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第四章 美國法下之特別委員會制度

第一節、 美國法下之特別委員會

90 § 141. Board of directors; powers; number, qualifications, terms and quorum; committees; classes of directors; nonstock corporations; reliance upon books; action without meeting; removal

(c)(1) All corporations incorporated prior to July 1, 1996, shall be governed by this paragraph (c)(1) of this section, provided that any such corporation may by a resolution adopted by a majority of the whole board elect to be governed by paragraph (c)(2) of this section, in which case this paragraph (c)(1) of this section shall not apply to such corporation. All corporations incorporated on or after July 1, 1996, shall be governed by paragraph (c)(2) of this section. The board of directors may, by resolution passed by a majority of the whole board, designate 1 or more committees, each committee to consist of 1 or more of the directors of the corporation. The board may designate 1 or more directors as alternate members of any committee, who may replace any absent or disqualified member at any meeting of the committee. The bylaws may provide that in the absence or disqualification of a member of a committee, the member or members present at any meeting and not disqualified from voting, whether or not the member or members present constitute a quorum, may unanimously appoint another member of the board of directors to act at the meeting in the place of any such absent or disqualified member. Any such committee, to the extent provided in the resolution of the board of directors, or in the bylaws of the corporation, shall have and may exercise all the powers and authority of the board of directors in the management of the business and affairs of the corporation, and may authorize the seal of the corporation to be affixed to all papers which may require it; but no such committee shall have the power or authority in reference to amending the certificate of incorporation (except that a committee may, to the extent authorized in the resolution or resolutions providing for the issuance of shares of stock adopted by the board of directors as provided in § 151(a) of this title, fix the designations and any of the preferences or rights of such shares relating to dividends, redemption, dissolution, any

distribution of assets of the corporation or the conversion into, or the exchange of such shares for, shares of any other class or classes or any other series of the same or any other class or classes of stock of the corporation or fix the number of shares of any series of stock or authorize the increase or decrease of the shares of any series), adopting an agreement of merger or consolidation under § 251, § 252, § 254, § 255, § 256, § 257, § 258, § 263 or § 264 of this title, recommending to the stockholders the sale, lease or exchange of all or substantially all of the corporation's property and assets,

recommending to the stockholders a dissolution of the corporation or a revocation of a dissolution, or amending the bylaws of the corporation; and, unless the resolution, bylaws or certificate of

incorporation expressly so provides, no such committee shall have the power or authority to declare a dividend, to authorize the issuance of stock or to adopt a certificate of ownership and merger pursuant to § 253 of this title.

(2) The board of directors may designate 1 or more committees, each committee to consist of 1 or more of the directors of the corporation. The board may designate 1 or more directors as alternate members of any committee, who may replace any absent or disqualified member at any meeting of the

committee. The bylaws may provide that in the absence or disqualification of a member of a committee, the member or members present at any meeting and not disqualified from voting, whether or not such member or members constitute a quorum, may unanimously appoint another member of the board of directors to act at the meeting in the place of any such absent or disqualified member. Any such committee, to the extent provided in the resolution of the board of directors, or in the bylaws of the corporation, shall have and may exercise all the powers and authority of the board of directors in the management of the business and affairs of the corporation, and may authorize the seal of the corporation to be affixed to all papers which may require it; but no such committee shall have the power or authority in reference to the following matter: (i) approving or adopting, or recommending to

席或喪失資格的成員。章程可規定,當委員會委員缺位或喪失資格時(any absent or disqualified member at any meeting of the committee),在會議上有表 決權資格之董事,不論是否已達法定出席人數,可在一致同意下指定董事會中其 他成員代替上述缺位或喪失資格之委員。任何此類委員會,在董事會決議或該公 司章程規定的範圍內,於經營管理與公司事務上,應具可行使董事會所擁有之一 切權利與職權,且得於必要時在文件上加蓋公司印章;但委員會無權修訂公司組 成之證明文件(but no such committee shall have the power or authority in reference to amending the certificate of incorporation),無權依據本篇§

251, § 252, § 254, § 255, § 256, § 257, § 258, § 263 or § 264 之規定接

the stockholders, any action or matter (other than the election or removal of directors) expressly required by this chapter to be submitted to stockholders for approval or (ii) adopting, amending or repealing any bylaw of the corporation.

(3) Unless otherwise provided in the certificate of incorporation, the bylaws or the resolution of the board of directors designating the committee, a committee may create 1 or more subcommittees, each subcommittee to consist of 1 or more members of the committee, and delegate to a subcommittee any or all of the powers and authority of the committee.

