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State Legal Action Committee Organizational Statement

STATE ASSOCIATION
LEGAL ACTION COMMITTEE
SUGGESTED
STATEMENT OF ORGANIZATION AND PROCEDURE


I. NAME

A program of the ____________ (State) Association of Realtors known as the Legal Action Program is hereby established.

II. PURPOSE

The principal function of the Legal Action Program shall be to establish and administer the Legal Action Fund. The Legal Action Fund shall be administered so as to best achieve the purposes and goals of the Legal Action Program. These purposes and goals are:

A. To provide financial resources and other assistance to parties, including but not limited to Member Boards and members in the State of ___________, engaged in litigation, actual or proposed, which may result in the determination of the relevant legal issues in a manner that may have important precedential significance to private property owners, real estate licensees, real estate associations, or the real estate industry generally in the State of _____________. Assistance may be provided only to cases that meet the Criteria for Case Support set forth in Section VI.

B. Promote among Member Boards in the State of ________________ an understanding of their rights and duties under federal, state and municipal law and to defray the expense of legal advice to that end.

III. FUNDING

A. The Legal Action Fund shall be financed by funds derived from the membership from any or all of the following sources, at the discretion of the Board of Directors:

(1) Direct appropriation from the budget or reserves of the (State) Association of Realtors, as authorized by its Board of Directors.

(2) Annual or special dues assessments or allocations to support the Legal Action Fund, as may be authorized by the Bylaws of the (State) Association of Realtors.

(3) Revenues derived from other sources or activities in a manner and at such times as deemed necessary and appropriate by the Board of Directors.

IV. ADMINISTRATION

A. The Legal Action Fund shall be administered by the Legal Action Committee. The Committee staff shall account for all Fund monies, and shall disburse such monies as recommended by the Legal Action Committee and approved by the Board of Directors.

B. The Legal Action Committee shall consist of ___ members appointed by the President for staggered terms of three years, except for appointments to fill vacancies in unexpired terms, which appointments shall be for the unexpired term of the vacancy. The immediate past Chair of the Committee shall also be a member of the Committee during the year following service as Chair if his or her regular appointed term expires at the end of the year of service as Chair and he or she is not appointed by the President to a subsequent term.

Meetings shall be scheduled in connection with the regular meetings of the Board of Directors and otherwise held at the call of the President or Chairman of the Committee.

V. REQUESTS FOR ASSISTANCE

A. All requests for support from the Legal Action Fund must be made in writing and initiated or supported by a Member Board. Requests not received at least 45 days prior to the next scheduled meeting of the Legal Action Committee may be deferred for consideration to the following scheduled meeting, at the discretion of the Chair of the (State) Association of Realtors Legal Action Committee.

B. The Legal Action Committee, in collaboration with Member Board counsel as appropriate and with the assistance of counsel to the __________ (State) Association of Realtors, shall study the merits and implications of each request for support. The requesting party may appear before the Committee to support the request and answer any questions posed by the Committee. The Committee shall adopt recommendations for support in appropriate cases, and submit such recommendations for consideration and approval or rejection by the Board of Directors.

C. The Legal Action Committee and/or the Board of Directors may condition its support on retention of counsel deemed most experienced in the issues and controversies presented, on various levels of support provided by the National Association of Realtors and/or local association(s), or on other prerequisites. All support of the Legal Action Committee is conditioned on the requirement that the (State) Association of Realtors and/or its counsel be consulted and advised on a current and continuing basis concerning decisions relating to the litigation which is being supported, including but not limited to, the theories and strategies of the case, the procedural steps to be taken, the parties to the litigation, the issues to be raised, the timing of discovery, motions and other matters, and the nature and scope of research to be performed. Failure to consult as required or failure to cooperate with the (State) Association of Realtors may result in the immediate suspension of all support of the litigation and the termination of such support if the Member Board, member or other recipient of support fails to justify such failures or otherwise satisfy the Committee, in its sole discretion, that support should be continued.

D. (Include if appropriate): The Committee may conduct one or more special meetings per year to consider requests for assistance presented at times other than the regularly scheduled meetings of the Committee when, in the judgment of the Chair and Vice-Chair and with the concurrence of the President of the (State) Association of Realtors, it appears necessary and desirable to do so. Any recommendation for assistance adopted by the Committee at such a special meeting must be approved by the (State) Association of Realtors Leadership Team but need not also be approved the Board of Directors if the recommendation is for an amount which, when aggregated with all prior contributions by (State) Association of Realtors in connection with the case, does not exceed $25,000.

Requests approved in this fashion shall be reported to the Board of Directors at its next meeting.

E. (Include if appropriate): The Committee may also consider and adopt recommendations for support by conference telephone call to consider requests for assistance presented at times other than the regularly scheduled meetings of the Committee when, in the judgment of the Chair and Vice-Chair, it appears necessary and desirable to do so. Any recommendation for assistance adopted by the Committee at such a special meeting must be approved by the (State) Association of Realtors Leadership Team but need not also be approved by the Board of Directors if

(1) the recommendation is for an amount which, when aggregated with all prior contributions by the (State) Association of Realtors in connection with the case, do not exceed $25,000; and

(2) a majority of all the members of the Committee vote in favor of the recommendation to support the request.

Requests approved in this fashion shall be reported to the Board of Directors at its next meeting.

F. All appropriations from the Legal Action Fund shall be disbursed as authorized by the Board of Directors or the Committee, in the case of requests approved pursuant to subparagraph E. above, upon the satisfaction of all contingencies, conditions or prerequisites imposed and upon receipt of verified statements of expenses at least equal to the disbursement.

G. Any reconsideration of requests for assistance shall be based on information not presented at time of the original presentation of the request to the Committee.

VI. Criteria For Case Support and Other Case Support Policies

A. A case is eligible for support from the (State) Association of Realtors Legal Action Committee if it:

(1) Presents an opportunity for clarifying precedent on issues of significance to the (State) Association of Realtors, other REALTOR® associations or related organizations in the State of __________, or a substantial portion of the (State) Association of Realtors membership; or

(2) Involves legal issues of important precedential significance related to private property rights of members, the public, or others concerned with the protection of private property.

Cases supported must clearly evidence the potential for impact on real estate related matters, the operation of REALTOR® associations or private property rights in the State of ________. Support is not available for cases that will affect only the particular litigants or affect only the law of a particular local jurisdiction. The Committee may adopt guidelines for its use in determining when cases involving only issues of state or local law may nevertheless have such national significance

B. Financial support provided to litigants must be used for legal fees and expenses only, and may not be used to pay judgments, damages, fines, settlements, or opposing counsel's legal fees.