Code Section Group

Corporations Code - CORP

TITLE 1. CORPORATIONS [100 - 14631]

  ( Title 1 enacted by Stats. 1947, Ch. 1038. )


  ( Division 1 repealed and added by Stats. 1975, Ch. 682. )

CHAPTER 20. General Provisions Relating to Dissolution [2000 - 2011]
  ( Chapter 20 added by Stats. 1975, Ch. 682. )


(a) Subject to any contrary provision in the articles, which may include a reference to a separate written agreement between two or more shareholders pertaining to the purchase of shares:

In any suit for involuntary dissolution, or in any proceeding for voluntary dissolution initiated by the vote of shareholders representing only 50 percent of the voting power, the corporation or, if it does not elect to purchase, the holders of 50 percent or more of the voting power of the corporation (the “purchasing parties”) may avoid the dissolution of the corporation and the appointment of any receiver by purchasing for cash the shares owned by the plaintiffs or by the shareholders so initiating the proceeding (the “moving parties”) at their fair value.

The fair value shall be determined on the basis of the liquidation value as of the valuation date but taking into account the possibility, if any, of sale of the entire business as a going concern in a liquidation. In fixing the value, the amount of any damages resulting if the initiation of the dissolution is a breach by any moving party or parties of an agreement with the purchasing party or parties may be deducted from the amount payable to the moving party or parties, unless the ground for dissolution is that specified in paragraph (4) of subdivision (b) of Section 1800. The election of the corporation to purchase may be made by the approval of the outstanding shares (Section 152) excluding shares held by the moving parties.

(b) If the purchasing parties (1) elect to purchase the shares owned by the moving parties, and (2) are unable to agree with the moving parties upon the fair value of those shares, and (3) give bond with sufficient security to pay the estimated reasonable expenses (including attorneys’ fees) of the moving parties if those expenses are recoverable under subdivision (c), the court upon application of the purchasing parties, either in the pending action or in a proceeding initiated in the superior court of the proper county by the purchasing parties in the case of a voluntary election to wind up and dissolve, shall stay the winding up and dissolution proceeding and shall proceed to ascertain and fix the fair value of the shares owned by the moving parties.

(c) The court shall appoint three disinterested appraisers to appraise the fair value of the shares owned by the moving parties, and shall make an order referring the matter to the appraisers so appointed for the purpose of ascertaining the value. The order shall prescribe the time and manner of producing evidence, if evidence is required. The award of the appraisers or of a majority of them, when confirmed by the court, shall be final and conclusive upon all parties. The court shall enter a decree, which shall provide in the alternative for winding up and dissolution of the corporation unless payment is made for the shares within the time specified by the decree. If the purchasing parties do not make payment for the shares within the time specified, judgment shall be entered against them and the surety or sureties on the bond for the amount of the expenses (including attorneys’ fees) of the moving parties. Any shareholder aggrieved by the action of the court may appeal the court’s decision.

(d) If the purchasing parties desire to prevent the winding up and dissolution, they shall pay to the moving parties the value of their shares ascertained and decreed within the time specified pursuant to this section, or, in case of an appeal, as fixed on appeal. On receiving payment or the tender thereof, the moving parties shall transfer their shares to the purchasing parties.

(e) For the purposes of this section, “shareholder” includes a beneficial owner of shares who has entered into an agreement under Section 300 or 706.

(f) For the purposes of this section, the valuation date shall be (1) in the case of a suit for involuntary dissolution under Section 1800, the date upon which that action was commenced, or (2) in the case of a proceeding for voluntary dissolution initiated by the vote of shareholders representing only 50 percent of the voting power, the date upon which that proceeding was initiated. However, in either case the court may, upon the hearing of a motion by any party, and for good cause shown, designate some other date as the valuation date.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 721, Sec. 1. (AB 1535) Effective January 1, 2018.)


The powers and duties of the directors (or other persons appointed by the court pursuant to Section 1805) and officers after commencement of a dissolution proceeding include, but are not limited to, the following acts in the name and on behalf of the corporation:

(a) To elect officers and to employ agents and attorneys to liquidate or wind up its affairs.

(b) To continue the conduct of the business insofar as necessary for the disposal or winding up thereof.

(c) To carry out contracts and collect, pay, compromise and settle debts and claims for or against the corporation.

(d) To defend suits brought against the corporation.

(e) To sue, in the name of the corporation, for all sums due or owing to the corporation or to recover any of its property.

(f) To collect any amounts remaining unpaid on subscriptions to shares or to recover unlawful distributions.

(g) To sell at public or private sale, exchange, convey or otherwise dispose of all or any part of the assets of the corporation for cash in an amount deemed reasonable by the board without compliance with the provisions of Section 1001 (except subdivision (d) thereof), or (subject to compliance with the provisions of Sections 1001, 1200 and 1201, but Chapter 13 (commencing with Section 1300) shall not be applicable thereto) upon such other terms and conditions and for such other considerations as the board deems reasonable or expedient; and to execute bills of sale and deeds of conveyance in the name of the corporation.

