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Hawai'i Association of REALTORS®
Legal Action Fund

Contact: Hawai'i Association of REALTORS®
E-mail: har@hawaiirealtors.com

Ø Statement of Organization and Procedure

  1. Name
  2. Purpose
  3. Funding
  4. Administration
  5. Criteria for participation in matters in which HAR or its member boards are not parties
  6. Form of participation
  7. Requests for Assistance
  8. Procedure for consideration of requests for assistance
  9. Request for additional assistance
  10. Reports to membership

 

STATEMENT OF ORGANIZATION AND PROCEDURE

  1. NAME

The Hawaii Association of REALTORS® ("HAR") hereby establishes a Legal Action Fund, a restricted fund of HAR for the purposes set forth herein.

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  1. PURPOSE

The purposes of the Legal Action Fund are to:

  1. Promote among the Member Boards of HAR an understanding of their rights and duties under Federal and State law and to defray the expense of legal services and advice to that end.

  1. Provide assistance by HAR General Counsel or other retained counsel to the legal counsel of Member Boards on matters relating to threatened or pending litigation or threatened or pending action by any Federal or State agency or administrative body against a Member Board.

  1. Provide financial resources and other assistance to HAR and its Member Boards, their collective officers, directors, and other persons acting in an official capacity on their behalf, engaged in litigation or administrative proceedings, actual or proposed, which is not covered by insurance.

  1. Provide financial resources and other assistance to HAR members or to non-members engaged in litigation or administrative proceedings, actual or proposed, which meet the criteria for Participation set forth in Section V, hereof.

  1. Initiate litigation or administrative proceedings in HAR's name or in the name of another person or entity which meet the Criteria for Participation set forth in Section V, hereof.

  1. Initiate discussions and negotiate with State administrative agencies and departments (including, but not limited to, the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and the Department of Taxation), with respect to the creation of, or revision to, administrative rules and procedures governing the practice of real estate in Hawai'i.

  1. Promote to HAR Member Boards, HAR members, the Hawai'i legal community, and the general public, through education and publicity, the Legal Action Fund and its availability for its stated purposes and objectives.

  1.                         Defray the administrative costs and fees of HAR in connection with its involvement and participation in the Legal Action Fund in furtherance of the above-enumerated objectives.

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  1. FUNDING

The Legal Action Fund shall be funded from any or all of the following:

  1. Such funds that currently exist in the HAR Legal Defense Fund;

  1. A percentage of all HAR annual dues and/or surplus funds (excess of revenues over expenses) as may be determined from time to time by the HAR Board of Directors;

  1. Such special dues and assessments from individual HAR members and Member Boards as may be determined from time to time by the HAR Board of Directors;

  1. Special appropriations as may be determined by the HAR Board of Directors; and

  1. Contributions from HAR Member Boards, HAR members, affiliated organizations, and other persons and entities interested in promoting the interests of the real estate industry and private property rights.  

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  1. ADMINISTRATION

  1. The Legal Action Fund shall be administered by the Legal Action Committee which shall have the authority to authorize expenditures of the Legal Action Fund in accordance with the policies and procedures set forth herein.

  1. The Legal Action Committee shall have the authority to disburse up to the sum of $10,000 on any matter without the approval of the Board of Directors.  Any expenditure on a matter in excess of $10,000 requires the approval of the Board of Directors.

  1. The Executive Committee of HAR, as from time to time constituted, shall serve as the Legal Action Committee. The President of HAR shall serve as the Chair of the Legal Action Committee.

  1. Meetings of the Legal Action Committee shall be scheduled in conjunction with regular meetings of the Executive Committee, or shall be held at the call of the Chair.

  1. Decisions of the Legal Action Committee may be appealed to the Board of Directors as set forth in Section VIII, hereof.

  1. Subject to the approval of the Board of Directors, the Legal Action Committee shall have the authority to establish such rules and procedures as may facilitate the discharge of its responsibilities under this Statement of Organization and Procedure.  

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  1. CRITERIA FOR PARTICIPATION IN MATTERS IN WHICH HAR OR ITS MEMBER BOARDS ARE NOT PARTIES

  1. A litigation matter or an administrative proceeding, threatened or initiated, brought by or against an HAR member or a non-member shall be eligible for consideration by the Legal Action Committee only if it satisfies either of the following criteria:

  1. It relates to a Federal or State governmental agency action or investigation, or to litigation, actual or proposed, which may result in the determination of legal issues that may have important precedential significance to HAR, its Member Boards, a substantial portion of the membership of HAR,  real estate licensees in the State of Hawaii, private property owners or the Hawai'i real estate industry in general; or

  1. It involves issues designed to promote or defend  private property rights.

  1. The Legal Action Committee may authorize participation by the Legal Action Fund in the initiation of litigation or administrative action on behalf of HAR, its Member Boards, or HAR members where the issue to be determined is of significance to a substantial number of the members of HAR,  where an opportunity is presented for clarifying precedent of issues of significance to HAR, its Member Boards, or a substantial portion of the membership of HAR, or where the issue is the promotion or protection of private property rights.

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  1. FORM OF PARTICIPATION

  1. Participation by the Legal Action Fund may take any of the following forms:

  1. Financial support to defray legal fees and expenses of the parties supported;

  1. Expenses for participation of  HAR General Counsel or other retained counsel of HAR to assist the parties' legal counsel in actual or threatened legal or administrative proceedings;

  1. Expenses for HAR General Counsel or other retained counsel of HAR to participate in legal proceedings on behalf of HAR, as amicus curiae ("friend of the court") for the purpose of putting the issues involved in the perspective of their effect or potential effect upon the real estate industry or private property rights; or

  1. Retention of HAR General Counsel or other legal counsel to initiate legal action or administrative proceedings which meet the criteria for such actions as set forth  herein.

