Corporate Indemnification of Directors and Officers: Time for a Reappraisal

This Article evaluates the benefits and burdens of shifting litigation risk from management to the enterprise. The Article begins by considering the nature of the legal risks confronting the corporate executive, and the principles of common law that developed to counter those risks. The Article proceeds to assess the two statutory responses to threats of personal liability against the corporate executive: indemnification statutes, and director and officer insurance. Finally, after comparing the effective absolute immunity available to corporate executives with the qualified immunity enjoyed by high-level government officials, the Article concludes that indemnification practices have overinsulated the corporate officer from personal liability.