(h) In general, to make contracts and to do any and all things in the name of the corporation which may be proper or convenient for the purposes of winding up, settling and liquidating the affairs of the corporation.

(Amended by Stats. 1976, Ch. 641.)


A vacancy on the board may be filled during a winding up proceeding in the manner provided in Section 305.

(Added by Stats. 1975, Ch. 682.)


When the identity of the directors or their right to hold office is in doubt, or if they are dead or unable to act, or they fail or refuse to act or their whereabouts cannot be ascertained, any interested person may petition the superior court of the proper county to determine the identity of the directors or, if there are no directors, to appoint directors to wind up the affairs of the corporation, after hearing upon such notice to such persons as the court may direct.

(Added by Stats. 1975, Ch. 682.)


After determining that all the known debts and liabilities of a corporation in the process of winding up have been paid or adequately provided for, the board shall distribute all the remaining corporate assets among the shareholders according to their respective rights and preferences or, if there are no shareholders, to the persons entitled thereto. If the winding up is by court proceeding or subject to court supervision, the distribution shall not be made until after the expiration of any period for the presentation of claims which has been prescribed by order of the court.

(Amended by Stats. 1976, Ch. 641.)


The payment of a debt or liability, whether the whereabouts of the creditor is known or unknown, has been adequately provided for if the payment has been provided for by either of the following means:

(a) Payment thereof has been assumed or guaranteed in good faith by one or more financially responsible corporations or other persons or by the United States government or any agency thereof, and the provision (including the financial responsibility of such corporations or other persons) was determined in good faith and with reasonable care by the board to be adequate at the time of any distribution of the assets by the board pursuant to this chapter.

(b) The amount of the debt or liability has been deposited as provided in Section 2008.

This section does not prescribe the exclusive means of making adequate provision for debts and liabilities.

(Added by Stats. 1975, Ch. 682.)


Distribution may be made either in money or in property or securities and either in installments from time to time or as a whole, if this can be done fairly and ratably and in conformity with the provisions of the articles and the rights of the shareholders, and shall be made as soon as reasonably consistent with the beneficial liquidation of the corporate assets.

(Added by Stats. 1975, Ch. 682.)


(a) If the corporation in process of winding up has both preferred and common shares outstanding, a plan of distribution of the shares, obligations or securities of any other corporation, domestic or foreign, or assets other than money which is not in accordance with the liquidation rights of the preferred shares as specified in the articles may nevertheless be adopted if approved by (1) the board and (2) by approval of the outstanding shares (Section 152) of each class. The plan may provide that such distribution is in complete or partial satisfaction of the rights of any of such shareholders upon distribution and liquidation of the assets.

(b) A plan of distribution so approved shall be binding upon all the shareholders except as provided in subdivision (c). The board shall cause notice of the adoption of the plan to be given by mail within 20 days after its adoption to all holders of shares having a liquidation preference.

(c) Shareholders having a liquidation preference who dissent from the plan of distribution are entitled to be paid the amount of their liquidation preference in cash if they file written demand for payment with the corporation within 30 days after the date of mailing of the notice of the adoption of the plan of distribution, unless the plan of distribution is abandoned. The demand shall state the number and class of the shares held of record by the shareholder in respect of which the shareholder claims payment.

(d) If any such demand for cash payment is filed, the board in its discretion may abandon the plan without further approval by the outstanding shares (Section 152), and all shareholders shall then be entitled to distribution according to their rights and liquidation preferences in the process of winding up.

(e) This section shall not apply to a distribution in accordance with a reorganization the principal terms of which have been approved pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 1202.

(Amended by Stats. 1988, Ch. 919, Sec. 10.)


(a) If any shareholders or creditors are unknown or fail or refuse to accept their payment, dividend, or distribution in cash or property or their whereabouts cannot be ascertained after diligent inquiry, or the existence or amount of a claim of a creditor or shareholder is contingent, contested, or not determined, or if the ownership of any shares of stock is in dispute, the corporation may deposit any such payment, dividend, distribution, or the maximum amount of the claim with the Controller in trust for the benefit of those lawfully entitled to the payment, dividend, distribution, or the amount of the claim. The payment, dividend, or distribution shall be paid over by the depositary to the lawful owners, their representatives or assigns, upon satisfactory proof of title.

(b) For the purpose of providing for the transmittal, receipt, accounting for, claiming, management, and investment of all money or other property deposited with the Controller under subdivision (a), the money or other property shall be deemed to be paid or delivered for deposit with the Controller under Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 1500) of Title 10 of Part 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure, and may be recovered in the manner prescribed in that chapter.

(Amended by Stats. 1996, Ch. 860, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 1997.)


