Change-In-Control Agreement

Change in Control Agreement

Exhibit 10.3

CHANGE IN CONTROL AGREEMENT

THIS CHANGE IN CONTROL AGREEMENT (this “Agreement”), effective as of December     , 2006 (the “Effective Date”) is entered into by and among Sunstone Hotel Investors, Inc., a Maryland corporation (the “Company”) and Ken Cruse (the “Executive”).

WHEREAS, the Executive is employed by the Company as its Chief Financial Officer; and

WHEREAS, the Board of Directors of the Company (the “Board”) believes that it is in the best interest of the Company that the Executive be reasonably secure in his employment and position with the Company, so that the Executive can exercise independent judgment as to the best interest of the Company and its shareholders, without distraction by any personal uncertainties or risks regarding the Executive’s employment with the Company created by the possibility of a change in control of the Company.

NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY AGREED AS FOLLOWS:

1. Term of this Agreement

This Agreement will continue in effect until the earlier of: (a) the termination or cessation of the Executive’s employment with the Company before a Change in Control (as defined below), or (b) the Company’s performance of all of its obligations, and the Executive’s receipt of all of the payments and benefits to which he is entitled, under this Agreement (the “Term”).

2. Termination of Employment Upon a Change in Control.

(a) If a Change in Control (as defined below) occurs during the Term, and the Executive’s employment is terminated by the Company (or its successor, as the case may be) without Cause or by the Executive for Good Reason (both such capitalized terms as defined below), in each case within twelve (12) months after the effective date of the Change in Control, then the Executive shall be entitled to the following payments and benefits, subject to the terms and conditions set forth in this Agreement:

(i) The Executive shall be paid, in two lump sum payments: (A) the Executive’s earned but unpaid base salary and accrued but unpaid vacation pay through the Date of Termination (as defined below) and any annual bonus for any fiscal year of the Company that ends on or before the Date of Termination to the extent not previously paid (the “Accrued Obligations”), and (B) an amount (the “Severance Amount”) equal to two (2) times the sum of (x) the base salary in effect on the Date of Termination plus (y) the Bonus Severance Amount (as defined below) in effect on the Date of Termination. For purposes hereof, the “Bonus Severance Amount” shall equal the lesser of the Executive’s target annual


bonus for the year in which the Date of Termination takes place or the actual annual bonus that the Executive earned in the calendar year prior to the year in which the Date of Termination occurs. The Accrued Obligations shall be paid when due under California law and the Severance Amount shall be paid no later than 60 days after the Date of Termination;

(ii) For a period of eighteen (18) months following the Termination Date, the Company shall, at the Company’s sole expense, continue to provide the Executive and the Executive’s eligible family members with group health insurance coverage at least equal to that which would have been provided to them if the Executive’s employment had not been terminated (or at the Company’s election, pay the applicable COBRA premium for such coverage); provided, however, that if the Executive becomes re-employed with another employer and is eligible to receive group health insurance coverage under another employer’s plans, the Company’s obligations under this Section 2(a)(ii) shall be reduced to the extent comparable coverage is actually available to the Executive and the Executive’s eligible family members, and any such coverage shall be reported by the Executive to the Company;

(iii) To the extent not theretofore paid or provided, the Company shall timely pay or provide to the Executive any vested benefits and other amounts or benefits required to be paid or provided or which the Executive is eligible to receive as of the Termination Date under any plan, program, policy or practice or contract or agreement of the Company and its affiliates; and

(iv) All outstanding stock options, restricted stock units and other equity awards granted to the Executive under any of the Company’s equity incentive plans (or awards substituted therefore covering the securities of a successor company) shall become immediately vested and exercisable in full.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, it shall be a condition to the Executive’s right to receive the amounts and benefits provided for in Sections 2(a)(i)(B), 2(a)(ii), 2(a)(iii) and 2(a)(iv) above that the Executive execute, deliver to the Company and not revoke a release of claims in substantially the form attached hereto as Exhibit A.

(b) For purposes of this Agreement, “Change in Control” shall mean the occurrence of any of the following events:

(i) Any transaction or event resulting in the beneficial ownership of voting securities, directly or indirectly, by any “person” or “group” (as those terms are defined in Sections 3(a)(9), 13(d), and 14(d) of

 

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the Exchange Act and the rules thereunder) having “beneficial ownership” (as determined pursuant to Rule 13d-3 under the Exchange Act) of securities entitled to vote generally in the election of directors (“voting securities”) of the Company that represent greater than 50% of the combined voting power of the Company’s then outstanding voting securities (unless Executive has beneficial ownership of at least 50% of such voting securities), other than any transaction or event resulting in the beneficial ownership of securities:

(A) By a trustee or other fiduciary holding securities under any employee benefit plan (or related trust) sponsored or maintained by the Company or any person controlled by the Company or by any employee benefit plan (or related trust) sponsored or maintained by the Company or any person controlled by the Company, or

(B) By the Company or a corporation owned, directly or indirectly, by the stockholders of the Company in substantially the same proportions as their ownership of the stock of the Company, or

(C) Pursuant to a transaction described in clause (iii) below that would not be a Change in Control under clause (iii);

(ii) Individuals who, as of the Effective Date, constitute the Board (the “Incumbent Board”) cease for any reason to constitute at least a majority of the Board; provided, however, that any individual becoming a director subsequent to the date hereof whose election by the Company’s stockholders, or nomination for election by the Board, was approved by a vote of at least a majority of the directors then comprising the Incumbent Board shall be considered as though such individual were a member of the Incumbent Board, but excluding, for this purpose, any such individual whose initial assumption of office occurs as a result of an election contest with respect to the election or removal of directors or other solicitation of proxies or consents by or on behalf of a person other than the Board;

