December 11, 2019

December 10, 2019

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

December 09, 2019

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

A Corporation May Be An Individual But What About Tony The Tiger?

The California legislature was so upset by the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010) that it passed a resolution memorializing its disagreement and asseverating that "Corporations are not people but, instead, are entities created by the laws of states and nations".  AJR No. 22.  Nonetheless, the legislature has previously concluded that while corporations may not be people, they can be "persons" or even "individuals".  See, e.g., Cal. Corp. Code § 18 ("Person" includes a corporation as well as a natural person.") and § 27002(a) ("individual" includes every natural person, domestic or foreign private corporation . . . .").  

Where does this leave animals?  Do persons and individuals include tigers?  According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, a Tiger is an individual for purposes of the Freedom of Information Act which provides for expedited processing of records if “failure to obtain [the] requested records on an expedited basis . . . could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual[.]”  5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(E)(v)(I).  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, holding "Where, as here, 'individual' is used as a noun with no corresponding group or category, its plain meaning is 'human being.'" Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Dept. of Agriculture, Case No. No. 18-16327 (Aug. 12, 2019).  

© 2010-2019 Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP


About this Author

Keith Paul Bishop, Corporate Transactions Lawyer, finance securities attorney, Allen Matkins Law Firm

Keith Paul Bishop is a partner in Allen Matkins' Corporate and Securities practice group, and works out of the Orange County office. He represents clients in a wide range of corporate transactions, including public and private securities offerings of debt and equity, mergers and acquisitions, proxy contests and tender offers, corporate governance matters and federal and state securities laws (including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and the Dodd-Frank Act), investment adviser, financial services regulation, and California administrative law. He regularly advises clients...