181.0724(1)(1) Right to vote by proxy. Unless the articles of incorporation or bylaws prohibit or limit proxy voting, a member may appoint a proxy to vote or otherwise act for the member by signing an appointment form either personally or by an attorney-in-fact.
181.0724(2) (2)When effective. An appointment of a proxy is effective when received by the secretary or other officer or agent authorized to tabulate votes. An appointment is valid for 11 months unless a different period is expressly provided in the appointment form.
181.0724(3) (3)Effect of death or incapacity. The death or incapacity of the member appointing a proxy does not affect the right of the corporation to accept the proxy's authority unless notice of the death or incapacity is received by the secretary or other officer or agent authorized to tabulate votes before the proxy exercises authority under the appointment.
181.0724(4) (4)Revocability. An appointment of a proxy is revocable by the member unless the appointment form conspicuously states that it is irrevocable.
181.0724(5) (5)Methods of revocation. Appointment of a proxy is revoked by the person appointing the proxy in any of the following ways:
181.0724(5)(a) (a) Attending any meeting and voting in person.
181.0724(5)(b) (b) Signing and delivering to the secretary or other officer or agent authorized to tabulate proxy votes either a writing stating that the appointment of the proxy is revoked or a subsequent appointment form.
181.0724(6) (6)Acceptance by corporation. Subject to s. 181.0727 and any express limitation on the proxy's authority appearing on the face of the appointment form, a corporation is entitled to accept the proxy's vote or other action as that of the member making the appointment.
181.0724 History History: 1997 a. 79.
181.0725 181.0725 Cumulative voting for directors.
181.0725(1) (1) In general. If the articles of incorporation or bylaws provide for cumulative voting by members, members may so vote, by multiplying the number of votes the members are entitled to cast by the number of directors for whom they are entitled to vote, and cast the product for a single candidate or distribute the product among 2 or more candidates.
181.0725(2) (2)When not authorized. Cumulative voting is not authorized at a particular meeting unless any of the following occurs:
181.0725(2)(a) (a) The meeting notice or statement accompanying the notice states that cumulative voting will take place.
181.0725(2)(b) (b) A member gives notice during the meeting and before the vote is taken of the member's intent to cumulate votes, and if one member gives this notice all other members participating in the election are entitled to cumulate their votes without giving further notice.
181.0725(3) (3)Removal of directors. A director elected by cumulative voting may be removed by the members without cause if the requirements of s. 181.0808 are met unless the votes cast against removal, or not consenting in writing to such removal, would be sufficient to elect such director if voted cumulatively at an election at which the same total number of votes were cast, or, if such action is taken by written ballot, all memberships entitled to vote were voted, and the entire number of directors authorized at the time of the director's most recent election were then being elected.
181.0725(4) (4)Identical membership and directors. Members may not cumulatively vote if the directors and members are identical.
181.0725 History History: 1997 a. 79.
181.0726 181.0726 Other methods of electing directors. A corporation may provide in its articles of incorporation or bylaws for election of directors by members or delegates on the basis of chapter or other organizational unit; by region or other geographic unit; by preferential voting; or by any other reasonable method.
181.0726 History History: 1997 a. 79.
181.0727 181.0727 Acceptance of instruments showing member action.
181.0727(1)(1) When name corresponds to member. If the name signed on a vote, consent, waiver, or proxy appointment corresponds to the name of a member, the corporation if acting in good faith is entitled to accept the vote, consent, waiver, or proxy appointment and give it effect as the act of the member.
181.0727(2) (2)When name does not correspond to member. If the name signed on a vote, consent, waiver, or proxy appointment does not correspond to the record name of a member, the corporation if acting in good faith is nevertheless entitled to accept the vote, consent, waiver, or proxy appointment and give it effect as the act of the member if any of the following conditions exists:
181.0727(2)(a) (a) The member is an entity and the name signed purports to be that of an officer or agent of the entity.
181.0727(2)(b) (b) The name signed purports to be that of an attorney-in-fact of the member and if the corporation requests, evidence acceptable to the corporation of the signatory's authority to sign for the member has been presented with respect to the vote, consent, waiver, or proxy appointment.
181.0727(2)(c) (c) Two or more persons hold the membership as cotenants or fiduciaries and the name signed purports to be the name of at least one of the coholders and the person signing appears to be acting on behalf of all of the coholders.
181.0727(3) (3)When corporation is entitled to reject. The corporation is entitled to reject a vote, consent, waiver, or proxy appointment if the secretary or other officer or agent authorized to tabulate votes, acting in good faith, has reasonable basis for doubt about the validity of the signature on it or about the signatory's authority to sign for the member.
181.0727(4) (4)Liability. The corporation and its officer or agent who accepts or rejects a vote, consent, waiver, or proxy appointment in good faith and in accordance with the standards of this section are not liable in damages to the member for the consequences of the acceptance or rejection.