(iii) The consummation by the Company (whether directly involving the Company or indirectly involving the Company through one or more intermediaries) of (x) a merger, consolidation, reorganization, or business combination or (y) a sale or other disposition of all or substantially all of the Company’s assets or (z) the acquisition of assets or stock of another entity, in each case, other than a transaction

 

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(A) which results in the Company’s voting securities outstanding immediately before the transaction continuing to represent (either by remaining outstanding or by being converted into voting securities of the Company or the person that, as a result of the transaction, controls, directly or indirectly, the Company or owns, directly or indirectly, all or substantially all of the Company’s assets or otherwise succeeds to the business of the Company (the Company or such person, the “Successor Entity”)) directly or indirectly, greater than 50% of the combined voting power of the Successor Entity’s outstanding voting securities immediately after the transaction, and

(B) after which no person or group beneficially owns voting securities representing greater than 50% of the combined voting power of the Successor Entity; provided, however, that no person or group shall be treated for purposes of this clause (B) as beneficially owning greater than 50% of the combined voting power of the Successor Entity solely as a result of the voting power held in the Company prior to the consummation of the transaction; or

(iv) The approval by the Company’s stockholders of a liquidation or dissolution of the Company.

For purposes of clause (i) above, the calculation of voting power shall be made as if the date of the acquisition were a record date for a vote of the Company’s stockholders, and for purposes of clause (iii) above, the calculation of voting power shall be made as if the date of the consummation of the transaction were a record date for a vote of the Company’s stockholders.

(c) For purposes of this Agreement, “Cause” shall mean the occurrence of any one or more of the following events:

(i) The Executive’s willful failure to perform or gross negligence in performing his duties owed to the Company, after ten (10) days following a written notice being delivered to the Executive by the Board, which notice specifies such failure or negligence;

(ii) The Executive’s commission of an act of fraud or dishonesty in the performance of his duties;

(iii) The Executive’s conviction of, or entry by the Executive of a guilty or no contest plea to, any felony or any felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude;

(iv) Any breach by the Executive of his fiduciary duty or duty of loyalty to the Company; or

 

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(v) The Executive’s material breach of [the Non-Competition Agreement or the Non-Disclosure Agreement – Question for client: are these agreements applicable to the Executive?].

The termination of employment of the Executive shall not be deemed to be for Cause unless and until there shall have been delivered to the Executive a copy of a resolution duly adopted by the affirmative vote of a majority the Board at a meeting of the Board called and held for such purpose (after reasonable notice is provided to the Executive and the Executive is given an opportunity to be heard before the Board), finding that, in the good faith opinion of the Board, sufficient Cause exists to terminate the Executive pursuant to this Section 2(c); provided, that if the Executive is a member of the Board, the Executive shall not participate in the deliberations regarding such resolution, vote on such resolution, nor shall the Executive be counted in determining a majority of the Board.

(d) For purposes of this Agreement, “Date of Termination” means (i) if the Executive’s employment is terminated by the Company for Cause, the date of receipt of the Notice of Termination or any later date specified therein (which date shall not be more than thirty (30) days after the giving of such notice), as the case may be, or (ii) if the Executive’s employment is terminated by the Executive with or without Good Reason, the Date of Termination shall be the thirtieth day after the date on which the Executive notifies the Company of such termination, unless otherwise agreed by the Company and the Executive.

(e) For purposes of this Agreement, “Good Reason” shall mean the occurrence of any one or more of the following events without the Executive’s prior written consent, unless the Company cures the circumstances constituting Good Reason (provided such circumstances are capable of cure) prior to the Date of Termination:

(i) A material reduction in the Executive’s titles, duties, authority and responsibilities, or the assignment to the Executive of any duties materially inconsistent with the Executive’s position, authority, duties or responsibilities as in effect immediately prior to a Change in Control without the written consent of the Executive;

(ii) The Company’s reduction of the Executive’s annual base salary or bonus opportunity as in effect immediately prior to a Change in Control;

(iii) The relocation of the Company’s headquarters to a location more than thirty five (35) miles from the Company’s headquarters as of the date immediately prior to a Change in Control; or

(iv) The Company’s failure to cure a material breach of its obligations under this Agreement within fifteen (15) days after written notice is delivered to the Board by the Executive which specifically identifies the manner in which the Executive believes that the Company has breached its obligations under this Agreement.

 

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(f) Notice of Termination. Any termination by the Company for Cause, or by the Executive for Good Reason, shall be communicated by Notice of Termination to the other parties hereto given in accordance with Section 7(c) of this Agreement. For purposes of this Agreement, a “Notice of Termination” means a written notice which (i) indicates the specific termination provision in this Agreement relied upon, (ii) to the extent applicable, sets forth in reasonable detail the facts and circumstances claimed to provide a basis for termination of the Executive’s employment under the provision so indicated and (iii) if the Date of Termination is other than the date of receipt of such notice, specifies the termination date (which date shall be not more than thirty (30) days after the giving of such notice). The failure by the Executive or the Company to set forth in the Notice of Termination any fact or circumstance which contributes to a showing of Good Reason or Cause shall not waive any right of the Executive or the Company, respectively, hereunder or preclude the Executive or the Company, respectively, from asserting such fact or circumstance in enforcing the Executive’s or the Company’s rights hereunder.

