DESCRIPTION OF REGISTRANT’S SECURITIES
REGISTERED PURSUANT TO SECTION 12 OF THE
SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
The following is a description of Griffin-American Healthcare REIT III, Inc.’s securities registered under Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), as of December 31, 2019 and certain provisions of the Maryland General Corporation Law (the “MGCL”), and our charter and bylaws. The description is a summary, does not purport to be complete and is subject to and qualified by reference to Maryland law and to our charter and bylaws, copies of which are filed as exhibits to our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019 and are incorporated by reference herein.
As used herein, the terms “Company,” “we,” “our” and “us” refer to Griffin-American Healthcare REIT III, Inc., a Maryland corporation.
Under our charter, we have authority to issue a total of 1,200,000,000 shares of capital stock. Of the total shares of stock authorized, 1,000,000,000 shares are classified as common stock with a par value of $0.01 per share and 200,000,000 shares are classified as preferred stock with a par value of $0.01 per share. In addition, our board of directors may amend our charter from time to time, without stockholder approval, to increase or decrease the aggregate number of shares of stock or the number of shares of stock of any class or series that we have authority to issue.
Subject to the restrictions on ownership and transfer of stock set forth in our charter and except as may otherwise be specified in the terms of the common stock, the holders of common stock are entitled to one vote per share on all matters voted on by stockholders, including election of our directors. Our charter does not provide for cumulative voting in the election of our directors. Therefore, the holders of a majority of the outstanding shares of our common stock can elect our entire board of directors. Subject to any preferential rights of any outstanding class or series of shares of stock and to the provisions in our charter regarding the restrictions on the ownership and transfer of stock, the holders of common stock are entitled to such distributions as may be authorized from time to time by our board of directors and declared by us out of legally available funds and, upon liquidation, are entitled to receive all assets available for distribution to our stockholders. Holders of common stock do not have preemptive rights, which means that holders of common stock will not have an automatic option to purchase any new shares of stock that we issue. The shares of our common stock will have equal distribution, liquidation and other rights.
Our charter also contains a provision permitting our board of directors, without any action by our stockholders, to classify or reclassify any unissued common stock into one or more classes or series by setting or changing the preferences, conversion or other rights, voting powers, restrictions, limitations as to dividends and other distributions, qualifications and terms or conditions of repurchase of any new class or series of shares of stock.
DST Systems, Inc. acts as our registrar and as the transfer agent for our shares.
Our charter authorizes our board of directors to designate and issue one or more classes or series of preferred stock without stockholder approval, and to establish the preferences, conversion or other rights, voting powers, restrictions, limitations as to dividends and other distributions, qualifications and terms or conditions of redemption of each class or series of preferred stock so issued.
However, the voting rights per share of any series or class of preferred stock sold in a private offering may not exceed voting rights which bear the same relationship to the voting rights of a publicly held share as the consideration paid to us for each privately-held preferred share bears to the book value of each outstanding publicly held share. In addition, a majority of our independent directors not otherwise interested in the transaction, who will have access at our expense to our legal counsel or to independent legal counsel, must approve the issuance of preferred stock.
Meetings and Special Voting Requirements
An annual meeting of the stockholders will be held each year, upon reasonable notice to our stockholders, but no sooner than 30 days after delivery of our annual report to stockholders. Special meetings of stockholders may be called only upon the request of a majority of our directors, a majority of our independent directors or our chief executive officer, president or chairman of the board of directors and must be called by our secretary to act on any matter that may properly be considered at a
meeting of stockholders upon the written request of stockholders entitled to cast at least 10.0% of the votes entitled to be cast on such matter at the meeting. Within 10 days after receipt of such written request for a special meeting, stating the purpose of the meeting, either in person or by mail, our secretary shall provide all stockholders with written notice, either in person or by mail, of such meeting and the purpose of such meeting. Such special meeting shall be held not less than 15 days nor more than 60 days after the secretary’s distribution of such notice, at the time and place specified in the stockholder request for the special meeting; provided, however, that if none is so specified, such special meeting shall be held at a time and place convenient to the stockholders. The presence either in person or by proxy of stockholders entitled to cast at least 50.0% of all the votes entitled to be cast on such matter at the meeting on any matter will constitute a quorum. Generally, the affirmative vote of a majority of all votes cast is necessary to take stockholder action, except as described in the next paragraph and except that a majority of the votes represented in person or by proxy at a meeting at which a quorum is present is required to elect a director.