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述缺席或喪失資格之委員。任何此類委員會,在董事會決議或該公司章程規定的 範圍內,於經營管理與公司事務上,應具可行使董事會所擁有之一切權利與職權,

且得於必要時在文件上加蓋公司印章;但沒有委員會就下列事項擁有的權利:(i)

批准、採納、或向股東提出本章明文應由股東批准之任何行動或事項,或(ii)

採納、修改、或廢除該公司的章程。(3)除公司組成之證明文件、章程、或董事 會任命委員會之決議另有規定外,委員會可下設一個或多個小組委員會,每個小 組由一個或多個委員會的成員,並將部分或全部權利授權予小組委員會。」

公司可以章程規定或董事會多數決決議之方式,將董事會權限授予不具利害 關係之董事組成之委員會,若有此經合法授權並遵守相關規定之委員會組織,即 可就關係人交易為有效之批准或同意,此類委員會即稱為特別委員會。美國實務 上常見之特別委員會主要有以下三種類型:(一)特別訴訟委員會、(二)特別調查 委員會、(三)特別審議委員會。其中特別審議委員會(下節簡稱:特別委員會) 職司合併、收購或其他具利害關係而可能改變公司結構之交易,為本文研究之重 點。

第一項 特別訴訟委員會(Special Litigation Committee)

在股東對董事提起代位訴訟之情形下,因代位訴訟本為公司之權利,屬董事 會之決策權,原則上須先請求董事會提起代位訴訟,由董事會決定是否允許提起,

僅於遭董事會違法地拒絕提起(they have wrongfully refused to do so),或 者 在 預 料 董 事 會 無 法 公 正 做 成 決 定 而 向 董 事 會 提 出 請 求 乃 屬 無 益 (demand futility)時,股東方能直接提起。而若股東欲免除請求董事會提訴之要件須提 出明確事證,使法院對董事具備獨立性而無利害關係、代位訴訟牽涉董事會曾做 過之決議且該決議受經營判斷法則保護等事項產生合理懷疑91

       

91 林郁馨,從美國法論獨立董事獨立性之法律規制,公司治理法制學術研討會(下午場)資料,頁

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而於董事會遭到股東請求提起代位訴訟時,因董事具有極大之利益衝突,董 事會可授權由獨立而無利害衝突之獨立董事組成特別訴訟委員會來決定公司是 否提訴。惟若公司組成之特別訴訟委員會做成不提訴之決定,則法院是否應給予 經營判斷法則之保護,而不做實質審查?

針對公司授權之特別訴訟委員會決議不起訴之情形,德拉瓦州法院在

Zapata v. Maldonado

92中建立兩階段審查準則,於第一階段,法院須審酌特 別訴訟委員會之成員是否具備獨立性、主觀上是否為善意、其提出之調查報告之 合理性,此部分之舉證責任由授權特別訴訟委員會之公司負擔。而第一階段若認 為具備獨立性及主觀善意、調查報告亦具合理性,則進入第二階段審查標準,該 決議並不受到經營判斷法則之保護,法院仍可立於中立第三者之角色,有權進行 實質審查,以法院自己之獨立商業判斷決定是否繼續訴訟93。惟於美國多數州採 一階段審查,若委員會成員具備獨立性,其調查結果具備合理基礎,則其決定即 受經營判斷法則之保護,法院不會進行實質審查。

簡言之,特別訴訟委員會係在股東欲對董事提起代表訴訟時,作為一個獨立 之角色,評估是否對董事起訴,若其成員具備獨立性、決策具備合理性時,其決 定是否受到經營判斷法則之保護,則視不同州法院之態度而定。

第二項 特別調查委員會(Special Investigation Committee)

公司在面對內部可能之不法行為時,有進行內部調查之義務,此時會成立一 個由獨立董事組成之特別調查委員會,對公司內違法情事進行內部調查,若該調 查結果受到股東提起代表訴訟加以挑戰時,法院審查之重點在於成員之獨立性、

       

20-21,2013 年 12 月。

92 Zapata v. Maldonado, 430 A.2d 779, 788(Del 1981).

93 林郁馨,同前註 91,頁 22-23。

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委員會之權限、是否聘請專業顧問,以判斷是否違反其受任人義務94

第三項 特別審議委員會(Special Negotiating Committee)

公司在進行利益衝突交易時,為保障其他利害關係人之權利,法院會以更嚴 格之審查標準審查交易之公允性,而交易是否符合公允標準之舉證責任落在具利 益衝突之控制股東上,此時公司會由獨立董事組成特別審議委員會代表公司審議 該交易之公平性,而法院將就特別審議委員會之獨立性、資訊充足與否、是否擁 有權限進行公平談判等進行審查,若符合特別委員會設置等一定之要件,則可將 舉證責任轉由原告股東負擔。