Senate Bill 21, effective March 18, 2021, amends the Ohio corporation law to authorize benefit corporations. A benefit corporation is defined as a corporation that sets forth in its articles of incorporation one or more beneficial purposes among the purposes for which the corporation is formed. "Beneficial purpose" means seeking to have a bona fide positive effect or to reduce one or more bona fide negative effects of an artistic, charitable, cultural, economic, educational, environmental, literary, medical, religious, scientific, or technological nature for the benefit of persons, entities, communities, or interests other than shareholders in their capacity as shareholders.
An existing corporation can become a benefit corporation by amending its articles of incorporation. However a corporation that has issued and has outstanding shares listed on a national securities exchange or regularly quoted in an over-the-counter market by one or more members of a national or affiliated securities association cannot amend its articles to add a beneficial purpose.
Reister v. Gardner, 2020 Ohio 5484, decided December 3, 2020. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the Court of Appeals erred when it held the litigation privilege shielded the business decisions made by directors regarding corporate litigation. The court distinguished the litigation privilege - which protects participants in litigation from suits over statements made during litigation, with the business judgment rule - which provides deference to decisions by the board while managing the corporation, including decisions regarding litigation.
Red Foot Racing Stables v. Brewer, 2020 Ohio 5201, decided November 5, 2020. The Ohio Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by a horse racing stable based on the Ohio statute stating that no person doing business under a fictitious name shall commence or maintain an action in the fictitious name or on account of any contracts made or transactions had in the fictitious name until it has registered the fictitious name with the Secretary of State. The court rejected the plaintiff’s argument that the registration requirement does not apply to horse racing stables.
Effect of Becoming Limited Liability Partnerships
810 Properties VIII LLP v. Sukenik, No. 108922, decided April 23, 2020. The Ohio Court of Appeals held that two limited liability partnerships had standing to enforce partnership agreements entered into before filing their statements of qualification to become limited liability partnerships. The filing of the statements of qualification did not create new partnerships. The partnerships continued to be the same entities as before the filings.