3. Full Settlement. The Company’s obligation to make the payments provided for in this Agreement and otherwise to perform its obligations hereunder shall not be affected by any set-off, counterclaim, recoupment, defense or other claim, right or action which the Company may have against the Executive or others. In no event shall the Executive be obligated to seek other employment or take any other action by way of mitigation of the amounts payable to the Executive under any of the provisions of this Agreement and except as expressly provided, such amounts shall not be reduced whether or not the Executive obtains other employment. If any party to this Agreement institutes any action, suit, counterclaim, appeal, arbitration or mediation for any relief against another party, declaratory or otherwise (collectively, an “Action”), to enforce the terms hereof or to declare rights hereunder, then the Prevailing Party in such Action shall be entitled to recover from the other party all costs and expenses of the Action, including reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs (at the Prevailing Party’s attorneys’ then-prevailing rates) incurred in bringing and prosecuting or defending such Action and/or enforcing any judgment, order, ruling or award (collectively, a “Decision”) granted therein, all of which shall be deemed to have accrued on the commencement of such Action and shall be paid whether or not such Action is prosecuted to a Decision. Any Decision entered in such Action shall contain a specific provision providing for the recovery of attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in enforcing such Decision. A court or arbitrator shall fix the amount of reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs upon the request of either party. Any judgment or order entered in any final judgment shall contain a specific provision providing for the recovery of all costs and expenses of suit, including reasonable attorneys’ fees and expert fees and costs incurred in enforcing, perfecting and executing such judgment. For the purposes of this paragraph, costs shall include, without limitation, in addition to costs incurred in prosecution or defense of the underlying action,

 

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reasonable attorneys’ fees, costs, expenses and expert fees and costs incurred in the following: (a) postjudgement motions and collection actions; (b) contempt proceedings; (c) garnishment, levy, debtor and third party examinations; (d) discovery; (e) bankruptcy litigation; and (f) appeals of any order or judgment. “Prevailing Party” within the meaning of this Section includes, without limitation, a party who agrees to dismiss an Action (excluding an Action instituted in contravention of the requirements of Paragraph 7(b) below) in consideration for the other party’s payment of the amounts allegedly due or performance of the covenants allegedly breached, or obtains substantially the relief sought by such party.

4. Certain Additional Payments by the Company.

(a) All capitalized terms used in this Section 4 not otherwise defined in this Agreement are defined in Section 4(g). Anything in this Agreement to the contrary notwithstanding and except as set forth below, in the event it shall be determined that any Payment would be subject to the Excise Tax, then the Executive shall be entitled to receive an additional payment (the “Excise Tax Gross-Up Payment”) in an amount such that, after payment by the Executive of all taxes (and any interest or penalties imposed with respect to such taxes), including, without limitation, any income taxes (and any interest and penalties imposed with respect thereto) and Excise Tax imposed upon the Excise Tax Gross-Up Payment, the Executive retains an amount of the Excise Tax Gross-Up Payment equal to the Excise Tax imposed upon the Payments. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this Section 4(a), if it shall be determined that the Executive is entitled to the Excise Tax Gross-Up Payment, but that the Parachute Value of all Payments does not exceed 110% of the Safe Harbor Amount, then no Excise Tax Gross-Up Payment shall be made to the Executive and the amounts payable under this Agreement shall be reduced so that the Parachute Value of all Payments, in the aggregate, equals the Safe Harbor Amount. The reduction of the amounts payable hereunder, if applicable, shall be made by first reducing the payments under Section 2(a)(i), unless an alternative method of reduction is elected by the Executive, and in any event shall be made in such a manner as to maximize the Value of all Payments actually made to the Executive. For purposes of reducing the Payments to the Safe Harbor Amount, only amounts payable under this Agreement (and no other Payments) shall be reduced. If the reduction of the amount payable under this Agreement would not result in a reduction of the Parachute Value of all Payments to the Safe Harbor Amount, no amounts payable under the Agreement shall be reduced pursuant to this Section 4(a). The Company’s obligation to make Excise Tax Gross-Up Payments under this Section 4 shall not be conditioned upon the Executive’s termination of employment.

(b) Subject to the provisions of Section 4(c), all determinations required to be made under this Section 4, including whether and when an Excise Tax Gross-Up Payment is required, the amount of such Excise Tax Gross-Up Payment and the assumptions to be utilized in arriving at such determination,

 

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shall be made by such nationally recognized accounting firm as may be selected by the Company and reasonably acceptable to the Executive (the “Accounting Firm”); provided, that the Accounting Firm’s determination shall be made based upon “substantial authority” within the meaning of Section 6662 of the Code. The Accounting Firm shall provide detailed supporting calculations both to the Company and the Executive within 15 business days of the receipt of notice from the Executive that there has been a Payment or such earlier time as is requested by the Company. All fees and expenses of the Accounting Firm shall be borne solely by the Company. Any Excise Tax Gross-Up Payment, as determined pursuant to this Section 4, shall be paid by the Company to the Executive within five days of the receipt of the Accounting Firm’s determination. Any determination by the Accounting Firm shall be binding upon the Company and the Executive, unless the Company obtains an opinion of outside legal counsel, based upon at least “substantial authority” within the meaning of Section 6662 of the Code, reaching a different determination, in which event such legal opinion shall be binding upon the Company and the Executive. As a result of the uncertainty in the application of Section 4999 of the Code at the time of the initial determination by the Accounting Firm hereunder, it is possible that Excise Tax Gross-Up Payments that will not have been made by the Company should have been made (the “Underpayment”), consistent with the calculations required to be made hereunder. In the event the Company exhausts its remedies pursuant to Section 8(c) and the Executive thereafter is required to make a payment of any Excise Tax, the Accounting Firm shall determine the amount of the Underpayment that has occurred and any such Underpayment shall be promptly paid by the Company to or for the benefit of the Executive.

