Justia Non-Profit Corporations Opinion Summaries

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The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held that the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) is subject to the Right to Know Law’s record-disclosure mandates. The PIAA is a non-profit corporation and voluntary-member organization which organizes interscholastic athletics and promotes uniform standards in interscholastic sports. In 2020, Simon Campbell, a private citizen, filed a records request under the Right to Know Law seeking eight categories of records from the PIAA. The PIAA objected, asserting it is not a Commonwealth authority or entity subject to the Right to Know Law, and noted its intent to litigate the issue. The court found that the inclusion of PIAA in the definition of a state-affiliated entity, a subset of the definition of a Commonwealth agency, indicates that the General Assembly intended to subject PIAA to the Right to Know Law's record-disclosure scheme. Furthermore, the court found that the General Assembly did not mean the phrase "Commonwealth entity" to be strictly limited to official government agencies. Instead, the Assembly intended the phrase to include organizations that perform some role associated with statewide governance. View "Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, Inc. v. Campbell" on Justia Law

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The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reviewed a case involving the Cenikor Foundation, a nonprofit drug rehabilitation center. The foundation had been sued by a group of its rehabilitation patients for alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The patients contended that they were effectively employees of the foundation, as they were required to work as part of their treatment program without receiving monetary compensation. The foundation contested the lawsuit and appealed a district court's decision to certify the case as a collective action under the FLSA.The Court of Appeals found that the district court had applied the incorrect legal standard in determining whether the patients were employees under the FLSA. Specifically, the court should have applied a test to determine who was the primary beneficiary of the work relationship, rather than a test typically used to distinguish employees from independent contractors.The appellate court remanded the case back to the district court to apply this primary beneficiary test and to consider the foundation's defense that any benefits provided to the patients offset any requirement to pay them a wage. The court emphasized that the question of whether the foundation's patients were employees under the FLSA was a threshold issue that needed to be resolved before the case could proceed as a collective action. View "Klick v. Cenikor Foundation" on Justia Law

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In the State of Delaware, a lawsuit was brought by two non-profit organizations against multiple public officials, including tax collectors in Delaware's three counties. The organizations sought increased funding for Delaware’s public schools. The Court of Chancery held that the organizations were entitled to attorneys’ fees and expenses. On appeal, the Supreme Court of Delaware held that the Court of Chancery erred in its application of the "common benefit doctrine" and its expansion of a precedent case, Korn v. New Castle County, beyond taxpayer suits. The Supreme Court affirmed the Chancery Court's award of expenses, but reversed the award of attorneys' fees. The Supreme Court held that the litigation brought by the organizations was to compel the defendant county governments to comply with the law, a benefit that did not warrant an exception to the "American Rule" which states that each party bears its own attorneys' fees, absent certain exceptions. The Court also held that, even if this case were a taxpayer suit, it does not meet the standard set forth in Korn because there was not a quantifiable, non-speculative monetary benefit for all taxpayers. View "In re Delaware Public Schools Litigation" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court of the State of Washington found that the initiation fees charged by Royal Oaks Country Club, a nonprofit corporation, are fully deductible from the business and occupation (B&O) tax under RCW 82.04.4282. The statute permits taxpayers to deduct "bona fide" initiation fees, among other things, from their B&O tax. The court held that these initiation fees were "bona fide" as they were paid solely for the privilege of membership, and did not automatically entitle a member to use any service or facility of the club. The court differentiated between dues and initiation fees, noting that the statute treats these two terms separately. The court rejected the Washington Department of Revenue's argument that a portion of the initiation fee was for access to facilities and thus not subject to the exemption, stating that there is a difference between access and use. The court affirmed the Court of Appeals' decision that Royal Oaks' initiation fees qualify as bona fide initiation fees and are therefore wholly deductible. View "Royal Oaks Country Club v. Dep't of Revenue" on Justia Law

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In a case before the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, private citizens and a non-profit organization sued High Mountain Mining Company for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act. The plaintiffs claimed that High Mountain Mining, which operates a gold mine in Colorado, allowed pollutants from its settling ponds to seep into the groundwater, which then migrated into a nearby river. Under the Clean Water Act, a permit is required for any discharge of pollutants from a point source into navigable waters. The district court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, finding that the settling ponds were a point source and that the operation of these ponds constituted an unpermitted discharge of pollutants into navigable waters, thus violating the Clean Water Act. On appeal, the Tenth Circuit disagreed and reversed the district court's decision. The appellate court held that the district court made a legal error by not adequately considering all the relevant factors to determine whether the connection between the point source and the navigable water was the functional equivalent of a direct discharge. Given the potentially broad implications of the Clean Water Act for mines throughout the Western United States, the appellate court remanded the case back to the district court for further proceedings. View "Stone v. High Mountain Mining Company" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court of Missouri reversed the circuit court's ruling and held that the Truly Agreed and Finally Passed House Bill 1606 (2022) (“TAFP HB 1606”) violated the single subject requirement of article III, section 23 of the Missouri Constitution. The bill was initially proposed to reduce the amount of information certain counties had to publish in their financial statements. However, the bill underwent several modifications, including the addition of section 67.2300, which imposed restrictions on the expenditure of state funds for combating homelessness and made unauthorized sleeping and camping on state-owned lands a class C misdemeanor. The appellants, including a group of individuals and a non-profit organization, argued that the addition of section 67.2300 altered the bill's original purpose, introduced a second subject to the bill, and rendered the bill's title unclear, thereby violating the single subject, clear title, and original purpose requirements of the Missouri Constitution. The court agreed, finding that the provisions of section 67.2300 did not fairly relate to or have a natural connection with the bill's general subject of "political subdivisions," but rather related to the completely different subject of homelessness. Consequently, the court declared TAFP HB 1606 invalid in its entirety. View "Byrd v. State of Missouri" on Justia Law