Under the MGCL and our charter, stockholders generally are entitled to vote at a duly held meeting at which a quorum is present on (1) amendments to our charter, (2) our liquidation and dissolution, (3) a merger, consolidation, conversion, statutory share exchange or sale or other disposition of all or substantially all of our assets, and (4) election or removal of our directors. Except with respect to the election of directors or as otherwise provided in our charter, the vote of stockholders holding a majority of the outstanding shares of our stock entitled to vote is required to approve any such action, and no such action can be taken by our board of directors without such majority vote of our stockholders. Stockholders are not entitled to exercise any of the rights of an objecting stockholder provided for in Title 3, Subtitle 2 of the MGCL unless our board of directors determines that such rights apply, with respect to all or any classes or series of stock, to one or more transactions occurring after the date of the determination in connection with which stockholders would otherwise be entitled to exercise such rights. Stockholders do have the power, without the concurrence of the directors, to remove a director from our board of directors with or without cause, by the affirmative vote of a majority of the shares of stock entitled to vote generally in the election of directors.
Stockholders are entitled to receive a copy of our stockholder list upon request. The list provided by us will include each stockholder’s name, address and telephone number and number of shares of stock owned by each stockholder and will be sent within 10 days of our receipt of the request. The stockholder list shall be maintained as part of our books and records and shall be available for inspection by any stockholder or the stockholder’s designated agent at our corporate offices upon the request of a stockholder. The stockholder list will be updated at least quarterly to reflect changes in the information contained therein. The copy of the stockholder list will be printed in alphabetical order, on white paper, and in a readily readable type size (in no event smaller than ten-point type). A stockholder requesting a list will be required to pay reasonable costs of postage and duplication. The purposes for which a stockholder may request a copy of the stockholder list include, but are not limited to, matters relating to stockholders’ voting rights and the exercise of stockholder rights under federal proxy laws. If our advisor or our board of directors neglects or refuses to exhibit, produce or mail a copy of our stockholder list as requested, our advisor and/or our board of directors, as the case may be, shall be liable to any stockholder requesting our stockholder list for the costs, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, incurred by that stockholder for compelling the production of our stockholder list, and for actual damages suffered by any such stockholder by reason of such refusal or neglect. It shall be a defense that the actual purpose and reason for the requests for inspection or for a copy of our stockholder list is to secure such list or other information for the purpose of selling our stockholder list or copies thereof, or of using the same for a commercial purpose other than in the interest of the applicant as a stockholder relative to our affairs. We have the right to request that a requesting stockholder represent to us that the list will not be used to pursue commercial interests unrelated to such stockholder’s interest in us.
Furthermore, pursuant to our charter, any stockholder and any designated representative thereof shall be permitted access to our corporate records to which such stockholder is entitled under applicable law at all reasonable times, and may inspect and copy any of them for a reasonable charge. Under Maryland law, stockholders are entitled to inspect and copy only our bylaws, minutes of stockholder proceedings, annual statements of affairs, voting trust agreements and statements of stock and securities issued by us during the period specified by the requesting stockholder, which period may not be longer than 12 months prior to the date of the stockholder’s request. Because the above list describes all of the corporate records that our stockholders are entitled to inspect and copy under Maryland law, our stockholders are not entitled to inspect and copy the minutes of the meetings of our board of directors, which are records that certain states other than Maryland allow corporate stockholders to inspect and copy. Requests to inspect and/or copy our corporate records must be made in writing to: Griffin-American Healthcare REIT III, Inc., 18191 Von Karman Avenue, Suite 300, Irvine, California 92612.
Restrictions on Ownership and Transfer
In order for us to maintain our qualification as a real estate investment trust (“REIT”) under the federal tax laws, we must meet several requirements concerning the ownership of our outstanding capital stock. Specifically, no more than 50.0% in value of our outstanding capital stock may be owned, directly or indirectly, by five or fewer individuals, as defined in the federal income tax laws to include specified private foundations, employee benefit plans and trusts, and charitable trusts, during the last half of any taxable year beginning with the second taxable year in which we qualified as a REIT. In addition, the outstanding shares of stock must be owned by 100 or more persons during at least 335 days of a 12-month taxable year or
during a proportionate part of a shorter taxable year beginning with the second taxable year in which we qualified as a REIT. We may prohibit certain acquisitions and transfers of shares of our stock so as to ensure our qualification as a REIT under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Internal Revenue Code”). However, we cannot assure you that this prohibition will be effective.