(c) The Executive shall notify the Company in writing of any claim by the Internal Revenue Service that, if successful, would require the payment by the Company of the Excise Tax Gross-Up Payment. Such notification shall be given as soon as practicable, but no later than 10 business days after the Executive is informed in writing of such claim. The Executive shall apprise the Company of the nature of such claim and the date on which such claim is requested to be paid. The Executive shall not pay such claim prior to the expiration of the 30-day period following the date on which the Executive gives such notice to the Company (or such shorter period ending on the date that any payment of taxes with respect to such claim is due). If the Company notifies the Executive in writing prior to the expiration of such period that the Company desires to contest such claim, the Executive shall:

(i) give the Company any information reasonably requested by the Company relating to such claim,

(ii) take such action in connection with contesting such claim as the Company shall reasonably request in writing from time to-time, including, without limitation, accepting legal representation with respect to such claim by an attorney reasonably selected by the Company,

 

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(iii) cooperate with the Company in good faith in order effectively to contest such claim, and

(iv) permit the Company to participate in any proceedings relating to such claim;

provided, however, that the Company shall bear and pay directly all costs and expenses (including additional interest and penalties) incurred in connection with such-contest, and shall indemnify and hold the Executive harmless, on an after-tax basis, for any Excise Tax or income tax (including interest and penalties) imposed as a result of such representation and payment of costs and expenses. Without limitation on the foregoing provisions of this Section 4(c), the Company shall control all proceedings taken in connection with such contest, and, at its sole discretion, may pursue or forgo any and all administrative appeals, proceedings, hearings and conferences with the applicable taxing authority in respect of such claim and may, at its sole discretion, either direct the Executive to pay the tax claimed and sue for a refund or contest the claim in any permissible manner, and the Executive agrees to prosecute such contest to a determination before any administrative tribunal, in a court of initial jurisdiction and in one or more appellate courts, as the Company shall determine; provided, however, that, if the Company directs the Executive to pay such claim and sue for a refund, the Company shall advance the amount of such payment to the Executive, on an interest-free basis, and shall indemnify and hold the Executive harmless, on an after-tax basis, from any Excise Tax or income tax (including interest or penalties) imposed with respect to such advance or with respect to any imputed income in connection with such advance; and provided, further, that any extension of the statute of limitations relating to payment of taxes for the taxable year of the Executive with respect to which such contested amount is claimed to be due is limited solely to such contested amount. Furthermore, the Company’s control of the contest shall be limited to issues with respect to which the Excise Tax Gross-Up Payment would be payable hereunder, and the Executive shall be entitled to settle or contest, as the case may be, any other issue raised by the Internal Revenue Service or any other taxing authority.

(d) If, after the receipt by the Executive of an Excise Tax Gross-Up Payment or an amount advanced by the Company pursuant to Section 4(c), the Executive becomes entitled to receive any refund with respect to the Excise Tax to which such Excise Tax Gross-Up Payment relates or with respect to such claim, the Executive shall (subject to the Company’s complying with the requirements of Section 4(c), if applicable) promptly pay to the Company the amount of such refund (together with any interest paid or credited thereon after taxes applicable thereto). If, after the receipt by the Executive of an amount advanced by the Company pursuant to Section 4(c), a determination is made that the Executive shall not be entitled to any refund with respect to such claim and the Company does not notify the Executive in writing of its intent to contest such denial of refund prior to the expiration of 30 days after such determination, then such advance shall be forgiven and shall not be required to be repaid and the amount of such advance shall offset, to the extent thereof, the amount of Excise Tax Gross-Up Payment required to be paid.

 

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(e) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Section 4, the Company may, in its sole discretion, withhold and pay over to the Internal Revenue Service or any other applicable taxing authority, for the benefit of the Executive, all or any portion of any Excise Tax Gross-Up Payment, and the Executive hereby consents to such withholding.

(f) Any other liability for unpaid or unwithheld Excise Taxes shall be borne exclusively by the Company, in accordance with Section 3403 of the Code. The foregoing sentence shall not in any manner relieve the Company of any of its obligations under this Employment Agreement.

(g) Definitions. The following terms shall have the following meanings for purposes of this Section 4:

(i) “Excise Tax” shall mean the excise tax imposed by Section 4999 of the Code, together with any interest or penalties imposed with respect to such excise tax.

(ii) “Parachute Value” of a Payment shall mean the present value as of the date of the change of control for purposes of Section 280G of the Code of the portion of such Payment that constitutes a “parachute payment” under Section 280G(b)(2), as determined by the Accounting Firm for purposes of determining whether and to what extent the Excise Tax will apply to such Payment.

(iii) A “Payment” shall mean any payment or distribution in the nature of compensation (within the meaning of Section 280G(b)(2) of the Code) to or for the benefit of the Executive, which is paid or payable pursuant to this Agreement or any other plan or agreement of the Company.

(iv) The “Safe Harbor Amount” shall mean 2.99 times the Executive’s “base amount,” within the meaning of Section 280G(b)(3) of the Code.

(v) “Value” of a Payment shall mean the economic present value of a Payment as of the date of the change of control for purposes of Section 280G of the Code, as determined by the Accounting Firm using the discount rate required by Section 280G(d)(4) of the Code.

5. Indemnification Agreement. On the Effective Date, the Company and the Executive shall enter into an indemnification agreement in substantially the form attached hereto as Exhibit B (the “Indemnification Agreement”).

