Justia Non-Profit Corporations Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Business Law
Washington v. TVI, Inc.
The State of Washington brought multiple claims alleging that TVI Inc., doing business as Value Village, used deceptive advertising and marketing in violation of the Washington Consumer Protection Act (CPA), ch. 19.86 RCW. TVI operated about 20 for-profit thrift stores in Washington under the name Value Village. Approximately 93 percent of Value Village’s retail inventory consisted of used goods donated by the community. To source these community donations, TVI contracted with third-party nonprofit organizations, which TVI called its “‘charity partners.’” By working with charity partners, TVI obtained inventory at a lower price than it would pay a for-profit supplier. The charity partners, in turn, received a predictable source of unrestricted funding, as well as publicity from TVI’s marketing. In 2013, the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s (AG’s) Office received a complaint from a Washington resident that TVI’s marketing gives the false impression that Value Village is a nonprofit. The AG wrote to TVI in November 2014, instructing it to register as a commercial fundraiser pursuant to the CSA. The AG’s November 2014 letter raised additional concerns that TVI’s “solicitations for charitable contributions and advertisements for its retail stores” were “misleading or deceptive” in violation of the CPA. By the summer of 2015, TVI had posted signs in its stores disclosing its status as a for-profit commercial fundraiser in its stores. Following three years of investigation, the State filed this lawsuit. TVI argued the State's claims infringed on its First Amendment right to solicit charitable contributions on behalf of nonprofit organizations. The Supreme Court agreed with TVI, and remanded this case to the trial court for dismissal of the State’s claims. View "Washington v. TVI, Inc." on Justia Law
GeorgiaCarry.org, Inc. et al. v. Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Inc.
The Atlanta Botanical Garden, Inc. (the “Garden”) leased land from the City of Atlanta. The Garden wished to enforce a policy precluding the possession of firearms by visitors to, and guests of, the Garden, like Phillip Evans. Evans held a valid weapons carry license under Georgia law and asserted that he was authorized to carry a firearm at the garden under the authority of OCGA 16-11-127 (c). The Garden contended it could enforce its policy based on an exception to the general rule found in the same statutory paragraph. The Georgia Supreme Court granted certiorari to consider whether OCGA 16-11-127 (c) permitted a private organization that leased property owned by a municipality to prohibit the carrying of firearms on the leased premises. The Court of Appeals determined that it did and affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the Garden on the petition for declaratory and injunctive relief filed by GeorgiaCarry.Org, Inc. The Georgia Supreme Court determined this case turned on whether the Garden was indeed private property. Because no lease was entered into the trial court record, judgment was reversed for further proceedings at the trial court. View "GeorgiaCarry.org, Inc. et al. v. Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Inc." on Justia Law
DePaula v. Easter Seals El Mirador
The Tenth Circuit affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of an employer whose employee sued for discrimination. The employer showed at trial that it fired the employee due to financial issues and the employee's performance issues. The employee could not rebut these reasons or otherwise show they were pretextual. View "DePaula v. Easter Seals El Mirador" on Justia Law
Southam v. S. Despain Ditch Co.
James Garside acquired shares in South Despain Ditch Company in contravention of corporate restrictions on transferability of South Despain shares. After the sale, South Despain refused to issue certificates in Garside’s name and recognize him as a shareholder, claiming that the sale violated the transfer restrictions and was therefore was void. Garside filed suit, challenging the enforceability of the restrictions and asserting that their enforcement put South Despain in breach of its obligations in contract, fiduciary duty and the Utah Nonprofit Corporation Act. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of South Despain. Garside died during litigation, and Paul Southam proceeded on appeal. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the restrictions on the transfer of South Despain shares were enforceable, and thus, Southam acquired no viable rights as a shareholder. Absent a shareholder interest in the corporation, Southam lacked standing to pursue any of his claims. View "Southam v. S. Despain Ditch Co." on Justia Law
State ex rel. Bell v. Brooks
Appellant Greg Bell requested that County Risk Sharing Authority (CORSA), a joint self-insurance pool whose members included the majority of Ohio's counties, provide him with certain CORSA records pursuant to Ohio Rev. Code 149.43 and Ohio Rev. Code 149.431. David Brooks, the managing director of property and casualty insurance for CORSA, refused to provide copies of the records, asserting that they were not public records and that CORSA was a private corporation and not a public office subject to section 149.43. Bell filed for writs of mandamus to compel Brooks to provide copies of the requested CORSA records. The court of appeals denied the requested writs. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals insofar as it denied the writs relating to Bell's claim for CORSA's board meeting minutes on grounds that CORSA was not the functional equivalent of a public office for purposes of section 149.43, but (2) reversed to the extent that the court of appeals failed to consider Bell's records requests for CORSA's financial and compensation records as CORSA's status as a private, nonprofit corporation was not dispositive in regard to these claims. Remanded. View "State ex rel. Bell v. Brooks" on Justia Law