  1. The Legal Action Fund shall not be used in any manner which would constitute the inurement of earnings and assets of HAR to the benefit of any individual in a manner which would be inconsistent with HAR's exemption under Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code.

  1. Financial support shall be used solely for legal fees and expenses of the parties supported and may not in any case be used to pay judgments, damages, fines, or settlements, or to pay the legal fees of opposing counsel or the costs of any other party.

  1. The Legal Action Committee reserves the right to impose contingencies, conditions, and/or prerequisites on support as it deems necessary or desirable; including, but not limited to, requiring financial participation by a Member Board or the National Association of REALTORS®, requiring verified statements of fees and expenses to be reviewed by HAR General Counsel prior to disbursement, requiring periodic status reports, requiring reimbursement in the event of settlement or award of attorneys fees and costs, or requiring that HAR General Counsel be consulted on a current and continuing basis concerning decisions related to the litigation or administrative proceeding which is being supported.  Failure to satisfy such contingencies, conditions, and/or prerequisites may result in the immediate suspension of all support of the litigation or administrative proceedings and the termination of such support if the recipient fails to justify such failures or otherwise satisfy the Legal Action Committee that support should be continued.  

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  1. REQUESTS FOR ASSISTANCE

  1. Any request for assistance from the Legal Action Fund for a legal or administrative proceeding shall be in writing and submitted to the Executive Vice President of HAR.  The Executive Vice President shall promptly notify the President and General Counsel of such request.

  1. Any request for assistance from the Legal Action Fund shall contain the following information before it may be considered:

  1. The names of all parties to the litigation or administrative proceeding and the jurisdiction and court or agency where the case has been, or will be brought;

  1. The name of the party or parties to be assisted by the request and the attorney and law firm representing such party, if any;

  1. A summary of the nature of the case and the facts and circumstances surrounding the issues to be determined, with particular emphasis on how the case meets the Criteria for Assistance set forth in Section V, hereof.  Copies of any complaints or answers should be included with the request;

  1. A summary of the proceedings to date, as well as those anticipated through the conclusion of the matter;

  1. Whether the matter is covered by any insurance;

  1. The form of assistance requested.  If the assistance sought is financial, an estimate (or the exact amount, if known) of the legal expenses incurred to date and an estimate of the legal expenses to be incurred by the party to be supported through the conclusion of the matter;

  1. Whether any other organization is providing financial or other support.  Whether assistance has been sought from any HAR Member Board or from the National Association of REALTORS®; and

  1. Any other comments believed to be relevant to the Legal Action Committee's consideration.  

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  1. PROCEDURE FOR CONSIDERATION OF REQUESTS FOR ASSISTANCE

  1. Upon receipt of a written request for assistance from the Legal Action Fund, the HAR Executive Vice President shall determine if the applicant has a copy of the Legal Action Fund Statement of Organization and Procedure and any rules and procedures adopted by the Legal Action Committee.  If not, a copy shall be supplied.

  1. In consultation with HAR General Counsel, the Executive Vice President shall determine whether the request for assistance contains all of the information required as set forth in Section VII, hereof.  If it does not, this shall be brought to the attention of the applicant and time allowed to complete the request.

  1. The complete request for assistance shall then be submitted to HAR General Counsel for review.

  1. The applicant shall be notified and invited to attend the next scheduled meeting of the Legal Action Committee or of the date of a special meeting called by the Chair.

  1. At the next scheduled meeting of the Legal Action Committee or at a special meeting called by the Chair, in executive session, HAR General Counsel shall present the request for assistance to the Legal Action Committee with a recommendation as to whether the request meets the requirements for participation.  In open session, the Legal Action Committee shall then hear from the applicant if the applicant is in attendance.

  1. The Legal Action Committee shall then retire and deliberate in executive session.  In reviewing the request, the Legal Action Committee may seek further information from the requesting parties and the opinions of HAR General Counsel as it deems necessary.  The Legal Action Committee shall make its decision in executive session, and a memorandum of its decision will be furnished to the requesting parties.  If the decision is to provide assistance, it shall state the nature, extent, and conditions under which any such assistance shall be provided.  Should the parties fail to agree to the conditions under which assistance is offered, the request shall be denied.

  1. Any reconsideration of requests for assistance shall be based upon information not presented at the time of the original presentation of the request to the Legal Action Committee.

  1. The decision of the Legal Action Committee shall be final.  

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  1. REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE

  1. At any time after a request for assistance is granted, the requesting party or parties may request additional assistance.  Any such request for additional assistance shall be submitted in writing to the Executive Vice President and shall include:

  1. A summary of the current status of the matter and what has transpired since the initial request; and

  1. If financial assistance is sought, a statement of all expenses incurred to date,  an estimate of additional expenses anticipated to carry the matter to a satisfactory conclusion and a statement of the amount of financial assistance requested.

  1. Upon receipt of the above, the procedures outlined in Section VIII, Paragraphs 3 through 8 shall be implemented.  

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  1. REPORTS TO MEMBERSHIP

  1. The Legal Action Committee shall make periodic reports to the membership and other contributors (no less than quarterly) describing matters for which assistance is being provided and the funds committed to each such project.

  1. The report shall include a description of the conclusion of any matter for which assistance has been provided during the period since the last report.  

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