Our charter contains a limitation on ownership that prohibits any individual or entity from directly acquiring beneficial ownership of more than 9.9% in value of our then outstanding shares of capital stock (which includes common stock and any preferred stock we may issue) or more than 9.9% in value or number, whichever is more restrictive, of our then outstanding shares of common stock.
Any attempted transfer of our stock which, if effective, would result in our stock being beneficially owned by fewer than 100 persons will be null and void and the proposed transferee will acquire no rights in such stock. Any attempted transfer of our stock which, if effective, would result in violation of the ownership limits discussed above or in our being “closely held” under Section 856(h) of the Internal Revenue Code or otherwise failing to maintain our qualification as a REIT, will cause the number of shares of our stock causing the violation (rounded up to the nearest whole share) to be automatically transferred to a trust for the exclusive benefit of one or more charitable beneficiaries, and the proposed transferee will not acquire any rights in the shares of our stock. If the transfer to the trust would not be effective for any reason to prevent any of the foregoing, the transfer of that number of shares that otherwise would cause a person to violate any of the restrictions described above will be null and void and the proposed transferee will acquire no rights in such shares of our stock. The automatic transfer will be deemed to be effective as of the close of business on the business day prior to the date of the transfer. We will designate a trustee of the trust that will not be affiliated with us. We will also name one or more charitable organizations as a beneficiary of the trust. Shares-in-trust will remain issued and outstanding shares of stock and will be entitled to the same rights and privileges as all other shares of the same class or series of stock. The trustee will receive all distributions on the shares-in-trust and will hold such distributions in trust for the benefit of the beneficiary. The trustee will vote all shares-in-trust during the period they are held in trust and, subject to Maryland law, will have the authority (i) to rescind as void any vote cast by the proposed transferee prior to our discovery that the shares have been transferred to the trust and (ii) to recast the vote in accordance with the desires of the trustee acting for the benefit of the charitable beneficiary. However, if we have already taken irreversible corporate action, then the trustee will not have the authority to rescind and recast the vote.
Within 20 days of receiving notice from us that shares have been transferred to the trust, the trustee of the trust shall sell the shares-in-trust to a qualified person selected by the trustee and to distribute to the applicable prohibited owner an amount equal to the lesser of (1) the sales proceeds received by the trust for such shares-in-trust or (2) (A) if the prohibited owner was a transferee for value, the price paid by the prohibited owner for such shares-in-trust or (B) if the prohibited owner was not a transferee or was a transferee but did not give value for the shares-in-trust, the fair market value of such shares-in-trust on the day of the event causing the shares to be held in trust. The trustee may reduce the amount payable to the prohibited owner by the amount of dividends and other distributions which have been paid to the prohibited owner and are owed by the prohibited owner to the trustee. Any amount received by the trustee in excess of the amount to be paid to the prohibited owner will be distributed to the beneficiary of the trust.
If, prior to our discovery that shares have been transferred to the trustee, such shares are sold by the prohibited owner, then such shares will be deemed to have been sold on behalf of the trust and, to the extent that the prohibited owner received an amount for such shares that exceeds the amount that the prohibited owner was entitled to receive, such excess must be paid to the trustee upon demand. In addition, all shares-in-trust will be deemed to have been offered for sale to us or our designee, at a price per share equal to the lesser of (1) the price per share in the transaction that created such shares-in-trust (or, in the case of devise, gift, or other event other than a transfer for value, the market price of such shares of stock at the time of such devise, gift, or other event) and (2) the market price on the date we, or our designee, accepts such offer. We will have the right to accept the offer until the trustee has sold the shares. Upon a sale to us, the interest of the charitable beneficiary in the shares sold will terminate and the trustee will distribute the net proceeds of the sale to the prohibited owner. We may reduce the amount payable to the prohibited owner by the amount of dividends and other distributions which have been paid to the prohibited owner and are owed by the prohibited owner to the trustee. We may pay the amount of such reduction to the trustee for the benefit of the charitable beneficiary.