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In the state of Kansas, a number of non-profit groups, including the League of Women Voters of Kansas and the Kansas Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, challenged a law which made it a felony to engage in conduct that gives the appearance of being an election official or that would cause another person to believe a person is an election official. The non-profits argued that the law was overbroad and unconstitutionally vague, as it could criminalize their voter education and registration activities. They also claimed that the law violated their rights to free speech and association. The district court denied their request for a temporary injunction and the Court of Appeals dismissed the non-profits' claims for lack of standing, arguing that they were not at risk of prosecution under the statute. The Supreme Court of the State of Kansas reversed these decisions, finding that the non-profits did have standing to challenge the law. The Court held that when a law criminalizes speech and does not clearly demonstrate that only constitutionally unprotected speech is being criminalized, the law is unclear enough to confer pre-enforcement standing on a plaintiff challenging the law. The Supreme Court of the State of Kansas vacated the Court of Appeals' decision and remanded the case to the Court of Appeals for further proceedings. View "League of Women Voters of Kansas v. Schwab" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was the distribution of charitable donations received by the International Rescue Committee (“IRC) to aid four refugee families and others in the refugee community who were victims of a mass stabbing incident in Boise, Idaho, in 2018. Mustafa Mohammed and Ekhlas Al Khudhur (“Appellants”) challenged a magistrate court’s order approving the final distribution of funds as proposed by IRC. IRC calculated the final distribution of donated funds to the families using a formula of its own creation based on methodology and principles developed by Kenneth Feinberg, an expert on compensation fund valuation and distribution following high-profile, mass tragedies. The district court, acting in its intermediate appellate capacity, affirmed the magistrate court’s order, which held that a trust had been created and that the proposed distribution method for the donated funds was within IRC’s discretion as trustee. On appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court, Appellants argued the district court erred in affirming the magistrate court's decision by: (1) determining there had been a trust created; (2) concluding that IRC’s final distribution was reasonable or within IRC’s discretion; and (3) prohibiting Appellants from presenting evidence of their respective injuries from the attack. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "International Rescue Committee v. Mohammed" on Justia Law

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After shooting his ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend, Defendant was convicted by a jury of the following: two counts of premeditated attempted murder; two counts of assault with a deadly weapon; one count of inflicting corporal injury on a prior dating partner; and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The jury also found true multiple enhancement allegations under section 12022.53. The trial court imposed the following sentence: two consecutive indeterminate terms of seven years to life for the premeditated attempted murder convictions (counts 1 & 4), plus two additional terms of 25 years to life for the respectively attached firearm enhancements under section 12022.53(d). All other enhancements attached to counts 1 and 4 were stayed under section 654. On appeal, Defendant argued the sentence should be vacated and remanded for resentencing under People v. Tirado (2022) 12 Cal.5th 688 (Tirado).     The Fifth Appellate District affirmed the trial court’s judgment but vacated Defendant’s sentence. The court remanded the case to the trial court for a resentencing hearing where further evidence and argument may be received regarding the sentence to be imposed. The court held that the trial court, in this case, made its sentencing decision in the absence of the new presumption against exceeding the middle term, and the record does not clearly indicate that the court would have imposed upper-term sentences had it been aware of the new constraint on its discretion. The court held that Gutierrez is binding and the appropriate remedy is to remand for the sentencing court to exercise its newly informed and circumscribed discretion in the first instance. View "P. v. Falcon" on Justia Law

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“Breathe” was previously known as the American Lung Association of Los Angeles County, affiliated with the national organization, ALA, and the American Lung Association in California (ALAC). Breathe’s predecessor entered into annual agreements with ALAC and the ALA that provided for “income sharing” between Breathe and ALAC, except for “funds restricted in writing by the donor, not later than the date of donation, to exclude or limit sharing, such restriction not having been invited by the donee association.” ALA sued ALAC and its affiliates, including Breathe, for trademark infringement and related causes of action. Under a 2006 Consent Judgment, Breathe disaffiliated from the ALA and ALAC and was renamed. The parties agreed to a process for settling their outstanding accounts.In 2015, ALAC moved to enforce the Consent Judgment by compelling Breathe to share three bequests that were created but not distributed before the Consent Judgment. The trial court ruled in favor of the ALA, concluding the restricted funds exception of the Affiliate Agreement was ambiguous and that the bequests were shareable. The court of appeal reversed. The plain language of the bequests indicates the testators' intentions to benefit only the organization now known as Breathe. Sharing the bequests with the ALA is incompatible with those intentions and is not required under the Affiliate Agreement. View "Breathe Southern California v. American Lung Association" on Justia Law