When Is an Association Liable for Chapter Activities?

When Is an Association Liable for Chapter Activities?

By: Eileen Morgan Johnson, CAE

Whether an association can be held legally responsible for a chapter's actions, debts, and other obligations depends on their relationship. The key question: Are the association and its chapters one entity or independent of each other?

The relationship between an association and its chapters is tested from time to time. When good communications exist, the association staff often can steer a chapter away from poor or ill-thought-out decisions that can bring financial and other problems. But when communication breaks down or is infrequent, and when the association gives little guidance to the chapters on how to conduct their activities, liability issues are likely to arise. ...