Any person who acquires or attempts or intends to acquire shares of our stock in violation of the foregoing restriction or who owns shares of our stock that were transferred to any such trust is required to give immediate written notice to us of such event or, in the case of a proposed or attempted transaction, at least 15 days’ prior written notice. Such person shall provide to us such other information as we may request in order to determine the effect, if any, of such transfer on our status as a REIT.
The foregoing restrictions continue to apply until our board of directors determines it is no longer in our best interest to continue to qualify as a REIT or that compliance with the foregoing restrictions is no longer required for REIT qualification.
Our board of directors, in its sole discretion, may exempt a person (prospectively or retroactively) from the limitation on ownership of more than 9.9% in value of our then outstanding shares of capital stock (which includes common stock and any preferred stock we may issue) or more than 9.9% in value or number, whichever is more restrictive, of our then outstanding shares of common stock. However, the board of directors may not exempt any person whose ownership of our outstanding stock would result in our being “closely held” within the meaning of Section 856(h) of the Internal Revenue Code or otherwise would result in our failure to maintain our qualification as a REIT. In order to be considered by our board of directors for exemption, a person also must not own, directly or indirectly, an interest in our tenant (or a tenant of any entity which we own or control) that would cause us to own, directly or indirectly, more than a 9.9% interest in the tenant. The person seeking an exemption must represent to the satisfaction of our board of directors that it will not violate these two restrictions. The person also must agree that any violation or attempted violation of these restrictions will result in the automatic transfer of the shares of stock causing the violation to the trust.
Any stockholder of record who owns more than 5.0% (or such lower level as required by the Internal Revenue Code and the regulations thereunder) of the outstanding shares of our stock during any taxable year, within 30 days after the end of such taxable year, will be asked to deliver a statement or affidavit setting forth the name and address of such record owner, the number of shares of our stock actually owned by such stockholder, and such information regarding the beneficial ownership of the shares of our stock as we may request in order to determine the effect, if any, of such actual or beneficial ownership on our status as a REIT and to ensure compliance with the ownership limit.
Restrictions on Roll-Up Transactions
In connection with any proposed transaction considered a “Roll-up Transaction” involving us and the issuance of securities of an entity that would be created or would survive after the successful completion of the Roll-up Transaction, an appraisal of all of our assets must be obtained from a competent independent appraiser. If the appraisal will be included in a prospectus used to offer the securities of the roll-up entity, the appraisal shall be filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) and the states. The assets will be appraised on a consistent basis, and the appraisal will be based on the evaluation of all relevant information and shall indicate the value of the assets as of a date immediately prior to the announcement of the proposed Roll-up Transaction. The appraisal will assume an orderly liquidation of assets over a 12-month period. The terms of the engagement of the independent appraiser shall clearly state that the engagement is for our benefit and the benefit of our stockholders. A summary of the appraisal, indicating all material assumptions underlying the appraisal, will be included in a report to stockholders in connection with any proposed Roll-up Transaction.
A “Roll-up Transaction” is a transaction involving the acquisition, merger, conversion or consolidation, directly or indirectly, of us and the issuance of securities of another entity, or a Roll-up Entity, that would be created or would survive after the successful completion of such transaction. The term Roll-up Transaction does not include:
a transaction involving securities of the Roll-Up Entity that have been for at least 12 months listed on a national securities exchange; or
a transaction involving our conversion to a corporate, trust, or association form if, as a consequence of the transaction, there will be no significant adverse change in any of the following: stockholder voting rights; the term of our existence; compensation to our advisor; or our investment objectives.
In connection with a proposed Roll-up Transaction, the person sponsoring the Roll-up Transaction must offer to common stockholders who vote “no” on the proposal the choice of:
accepting the securities of a Roll-up Entity offered in the proposed Roll-up Transaction; or
remaining as holders of our stock and preserving their interests therein on the same terms and conditions as existed previously; or
receiving cash in an amount equal to the stockholder’s pro rata share of the appraised value of our net assets.