 

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6. Successors.

(a) This Agreement is personal to the Executive and without the prior written consent of the Company shall not be assignable by the Executive otherwise than by will or the laws of descent and distribution. This Agreement shall inure to the benefit of and be enforceable by the Executive’s legal representatives.

(b) This Agreement shall inure to the benefit of and be binding upon the Company and its successors and assigns.

(c) The Company will require any successor (whether direct or indirect, by purchase merger, consolidation or otherwise) to all or substantially all of the business and/or assets of the Company to assume and agree to perform this Agreement in the same manner and to the same extent that the Company would be required to perform it if no such succession had taken place. As used in this Agreement, “Company” shall mean the Company as hereinbefore defined and any successor to its business and/or assets as aforesaid which assumes and agrees to perform this Agreement by operation of law, or otherwise.

7. Miscellaneous.

(a) Governing Law. This Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of California, without reference to principles of conflict of laws. The captions of this Agreement are not part of the provisions hereof and shall have no force or effect. This Agreement may not be amended or modified otherwise than by a written agreement executed by the parties hereto or their respective successors and legal representatives.

(b) Arbitration. To the fullest extent allowed by law, any controversy, claim or dispute between Executive and the Company (and/or any of its owners, directors, officers, employees, affiliates, or agents) relating to or arising out of Executive’s employment or the cessation of that employment will be submitted to final and binding arbitration in the county in which Executive work(ed) for determination by one arbitrator in accordance with the American Arbitration Association’s (“AAA”) National Rules for the Resolution of Employment Disputes, as the exclusive remedy for such controversy, claim or dispute. In any such arbitration, the parties may conduct discovery in accordance with the applicable rules of the arbitration forum, except that the arbitrator shall have the authority to order and permit discovery as the arbitrator may deem necessary and appropriate in accordance with applicable state or federal discovery statutes. The arbitrator shall issue a reasoned, written decision, and shall have full authority to award all remedies which would be available in court. The parties shall share the filing fees required for the arbitration, provided that Executive shall not be required to pay an amount in excess of the filing fees required by a federal or state court with jurisdiction. The Company shall pay the arbitrator’s fees and any AAA

 

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administrative expenses. Any judgment upon the award rendered by the arbitrator(s) may be entered in any court having jurisdiction thereof. Possible disputes covered by the above include (but are not limited to) unpaid wages, breach of contract, torts, violation of public policy, discrimination, harassment, or any other employment-related claims under laws including but not limited to, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, the California Labor Code, and any other statutes or laws relating to an employee’s relationship with his/her employer, regardless of whether such dispute is initiated by the Executive or the Company. Thus, this bilateral arbitration agreement applies to any and all claims that the Company may have against the Executive, including but not limited to, claims for misappropriation of Company property, disclosure of proprietary information or trade secrets, interference with contract, trade libel, gross negligence, or any other claim for alleged wrongful conduct or breach of the duty of loyalty by the Executive. However, notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained herein, Company and Executive shall have their respective rights to seek and obtain injunctive relief with respect to any controversy, claim or dispute to the extent permitted by law. Claims for workers’ compensation benefits and unemployment insurance (or any other claims where mandatory arbitration is prohibited by law) are not covered by this arbitration agreement, and such claims may be presented by either Executive or the Company to the appropriate court or government agency. BY AGREEING TO THIS BINDING ARBITRATION PROVISION, BOTH EXECUTIVE AND THE COMPANY GIVE UP ALL RIGHTS TO TRIAL BY JURY. This arbitration agreement is to be construed as broadly as is permissible under applicable law.

(c) Notices. All notices and other communications hereunder shall be in writing and shall be given by hand delivery to the other party or by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, postage prepaid, addressed as follows:

If to the Executive: at the Executive’s most recent address on the records of the Company,

If to the Company:

The Company Hotel Investors, Inc.

903 Calle America, Suite 100

San Clemente, CA 92673

Attn: Corporate Secretary

or to such other address as either party shall have furnished to the other in writing in accordance herewith. Notice and communications shall be effective when actually received by the addressee.

 

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(d) Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Notwithstanding anything herein to the contrary, if the Company determines, in its good faith judgment, that any transfer or deemed transfer of funds hereunder is likely to be construed as a personal loan prohibited by Section 13(k) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, then such transfer or deemed transfer shall not be made to the extent necessary or appropriate so as not to violate the Exchange Act and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder.

(e) Severability. The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision of this Agreement shall not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision of this Agreement. If any provision or term hereof is deemed to have exceeded applicable legal authority or shall be in conflict with applicable legal limitations, such provision shall be reformed and rewritten as necessary to achieve consistency with such applicable law.

(f) Withholding. The Company may withhold from any amounts payable under this Agreement such Federal, state, local or foreign taxes as shall be required to be withheld pursuant to any applicable law or regulation. In addition, notwithstanding any other provision of this Agreement, the Company may, in its sole discretion, withhold and pay over to the Internal Revenue Service or any other applicable taxing authority, for the benefit of the Executive, all or any portion of any Excise Tax Gross-Up Payment and the Executive hereby consents to such withholding.

(g) No Waiver. The Executive’s or the Company’s failure to insist upon strict compliance with any provision of this Agreement or the failure to assert any right the Executive or the Company may have hereunder, including, without limitation, the right of the Executive to terminate employment for Good Reason pursuant to Section 2(e) of this Agreement, shall not be deemed to be a waiver of such provision or right or any other provision or right of this Agreement.