181.0727(5) (5)Validity of action. Corporate action based on the acceptance or rejection of a vote, consent, waiver, or proxy appointment under this section is valid unless a court of competent jurisdiction determines otherwise.
181.0727 History History: 1997 a. 79.
181.0730 181.0730 Voting agreements.
181.0730(1)(1) Permissible agreements. Unless prohibited by a corporation's articles of incorporation or bylaws, two or more members may provide for the manner in which they will vote by signing an agreement for that purpose.
181.0730(2) (2)Enforceability. A voting agreement created under this section is specifically enforceable.
181.0730 History History: 1997 a. 79.
181.0735 181.0735 Voting power. Voting power is determined by taking the total number of votes entitled to be cast for the election of directors at the time the determination of voting power is made, excluding a vote which is contingent upon the happening of a condition or event that has not occurred at the time. Where a class is entitled to vote as a class for directors, the determination of voting power of the class shall be based on the percentage of the number of directors the class is entitled to elect out of the total number of authorized directors.
181.0735 History History: 1997 a. 79.
181.0740 181.0740 Derivative proceedings; definition. In ss. 181.0740 to 181.0747, "derivative proceeding" means a civil suit in the right of a corporation or, to the extent provided in ss. 181.0741, 181.0743 and 181.0745 to 181.0747, in the right of a foreign corporation.
181.0740 History History: 1997 a. 79.
181.0741 181.0741 Derivative proceedings; standing. A derivative proceeding may be brought in the right of a corporation or foreign corporation to procure a judgment in its favor by one or more members having 5% or more of the voting power or by 50 members, whichever is less, if each of these members meets all of the following conditions:
181.0741(1) (1)Membership. The member was a member of the corporation at the time of the act or omission complained of or became a member through transfer by operation of law from a person who was a member at that time.
181.0741(2) (2)Representing corporation's interests. The member fairly and adequately represents the interests of the corporation in enforcing the right of the corporation.
181.0741 History History: 1997 a. 79.
181.0741 Annotation The purpose of the derivative action statute is to allow members, under certain conditions, to bring a claim they could not otherwise bring at all because the cause of action belongs to the association and not to them. Neither the statute nor the case law suggests an intent to limit the right a member has to bring a cause of action that belongs to him or her as an individual. Ewer v. Lake Arrowhead Association, Inc. 2012 WI App 64, 342 Wis. 2d 194, 817 N.W.2d 465, 11-0113.
181.0742 181.0742 Derivative proceedings; demand. No member may commence a derivative proceeding until all of the following occur:
181.0742(1) (1)Written demand. A written demand is made upon the corporation to take suitable action.
181.0742(2) (2)Expiration of 90-day period. Ninety days expire from the date on which a demand under sub. (1) was made, unless the member is notified before the expiration of the 90 days that the corporation has rejected the demand or unless irreparable injury to the corporation would result by waiting for the expiration of the 90-day period.
181.0742 History History: 1997 a. 79.
181.0743 181.0743 Derivative proceedings; stay of proceedings. If the corporation or foreign corporation commences an inquiry into the allegations made in the demand under s. 181.0742 (1) or in the complaint, the court may stay any derivative proceeding for the period that the court considers appropriate.
181.0743 History History: 1997 a. 79.
181.0744 181.0744 Derivative proceedings; dismissal.
181.0744(1)(1) When dismissal required. The court shall dismiss a derivative proceeding on motion by the corporation if the court finds, subject to the burden of proof assigned under sub. (5) or (6), that one of the groups specified in sub. (2) or (6) has determined, acting in good faith after conducting a reasonable inquiry upon which its conclusions are based, that maintenance of the derivative proceeding is not in the best interests of the corporation.
181.0744(2) (2)Independent director determination. Unless a panel is appointed under sub. (6), the determination in sub. (1) shall be made by any of the following:
181.0744(2)(a) (a) A majority vote of independent directors present at a meeting of the board of directors if the independent directors constitute a quorum.
181.0744(2)(b) (b) A majority vote of a committee consisting of 2 or more independent directors appointed by a majority vote of the independent directors present at a meeting of the board of directors, whether or not the voting independent directors constitute a quorum.
181.0744(3) (3)Who is considered an independent director. Whether a director is independent for purposes of this section may not be determined solely on the basis of any one or more of the following factors:
181.0744(3)(a) (a) The nomination or election of the director by persons who are defendants in the derivative proceeding or against whom action is demanded.
181.0744(3)(b) (b) The naming of the director as a defendant in the derivative proceeding or as a person against whom action is demanded.
181.0744(3)(c) (c) The approval by the director of the act being challenged in the derivative proceeding or demand if the act resulted in no personal benefit to the director.