We are prohibited from participating in any proposed Roll-up Transaction:
that would result in the common stockholders having democracy rights in a Roll-up Entity that are less than those provided in our charter and bylaws and described elsewhere herein, including rights with respect to the election and removal of directors, annual reports, annual and special meetings, amendment of our charter, and our dissolution;
that includes provisions that would operate to materially impede or frustrate the accumulation of shares of stock by any purchaser of the securities of the Roll-up Entity, except to the minimum extent necessary to preserve the tax
status of the Roll-up Entity, or which would limit the ability of an investor to exercise the voting rights of its securities of the Roll-up Entity on the basis of the number of shares of stock held by that investor;
in which investor’s rights to access of records of the Roll-up Entity will be less than those provided in the “— Meetings and Special Voting Requirements” section above; or
in which any of the costs of the Roll-up Transaction would be borne by us if the Roll-up Transaction is rejected by our common stockholders.
Under the MGCL, business combinations between a Maryland corporation and an interested stockholder or an affiliate of an interested stockholder are prohibited for five years after the most recent date on which the interested stockholder becomes an interested stockholder. These business combinations include a merger, consolidation, share exchange, or, in circumstances specified in the statute, an asset transfer or issuance or reclassification of equity securities. An interested stockholder is defined as:
any person who beneficially owns, directly or indirectly, 10.0% or more of the voting power of the corporation’s outstanding voting stock; or
an affiliate or associate of the corporation who, at any time within the two-year period prior to the date in question, was the beneficial owner, directly or indirectly, of 10.0% or more of the voting power of the then outstanding stock of the corporation.
A person is not an interested stockholder under the statute if the board of directors approved in advance the transaction by which he otherwise would have become an interested stockholder. However, in approving a transaction, the board of directors may provide that its approval is subject to compliance, at or after the time of approval, with any terms and conditions determined by the board of directors.
After the five-year prohibition, any business combination between the Maryland corporation and an interested stockholder generally must be recommended by the board of directors of the corporation and approved by the affirmative vote of at least:
80.0% of the votes entitled to be cast by holders of outstanding shares of voting stock of the corporation; and
two-thirds of the votes entitled to be cast by holders of voting stock of the corporation other than shares of stock held by the interested stockholder with whom or with whose affiliate the business combination is to be effected or held by an affiliate or associate of the interested stockholder.
These super-majority vote requirements do not apply if the corporation’s common stockholders receive a minimum price, as defined under Maryland law, for their shares of our common stock in the form of cash or other consideration in the same form as previously paid by the interested stockholder for its shares of our common stock.
The statute permits various exemptions from its provisions, including business combinations that are exempted by the board of directors before the time that the interested stockholder becomes an interested stockholder. Our board of directors has adopted a resolution providing that any business combination between us and any other person is exempted from this statute, provided that such business combination is first approved by our board of directors. This resolution, however, may be altered or repealed in whole or in part at any time.
Control Share Acquisitions
The MGCL provides that control shares of a Maryland corporation acquired in a control share acquisition have no voting rights except to the extent approved by a vote of stockholders entitled to cast two-thirds of the votes entitled to be cast on the matter. Shares of stock owned by the acquiror, by officers or by employees who are directors of the corporation are excluded from shares of stock entitled to vote on the matter. Control shares are voting shares of stock which, if aggregated with all other shares of stock owned by the acquiror or in respect of which the acquiror is able to exercise or direct the exercise of voting power (except solely by virtue of a revocable proxy), would entitle the acquiror to exercise voting power in electing directors within one of the following ranges of voting power:
one-tenth or more but less than one-third;
one-third or more but less than a majority; or
a majority or more of all voting power.
Control shares do not include shares of stock the acquiring person is then entitled to vote as a result of having previously obtained stockholder approval or shares acquired directly from the corporation. A control share acquisition means the acquisition of issued and outstanding control shares, subject to certain exceptions.
A person who has made or proposes to make a control share acquisition may compel our board of directors to call a special meeting of stockholders to be held within 50 days of demand to consider the voting rights of the shares of stock. The right to compel the calling of a special meeting is subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, including an undertaking to pay the expenses of the meeting. If no request for a meeting is made, the corporation may itself present the question at any stockholders’ meeting.