(a) Whenever in the process of winding up a corporation any distribution of assets has been made, otherwise than under an order of court, without prior payment or adequate provision for payment of any of the debts and liabilities of the corporation, any amount so improperly distributed to any shareholder may be recovered by the corporation. Any of such shareholders may be joined as defendants in the same action or brought in on the motion of any other defendant.

(b) Suit may be brought in the name of the corporation to enforce the liability under subdivision (a) against any or all shareholders receiving the distribution by any one or more creditors of the corporation, whether or not they have reduced their claims to judgment.

(c) Shareholders who satisfy any liability under this section shall have the right of ratable contribution from other distributees similarly liable. Any shareholder who has been compelled to return to the corporation more than the shareholder’s ratable share of the amount needed to pay the debts and liabilities of the corporation may require that the corporation recover from any or all of the other distributees such proportion of the amounts received by them upon the improper distribution as to give contribution to those held liable under this section and make the distribution of the assets fair and ratable, according to the respective rights and preferences of the shares, after payment or adequate provision for payment of all the debts and liabilities of the corporation.

(d) As used in this section, “process of winding up” includes proceedings under Chapters 18 and 19 and also any other distribution of assets to shareholders made in contemplation of termination or abandonment of the corporate business.

(Added by Stats. 1975, Ch. 682.)


(a) A corporation which is dissolved nevertheless continues to exist for the purpose of winding up its affairs, prosecuting and defending actions by or against it and enabling it to collect and discharge obligations, dispose of and convey its property and collect and divide its assets, but not for the purpose of continuing business except so far as necessary for the winding up thereof.

(b) No action or proceeding to which a corporation is a party abates by the dissolution of the corporation or by reason of proceedings for winding up and dissolution thereof.

(c) Any assets inadvertently or otherwise omitted from the winding up continue in the dissolved corporation for the benefit of the persons entitled thereto upon dissolution of the corporation and on realization shall be distributed accordingly.

(Amended by Stats. 2006, Ch. 773, Sec. 12. Effective September 29, 2006.)


(a) (1) Causes of action against a dissolved corporation, whether arising before or after the dissolution of the corporation, may be enforced against any of the following:

(A) Against the dissolved corporation, to the extent of its undistributed assets, including, without limitation, any insurance assets held by the corporation that may be available to satisfy claims.

(B) If any of the assets of the dissolved corporation have been distributed to shareholders, against shareholders of the dissolved corporation to the extent of their pro rata share of the claim or to the extent of the corporate assets distributed to them upon dissolution of the corporation, whichever is less.

A shareholder’s total liability under this section may not exceed the total amount of assets of the dissolved corporation distributed to the shareholder upon dissolution of the corporation.

(2) Except as set forth in subdivision (c), all causes of action against a shareholder of a dissolved corporation arising under this section are extinguished unless the claimant commences a proceeding to enforce the cause of action against that shareholder of a dissolved corporation prior to the earlier of the following:

(A) The expiration of the statute of limitations applicable to the cause of action.

(B) Four years after the effective date of the dissolution of the corporation.

(3) As a matter of procedure only, and not for purposes of determining liability, shareholders of the dissolved corporation may be sued in the corporate name of the corporation upon any cause of action against the corporation. This section does not affect the rights of the corporation or its creditors under Section 2009, or the rights, if any, of creditors under the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act, which may arise against the shareholders of a corporation.

(4) This subdivision applies to corporations dissolved on and after January 1, 1992. Corporations dissolved prior to that date are subject to the law in effect prior to that date.

(b) Summons or other process against such a corporation may be served by delivering a copy thereof to an officer, director, or person having charge of its assets or, if no such person can be found, to any agent upon whom process might be served at the time of dissolution. If none of those persons can be found with due diligence and it is so shown by affidavit to the satisfaction of the court, then the court may make an order that summons or other process be served upon the dissolved corporation by personally delivering a copy thereof, together with a copy of the order, to the Secretary of State or an assistant or deputy secretary of state. Service in this manner is deemed complete on the 10th day after delivery of the process to the Secretary of State.

(c) Every such corporation shall survive and continue to exist indefinitely for the purpose of being sued in any quiet title action. Any judgment rendered in any such action shall bind each and all of its shareholders or other persons having any equity or other interest in that corporation, to the extent of their interest therein, and that action shall have the same force and effect as an action brought under the provisions of Sections 410.50 and 410.60 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Service of summons or other process in any such action may be made as provided in Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 413.10) of Title 5 of Part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure or as provided in subdivision (b).

(d) Upon receipt of that process and the fee therefor, the Secretary of State forthwith shall give notice to the corporation as provided in Section 1702.

(e) For purposes of Article 4 (commencing with Section 19071) of Chapter 4 of Part 10.2 of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, the liability described in this section shall be considered a liability at law with respect to a dissolved corporation.

(Amended by Stats. 2019, Ch. 143, Sec. 26. (SB 251) Effective January 1, 2020.)

CORPCorporations Code - CORP