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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Standing

The point has been raised that AMSL is a non-profit, and so its students/alumni do not have standing to sue. I haven't looked into Michigan law on this (paging Michigan alumni who have access to West Law), but here are some cursory observations.

The Non-Profit Risk Management Center
tells us that non-profit Directors and Officers can be sued in some situations.

One of the myths associated with nonprofit D&O exposures is that there are few sources of claims since nonprofits don't have shareholders. While it is true that the vast majority of lawsuits filed against nonprofit boards are filed by current and former employees (alleging wrongful employment practices), nonprofits serve large and varied constituencies to which their boards owe specific fiduciary duties similar to duties owed by corporate boards. These constituencies are potential plaintiffs in legal actions brought against nonprofit boards. Potential claimants in a suit against nonprofit directors include:

Outsiders — Third parties that have a relationship with the nonprofit may allege harm caused by the nonprofit and/or its directors, officers or employees. Outside sources can be vendors, funders, or another nonprofit.

Beneficiaries — The people you are in business to help — your service recipients — may bring claims against directors and officers alleging wrongdoing.

Members — Directors and officers of membership associations are vulnerable to claims brought by members alleging harm to the interests of the member.

Each of these categories apply to alumni in one way or another. There is a contract theory approach that would claim a contractual relationship between student and AMSOL with on-going performance expectations. There is the approach that states we are beneficiaries of the non-profit, and as recipients, we have been injured due to wrong doing. The Alumni are members of an Alumni Association - we have a set of interests regarding our on-going association with AMSOL that was gravely and irreparably harmed by another member - namely Dean Dobranski.

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