If voting rights are not approved at the meeting or if the acquiring person does not deliver an acquiring person statement as required by the statute, then the corporation may redeem for fair value any or all of the control shares, except those for which voting rights have previously been approved. The right of the corporation to redeem control shares is subject to certain conditions and limitations. Fair value is determined, without regard to the absence of voting rights for the control shares, as of the date of any meeting of stockholders at which the voting rights of the shares of stock are considered and not approved or, if no such meeting is held, as of the date of the last control share acquisition by the acquirer. If voting rights for control shares are approved at a stockholders’ meeting and the acquiror becomes entitled to vote a majority of the shares of stock entitled to vote, all other stockholders may exercise appraisal rights. The fair value of the shares of stock as determined for purposes of appraisal rights may not be less than the highest price per share paid by the acquiror in the control share acquisition.
The control share acquisition statute does not apply (1) to shares of stock acquired in a merger, consolidation or share exchange if the corporation is a party to the transaction, or (2) to acquisitions approved or exempted by the charter or bylaws of the corporation.
Our bylaws contain a provision exempting from the control share acquisition statute any and all acquisitions of shares of our stock by any person. This bylaw provision may be amended or eliminated at any time in the future.
Subtitle 8 of Title 3 of the MGCL permits a Maryland corporation with a class of equity securities registered under the Exchange Act and at least three independent directors to elect to be subject, by provision in its charter or bylaws or a resolution of its board of directors and notwithstanding any contrary provision in the charter or bylaws, to any or all of five provisions:
a classified board of directors;
a two-thirds vote requirement for removing a director;
a requirement that the number of directors be fixed only by vote of the directors;
a requirement that a vacancy on the board of directors be filled only by the remaining directors and for the remainder of the full term of the class of directors in which the vacancy occurred; and
a majority requirement for the calling of a stockholder-requested special meeting of stockholders.
In our charter, we have elected that vacancies on our board of directors be filled only by the remaining directors and for the remainder of the full term of the directorship in which the vacancy occurred. Through provisions in our charter and bylaws unrelated to Subtitle 8, we vest in our board of directors the exclusive power to fix the number of directorships, provided that the number is not less than three. We have not elected to be subject to any of the other provisions of Subtitle 8.
Vacancies on Board of Directors; Removal of Directors
Any vacancy created by an increase in the number of directors or the death, resignation, removal, adjudicated incompetence or other incapacity of a director may be filled only by a vote of a majority of the remaining directors, even if the remaining directors do not constitute a quorum. Any director elected to fill a vacancy will serve for the remainder of the full term of the directorship in which the vacancy occurred and until a successor is duly elected and qualifies. Our independent directors will choose the nominees to fill vacancies in our independent director positions and our non-independent directors will choose the nominees to fill vacancies in our non-independent director positions.
Any director may resign at any time and may be removed with or without cause by our stockholders upon the affirmative vote of stockholders entitled to cast at least a majority of all the votes entitled to be cast generally in the election of directors. The notice of any special meeting called for the purpose of the proposed removal shall indicate that the purpose, or one of the purposes, of the meeting is to determine if the director shall be removed.
Advance Notice of Director Nominations and New Business
Our bylaws provide that with respect to an annual meeting of stockholders, nominations of individuals for election to the board of directors and the proposal of business to be considered by our stockholders may be made only (1) pursuant to our notice of the meeting, (2) by or at the direction of our board of directors or (3) by a stockholder who is a stockholder of record both at the time of giving the advance notice required by the bylaws and at the time of the meeting, who is entitled to vote at the meeting in the election of each individual nominated or on such other business and who has complied with the advance notice procedures of the bylaws. With respect to special meetings of stockholders, only the business specified in our notice of the meeting may be brought before the meeting. Nominations of individuals for election to our board of directors at a special meeting may be made only (1) by or at the direction of our board of directors or (2) provided that the meeting has been called for the purpose of electing directors, by a stockholder who is a stockholder of record both at the time of giving the advance notice required by the bylaws and at the time of the meeting, who is entitled to vote at the meeting in the election of each individual nominated and who has complied with the advance notice provisions of the bylaws.