(h) 409A of the Code. This Agreement shall be interpreted in a manner to comply with Section 409A of the Code. If any compensation or benefits provided by this Agreement would result in the application of Section 409A of the Code, the Executive and the Company will agree on a modification to the Agreement in order to, where applicable (1) exclude such compensation from the definition of “deferred compensation” within the meaning of such Section 409A, or (2) comply with the provisions of Section 409A, other applicable provision(s) of the Code and/or any rules, regulations or other regulatory guidance issued under such statutory provisions and to make such modifications to comply with the provisions of Section 409A.

 

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(i) Entire Agreement. As of the Effective Date, this Agreement, the Indemnification Agreement, [the Noncompetition Agreement and the Non-Disclosure Agreement between Ken Cruse and the Company, dated             ,] constitute the final, complete and exclusive agreement between the Executive and the Company with respect to the subject matter hereof and replaces and supersedes any and all other agreements, offers or promises, whether oral or written, made to Executive with respect to the subject matter hereof.

(j) Consultation with Counsel. The Executive acknowledges that he has had a full and complete opportunity to consult with counsel and other advisors of his own choosing concerning the terms, enforceability and implications of this Agreement, and that the Company has not made any representations or warranties to the Executive concerning the terms, enforceability or implications of this Agreement other than as reflected in this Agreement.

(k) Counterparts. This Agreement may be executed simultaneously in two counterparts, each of which shall be deemed an original but which together shall constitute one and the same instrument.

(l) Employment Status. Nothing in this Agreement provides the Executive with any continued employment with the Company or any affiliate or shall interfere with the Company’s right to terminate the Executive’s employment at any time and for any (or no) reason.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the Executive has hereunto set the Executive’s hand and, pursuant to the authorization from the Board, the Company has caused these presents to be executed in its name on its behalf, all as of the day and year first above written.

 

SUNSTONE HOTEL INVESTORS, INC.,
By:       
  Name:     
  Its:     

 

“EXECUTIVE”
   
Name: Ken Cruse

 

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EXHIBIT A

TO CHANGE IN CONTROL AGREEMENT

GENERAL RELEASE

For a valuable consideration, the receipt and adequacy of which are hereby acknowledged, the undersigned does hereby release and forever discharge the “Releasees” hereunder, consisting of Sunstone Hotel Investors, Inc., a Maryland corporation and each of its partners, subsidiaries, associates, affiliates, successors, heirs, assigns, and each of their agents, directors, officers, employees, representatives, lawyers, insurers, and all persons acting by, through, under or in concert with them, or any of them, of and from any and all manner of action or actions, cause or causes of action, in law or in equity, suits, debts, liens, contracts, agreements, promises, liability, claims, demands, damages, losses, costs, attorneys’ fees or expenses, of any nature whatsoever, known or unknown, fixed or contingent (hereinafter called “Claims”), which the undersigned now has or may hereafter have against the Releasees, or any of them, by reason of any matter, cause, or thing whatsoever from the beginning of time to the date hereof. The Claims released herein include, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, any Claims in any way arising out of, based upon, or related to the employment or termination of employment of the undersigned by the Releasees, or any of them; any alleged breach of any express or implied contract of employment; any alleged torts or other alleged legal restrictions on Releasee’s right to terminate the employment of the undersigned; and any alleged violation of any federal, state or local statute or ordinance including, without limitation, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination In Employment Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act, and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.

THE UNDERSIGNED ACKNOWLEDGES THAT HE HAS BEEN ADVISED BY LEGAL COUNSEL AND IS FAMILIAR WITH THE PROVISIONS OF CALIFORNIA CIVIL CODE SECTION 1542, WHICH PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

“A GENERAL RELEASE DOES NOT EXTEND TO CLAIMS WHICH THE CREDITOR DOES NOT KNOW OR SUSPECT TO EXIST IN HIS FAVOR AT THE TIME OF EXECUTING THE RELEASE, WHICH IF KNOWN BY HIM MUST HAVE MATERIALLY AFFECTED HIS SETTLEMENT WITH THE DEBTOR.”

THE UNDERSIGNED, BEING AWARE OF SAID CODE SECTION, HEREBY EXPRESSLY WAIVES ANY RIGHTS HE MAY HAVE THEREUNDER, AS WELL AS UNDER ANY OTHER STATUTES OR COMMON LAW PRINCIPLES OF SIMILAR EFFECT.


IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE OLDER WORKERS BENEFIT PROTECTION ACT OF 1990, THE UNDERSIGNED IS HEREBY ADVISED AS FOLLOWS:

(A) HE HAS THE RIGHT TO CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY BEFORE SIGNING THIS RELEASE;

(B) HE HAS TWENTY-ONE (21) DAYS TO CONSIDER THIS RELEASE BEFORE SIGNING IT; AND

(C) HE HAS SEVEN (7) DAYS AFTER SIGNING THIS RELEASE TO REVOKE THIS RELEASE, AND THIS RELEASE WILL BECOME EFFECTIVE UPON THE EXPIRATION OF THAT REVOCATION PERIOD.

The undersigned represents and warrants that there has been no assignment or other transfer of any interest in any Claim which he may have against Releasees, or any of them, and the undersigned agrees to indemnify and hold Releasees, and each of them, harmless from any liability, Claims, demands, damages, costs, expenses and attorneys’ fees incurred by Releasees, or any of them, as the result of any such assignment or transfer or any rights or Claims under any such assignment or transfer. It is the intention of the parties that this indemnity does not require payment as a condition precedent to recovery by the Releasees against the undersigned under this indemnity.

