corporation. If the person's acts or omissions complained of in the
proceeding relate to conduct as a director, officer, trustee, employee, or agent of an employee
benefit plan, the conduct is not considered to be opposed to the best interests of the corporation
if the person reasonably believed that the conduct was in the best interests of the participants
or beneficiaries of the employee benefit plan.
(b) The termination of a proceeding by judgment, order, settlement, conviction, or upon a
plea of nolo contendere or its equivalent does not, of itself, establish that the person did not
meet the criteria set forth in this subdivision.
    Subd. 3. Advances. Subject to the provisions of subdivision 4, if a person is made or
threatened to be made a party to a proceeding, the person is entitled, upon written request to the
corporation, to payment or reimbursement by the corporation of reasonable expenses, including
attorneys' fees and disbursements, incurred by the person in advance of the final disposition of the
proceeding, (a) upon receipt by the corporation of a written affirmation by the person of a good
faith belief that the criteria for indemnification set forth in subdivision 2 have been satisfied and a
written undertaking by the person to repay all amounts so paid or reimbursed by the corporation,
if it is ultimately determined that the criteria for indemnification have not been satisfied, and (b)
after a determination that the facts then known to those making the determination would not
preclude indemnification under this section. The written undertaking required by clause (a) is
an unlimited general obligation of the person making it, but need not be secured and shall be
accepted without reference to financial ability to make the repayment.
    Subd. 4. Prohibition or limit on indemnification or advances. The articles or bylaws
either may prohibit indemnification or advances of expenses otherwise required by this section
or may impose conditions on indemnification or advances of expenses in addition to the
conditions contained in subdivisions 2 and 3 including, without limitation, monetary limits on
indemnification or advances of expenses, if the prohibition or conditions apply equally to all
persons or to all persons within a given class. A prohibition or limit on indemnification or
advances may not apply to or affect the right of a person to indemnification or advances of
expenses with respect to any acts or omissions of the person occurring prior to the effective date
of a provision in the articles or the date of adoption of a provision in the bylaws establishing the
prohibition or limit on indemnification or advances.
    Subd. 5. Reimbursement to witnesses. This section does not require, or limit the ability of,
a corporation to reimburse expenses, including attorneys' fees and disbursements, incurred by a
person in connection with an appearance as a witness in a proceeding at a time when the person
has not been made or threatened to be made a party to a proceeding.
    Subd. 6. Determination of eligibility. (a) All determinations whether indemnification of a
person is required because the criteria set forth in subdivision 2 have been satisfied and whether a
person is entitled to payment or reimbursement of expenses in advance of the final disposition of
a proceeding as provided in subdivision 3 shall be made:
(1) by the board by a majority of a quorum, if the directors who are at the time parties to the
proceeding are not counted for determining either a majority or the presence of a quorum;
(2) if a quorum under clause (1) cannot be obtained, by a majority of a committee of the
board, consisting solely of two or more directors not at the time parties to the proceeding, duly
designated to act in the matter by a majority of the full board including directors who are parties;
(3) if a determination is not made under clause (1) or (2), by special legal counsel, selected
either by a majority of the board or a committee by vote pursuant to clause (1) or (2) or, if the
requisite quorum of the full board cannot be obtained and the committee cannot be established, by
a majority of the full board including directors who are parties;
(4) if a determination is not made under clauses (1) to (3), by the affirmative vote of the
shareholders required by section 302A.437, but the shares held by parties to the proceeding must
not be counted in determining the presence of a quorum and are not considered to be present
and entitled to vote on the determination; or
(5) if an adverse determination is made under clauses (1) to (4) or under paragraph (b), or if
no determination is made under clauses (1) to (4) or under paragraph (b) within 60 days after
(i) the later to occur of the termination of a proceeding or a written request for indemnification
to the corporation or (ii) a written request for an advance of expenses, as the case may be,
by a court in this state, which may be the same court in which the proceeding involving the
person's liability took place, upon application of the person and any notice the court requires.
The person seeking indemnification or payment or reimbursement of expenses pursuant to this
clause has the burden of establishing that the person is entitled to indemnification or payment or
reimbursement of expenses.
(b) With respect to a person who is not, and was not at the time of the acts or omissions
complained of in the proceedings, a director, officer, or person possessing, directly or indirectly,
the power to direct or cause the direction of the management or policies of the corporation, the
determination whether indemnification of this person is required because the criteria set forth in
subdivision 2 have been satisfied and whether this person is entitled to payment or reimbursement
of expenses in advance of the final disposition of a proceeding as provided in subdivision 3 may
be made by an annually appointed committee of the board, having at least one member who is a
director. The committee shall report at least annually to the board concerning its actions.
    Subd. 7. Insurance. A corporation may purchase and maintain insurance on behalf of a
person in that person's official capacity against any liability asserted against and incurred by the
person in or arising from that capacity, whether or not the corporation would have been required
to indemnify the person against the liability under the provisions of this section.
    Subd. 8. Disclosure. A corporation that indemnifies or advances expenses to a person in
accordance with this section in connection with a proceeding by or on behalf of the corporation
shall report to the shareholders in writing the amount of the indemnification or advance and to
whom and on whose behalf it was paid not later than the next meeting of shareholders.
    Subd. 9. Indemnification of other persons. Nothing in this section shall be construed to
limit the power of the corporation to indemnify persons other than a director, officer, employee, or
member of a committee of the board of the corporation by contract or otherwise.
History: 1981 c 270 s 84; 1982 c 497 s 51; 1983 c 368 s 8; 1984 c 618 s 16; 1987 c 104 s
35-38; 1993 c 17 s 44; 1993 c 137 s 14; 1997 c 10 art 1 s 26,27; 2000 c 264 s 8; 2004 c 199
art 14 s 20