Limited Liability and Indemnification of Directors, Officers and Others
Our charter generally limits the personal liability of our stockholders, directors and officers for monetary damages and requires us to indemnify and, without requiring a preliminary determination of the ultimate entitlement to indemnification, advance expenses to our directors, officers and other agents subject to the limitations of the Statement of Policy Regarding Real Estate Investment Trusts adopted by the North American Securities Administrators Association (the “NASAA Guidelines”), and Maryland law. Maryland law permits a corporation to include in its charter a provision limiting the liability of directors and officers to the corporation and its stockholders for money damages, except for liability resulting from actual receipt of an improper benefit or profit in money, property or services or active and deliberate dishonesty established by a final judgment and which is material to the cause of action. The MGCL requires a corporation (unless its charter provides otherwise, which our charter does not) to indemnify a director or officer who has been successful, on the merits or otherwise, in the defense of any proceeding to which he or she is made or threatened to be made a party by reason of his or her service in that capacity. The MGCL allows directors and officers to be indemnified against judgments, penalties, fines, settlements and reasonable expenses actually incurred in connection with a proceeding unless the following can be established:
an act or omission of the director or officer was material to the cause of action adjudicated in the proceeding, and was committed in bad faith or was the result of active and deliberate dishonesty;
the director or officer actually received an improper personal benefit in money, property or services; or
with respect to any criminal proceeding, the director or officer had reasonable cause to believe his or her act or omission was unlawful.
A court may order indemnification if it determines that the director or officer is fairly and reasonably entitled to indemnification, even though the director or officer did not meet the prescribed standard of conduct or was adjudged liable on the basis that personal benefit was improperly received. However, indemnification for an adverse judgment in a suit by the corporation or in its right, or for a judgment of liability on the basis that personal benefit was improperly received, is limited to expenses. The MGCL permits a corporation to advance reasonable expenses to a director or officer upon receipt of a written affirmation by the director or officer of his or her good faith belief that he or she has met the standard of conduct necessary for indemnification and a written undertaking by him or her or on his or her behalf to repay the amount paid or reimbursed if it is ultimately determined that the standard of conduct was not met.
In addition to the above limitations of the MGCL, and as set forth in the NASAA Guidelines, our charter provides that our directors, our advisor and its affiliates may be indemnified for losses or liability suffered by them or held harmless for losses or liability suffered by us only if all of the following conditions are met:
the indemnitee determined, in good faith, that the course of conduct which caused the loss or liability was in our best interest;
the indemnitee was acting on our behalf or performing services for us;
in the case of affiliated directors, our advisor or its affiliates, the liability or loss was not the result of negligence or misconduct by the party seeking indemnification; and
in the case of our independent directors, the liability or loss was not the result of gross negligence or willful misconduct by the party seeking indemnification.
In addition, any indemnification or any agreement to hold harmless is recoverable only out of our net assets and not from our stockholders.
Our charter also provides that we may pay or reimburse reasonable legal expenses and other costs incurred by our directors, our advisor and its affiliates in advance of final disposition of a proceeding only if all of the following are satisfied:
the proceeding relates to acts or omissions with respect to the performance of duties or services on our behalf;
the indemnitee provides us with written affirmation of his or her good faith belief that he or she has met the standard of conduct necessary for indemnification;
the legal proceeding was initiated by a third party who is not a stockholder or, if by a stockholder acting in his or her capacity as such, a court of competent jurisdiction approves such advancement; and
the indemnitee provides us with a written agreement to repay the amount paid or reimbursed, together with the applicable legal rate of interest thereon, if it is ultimately determined that he or she did not comply with the requisite standard of conduct and is not entitled to indemnification.
The SEC takes the position that indemnification against liabilities arising under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, is against public policy and unenforceable. Indemnification of our directors, our advisor or its affiliates or any person acting as a broker-dealer on our behalf, including our dealer manager, will not be allowed for liabilities arising from or out of a violation of state or federal securities laws, unless one or more of the following conditions are met:
there has been a successful adjudication on the merits of each count involving alleged material securities law violations;
such claims have been dismissed with prejudice on the merits by a court of competent jurisdiction; or
a court of competent jurisdiction approves a settlement of the claims against the indemnitee and finds that indemnification of the settlement and the related costs should be made, and the court considering the request for indemnification has been advised of the position of the SEC and of the published position of any state securities regulatory authority in the state in which our securities were offered or sold as to indemnification for violations of securities laws.