181.0744(4) (4)Pleadings when demand rejected. If a derivative proceeding is commenced after a determination was made rejecting a demand by a member, the complaint shall allege with particularity facts establishing any of the following:
181.0744(4)(a) (a) That a majority of the board of directors did not consist of independent directors at the time that the determination was made.
181.0744(4)(b) (b) That the requirements of sub. (1) have not been met.
181.0744(5) (5)Burden of proof. If a majority of the board of directors did not consist of independent directors at the time that the determination rejecting a demand was made, the corporation shall have the burden of proving that the requirements of sub. (1) have been met. If a majority of the board of directors consisted of independent directors at the time that the determination was made, the members shall have the burden of proving that the requirements of sub. (1) have not been met.
181.0744(6) (6)Court-appointed panel. Upon motion by the corporation, the court may appoint a panel of one or more independent persons to determine whether maintenance of the derivative proceeding is in the best interests of the corporation. If a panel is appointed under this subsection, the members shall have the burden of proving that the requirements of sub. (1) have not been met.
181.0744 History History: 1997 a. 79.
181.0745 181.0745 Derivative proceedings; discontinuance or settlement. A derivative proceeding may not be discontinued or settled without the court's approval.
181.0745 History History: 1997 a. 79.
181.0746 181.0746 Derivative proceedings; payment of expenses.
181.0746(1)(1) Authority of court. On termination of the derivative proceeding, the court may do any of the following:
181.0746(1)(a) (a) Notwithstanding s. 814.04 (1), order the domestic corporation or foreign corporation to pay the plaintiff's reasonable expenses, including attorney fees, incurred in the derivative proceeding by the members who commenced or maintained the derivative proceeding if the court finds that the derivative proceeding has resulted in a substantial benefit to the domestic corporation or foreign corporation.
181.0746(1)(b) (b) Order the members who commenced or maintained the derivative proceeding to pay any defendant's reasonable expenses, including attorney fees, notwithstanding s. 814.04 (1), incurred in defending the derivative proceeding if the court finds that the derivative proceeding was commenced or maintained without reasonable cause or for an improper purpose.
181.0746(2) (2)Security for expenses. In any action brought in the right of any corporation by fewer than 3% of the members, the defendants shall be entitled, upon application to the court, to require the plaintiffs to give security for the reasonable expenses, including attorney fees. The amount of the security may be increased or decreased by the court having jurisdiction over the action upon a showing that the security has or may become inadequate or excessive.
181.0746 History History: 1997 a. 79.
181.0747 181.0747 Derivative proceedings; applicability.
181.0747(1) (1) To foreign corporations. In any derivative proceeding in the right of a foreign corporation, the matters covered by ss. 181.0741, 181.0742 and 181.0744 shall be governed by the laws of the jurisdiction of incorporation of the foreign corporation.
181.0747(2) (2)To corporations without members. Unless the articles of incorporation or bylaws provided otherwise at the time of the act or omission complained of, ss. 181.0741 to 181.0746 apply to corporations without members, except that all references to "member" shall be read as "director".
181.0747 History History: 1997 a. 79.
subch. VIII of ch. 181 SUBCHAPTER VIII
DIRECTORS AND OFFICERS
181.0801 181.0801 Requirement for and duties of board.
181.0801(1)(1) Board required. A corporation shall have a board.
181.0801(2) (2)Powers of board. Except as provided in this chapter or sub. (3), all corporate powers shall be exercised by or under the authority of, and the affairs of the corporation managed under the direction of, its board.
181.0801(3) (3)Delegation.
181.0801(3)(a)(a) The articles of incorporation or bylaws approved by the members, if any, may authorize a person to exercise some or all of the powers which would otherwise be exercised by a board. To the extent so authorized such a person shall have the duties and responsibilities of the board, and the directors shall be relieved to that extent from such duties and responsibilities.
181.0801(3)(b) (b) A person is not a member of the board solely because of powers delegated to that person under par. (a).
181.0801 History History: 1997 a. 79.
181.0802 181.0802 Qualifications of directors. A director shall be an individual. The articles of incorporation or bylaws may prescribe other qualifications for directors. A director need not be a resident of this state or a member of the corporation unless the articles of incorporation or bylaws so prescribe.
181.0802 History History: 1997 a. 79.
181.0803 181.0803 Number of directors.
181.0803(1) (1) Minimum number. A board shall consist of 3 or more individuals, with the number specified in or fixed in accordance with the articles of incorporation or bylaws.
181.0803(2) (2)Changes in board size. The number of directors may be increased or, subject to sub. (1), decreased from time to time by amendment to, or in the manner provided in, the articles of incorporation or bylaws.
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2011-12 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2013 Wis. Act 380 and all Supreme Court Orders entered before Dec. 13, 2014. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after Dec. 13, 2014 are designated by NOTES. (Published 12-13-14)