The undersigned agrees that if he hereafter commences any suit arising out of, based upon, or relating to any of the Claims released hereunder or in any manner asserts against Releasees, or any of them, any of the Claims released hereunder, then the undersigned agrees to pay to Releasees, and each of them, in addition to any other damages caused to Releasees thereby, all attorneys’ fees incurred by Releasees in defending or otherwise responding to said suit or Claim.

The undersigned further understands and agrees that neither the payment of any sum of money nor the execution of this Release shall constitute or be construed as an admission of any liability whatsoever by the Releasees, or any of them, who have consistently taken the position that they have no liability whatsoever to the undersigned.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned has executed this Release this      day of                      , 20    .

 

   
Ken Cruse

 

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EXHIBIT B

INDEMNIFICATION AGREEMENT

THIS INDEMNIFICATION AGREEMENT is made and entered into this         th day of December, 2006 (“Agreement”), by and between Sunstone Hotel Investors, Inc., a Maryland corporation (the “Company”), and Ken Cruse (“Indemnitee”).

WHEREAS, at the request of the Company, Indemnitee currently serves as an officer of the Company and may, therefore, be subjected to claims, suits or proceedings arising as a result of his service; and

WHEREAS, as an inducement to Indemnitee to continue to serve as an officer, the Company has agreed to indemnify and to advance expenses and costs incurred by Indemnitee in connection with any such claims, suits or proceedings, to the maximum extent permitted by law; and

WHEREAS, the parties by this Agreement desire to set forth their agreement regarding indemnification and advance of expenses;

NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the premises and the covenants contained herein, the Company and Indemnitee do hereby covenant and agree as follows:

Section 1. Definitions. For purposes of this Agreement:

 

(a) “Change in Control” means a Change in Control as defined in the Change in Control Agreement attached to this Agreement.

 

(b) “Corporate Status” means the status of a person who is or was a director, trustee, officer, employee or agent of the Company or of any other corporation, partnership, joint venture, trust, employee benefit plan or other enterprise (each, an “Enterprise”) for which such person is or was serving at the request of the Company.

 

(c) “Disinterested Director” means a director of the Company who is not and was not a party to the Proceeding in respect of which indemnification or advance of Expenses is sought by Indemnitee.

 

(d) “Effective Date” means the date set forth in the first paragraph of this Agreement.

 

(e) “Expenses” shall include all reasonable and out-of-pocket attorneys’ fees, retainers, court costs, transcript costs, fees of experts, witness fees, travel expenses, duplicating costs, printing and binding costs, telephone charges, postage, delivery service fees, and all other disbursements or expenses of the types customarily incurred in connection with prosecuting, defending, preparing to prosecute or defend, investigating, or being or preparing to be a witness in a Proceeding. Expenses shall also include Expenses incurred in connection with any appeal resulting from any Proceeding, including without limitation the premiums, security for, and other costs relating to any cost bond, supersedeas bond or other appeal bond or its equivalent.


(f) “Independent Counsel” means a law firm, or a member of a law firm, that is experienced in matters of corporation law and neither is, nor in the past five years has been, retained to represent: (i) the Company or Indemnitee in any matter material to either such party (other than with respect to matters concerning Indemnitee under this Agreement or of other indemnitees under similar agreements), or (ii) any other party to or witness in the Proceeding giving rise to a claim for indemnification hereunder. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the term “Independent Counsel” shall not include any person who, under the applicable standards of professional conduct then prevailing, would have a conflict of interest in representing either the Company or Indemnitee in an action to determine Indemnitee’s rights under this Agreement. If a Change of Control has not occurred, Independent Counsel shall be selected by the Board of Directors, with the approval of Indemnitee, which approval will not be unreasonably withheld. If a Change of Control has occurred, Independent Counsel shall be selected by Indemnitee.

 

(g) “Proceeding” includes any threatened, pending or completed action, suit, arbitration, alternate dispute resolution mechanism, investigation, administrative hearing or any other proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative or investigative (including on appeal), except one pending or completed on or before the Effective Date, unless otherwise specifically agreed in writing by the Company and Indemnitee.

 

(h) Reference to “fines” shall include any excise tax assessed with respect to any employee benefit plan; references to “serving at the request of the Company” shall include any service as an officer, director, committee member or official which imposes duties on, or involves services by, such officer, with respect to an employee benefit plan, its participants or beneficiaries; and action taken or omitted to be taken by Indemnitee with respect to an employer benefit plan in the performance of Indemnitee’s duties for a purpose reasonably believed to be in the best interests of the participants and beneficiaries of an employee benefit plan shall be deemed to be a purpose that is” “not opposed to the best interests of the Company” as referred to in this Agreement.

Section 2. Services by Indemnitee. Indemnitee will serve as an officer of the Company. However, this Agreement shall not impose any obligation on Indemnitee or the Company to continue Indemnitee’s service to the Company beyond any period otherwise required by law or by other agreements or commitments of the parties, if any, provided that this Agreement shall continue in force after such time as Indemnitee has ceased to serve as an officer of the Company and Indemnitee will retain all rights provided under this Agreement after such time.

 

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Section 3. Indemnification - General. The Company shall indemnify, and advance Expenses to, Indemnitee (a) as provided in this Agreement and (b) otherwise to the maximum extent permitted by Maryland law in effect on the date hereof and as amended from time to time; provided, however, that no change in Maryland law shall have the effect of reducing the benefits available to Indemnitee hereunder based on Maryland law as in effect on the date hereof. The rights of Indemnitee provided in this Section 3 shall include, without limitation, the rights set forth in the other sections of this Agreement, including any additional indemnification permitted by Section 2-418 of the Maryland General Corporation Law (“MGCL”), the charter or bylaws of the Company, a resolution of stockholders or directors, another agreement or otherwise.

Section 4. Proceedings Other Than Proceedings by or in the Right of the Company. Indemnitee shall be entitled to the rights of indemnification provided in this Section 4 if, by reason of his Corporate Status, he is, or is threatened to be, made a party to or a witness in any threatened, pending, or completed Proceeding, other than a Proceeding by or in the right of the Company. Pursuant to this Section 4, Indemnitee shall be indemnified against all judgments, penalties, fines and amounts paid in settlement and all Expenses actually and reasonably incurred by him or on his behalf in connection with a Proceeding by reason of his Corporate Status unless it is established that (i) the act or omission of Indemnitee was material to the matter giving rise to the Proceeding and (a) was committed in bad faith or (b) was the result of active and deliberate dishonesty, (ii) Indemnitee actually received an improper personal benefit in money, property or services, or (iii) in the case of any criminal Proceeding, Indemnitee had reasonable cause to believe that his conduct was unlawful.

Section 5. Proceedings by or in the Right of the Company. Indemnitee shall be entitled to the rights of indemnification provided in this Section 5 if, by reason of his Corporate Status, he is, or is threatened to be, made a party to or a witness in any threatened, pending or completed Proceeding brought by or in the right of the Company to procure a judgment in its favor. Pursuant to this Section 5, Indemnitee shall be indemnified against all amounts paid in settlement and all Expenses actually and reasonably incurred by him or on his behalf in connection with such Proceeding unless it is established that (i) the act or omission of Indemnitee was material to the matter giving rise to such a Proceeding and (a) was committed in bad faith or (b) was the result of active and deliberate dishonesty or (ii) Indemnitee actually received an improper personal benefit in money, property or services.

Section 6. Court-Ordered Indemnification. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Agreement, a court of appropriate jurisdiction, upon application of Indemnitee and such notice as the court shall require, may order indemnification in the following circumstances:

 

(a) if it determines Indemnitee is entitled to reimbursement under Section 2-418(d)(1) of the MGCL, the court shall order indemnification, in which case Indemnitee shall be entitled to recover the expenses of securing such reimbursement; or

 

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(b) if it determines that Indemnitee is fairly and reasonably entitled to indemnification in view of all the relevant circumstances, whether or not Indemnitee (i) has met the standards of conduct set forth in Section 2-418(b) of the MGCL or (ii) has been adjudged liable for receipt of an improper personal benefit under Section 2-418(c) of the MGCL, the court may order such indemnification as the court shall deem proper. However, indemnification with respect to any Proceeding by or in the right of the Company or in which liability shall have been adjudged in the circumstances described in Section 2-418(c) of the MGCL shall be limited to Expenses actually and reasonably incurred by him or on his behalf in connection with a Proceeding.

Section 7. Indemnification for Expenses of a Party Who is Wholly or Partly Successful. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Agreement, and without limiting any such provision, to the extent that Indemnitee is, by reason of his Corporate Status, made a party to and is successful, on the merits or otherwise, in the defense of any Proceeding, he shall be indemnified for all Expenses actually and reasonably incurred by him or on his behalf in connection therewith. If Indemnitee is not wholly successful in such Proceeding but is successful, on the merits or otherwise, as to one or more but less than all claims, issues or matters in such Proceeding, the Company shall indemnify Indemnitee under this Section 7 for all Expenses actually and reasonably incurred by him or on his behalf in connection with each successfully resolved claim, issue or matter, allocated on a reasonable and proportionate basis. For purposes of this Section and without limitation, the termination of any claim, issue or matter in such a Proceeding by dismissal, with or without prejudice, shall be deemed to be a successful result as to such claim, issue or matter.

Section 8. Advance of Expenses. Notwithstanding any provision herein to the contrary, the Company shall advance all Expenses actually and reasonably incurred by or on behalf of Indemnitee in connection with any Proceeding (other than a Proceeding brought to enforce indemnification under this Agreement, applicable law, the Charter or Bylaws of the Company, any agreement or a resolution of the stockholders entitled to vote generally in the election of directors or of the Board of Directors) to which Indemnitee is, or is threatened to be, made a party or a witness, within ten days after the receipt by the Company of a statement or statements from Indemnitee requesting such advance or advances from time to time, whether prior to or after final disposition of such Proceeding. Such statement or statements shall reasonably evidence the Expenses incurred by Indemnitee and shall include or be preceded or accompanied by a written affirmation by Indemnitee of Indemnitee’s good faith belief that the standard of conduct necessary for indemnification by the Company as authorized by law and by this Agreement has been met and a written undertaking by or on behalf of Indemnitee, in substantially the form attached hereto as Exhibit B-1 or in such form as may be required under applicable law as in effect at the time of the execution thereof, to reimburse the portion of any Expenses advanced to Indemnitee relating to claims, issues or matters in the Proceeding as to which it shall ultimately be established that the standard of conduct has not been met. To the extent that Expenses advanced to Indemnitee do not relate to a specific claim, issue or matter in the Proceeding, such Expenses shall be allocated on a reasonable and

 

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proportionate basis. The undertaking required by this Section 8 shall be an unlimited general obligation by or on behalf of Indemnitee and shall be accepted without reference to Indemnitee’s financial ability to repay such advanced Expenses and without any requirement to post security therefor. Advances shall be unsecured and interest free.

Section 9. Procedure for Determination of Entitlement to Indemnification.

 

(a) To obtain indemnification under this Agreement, Indemnitee shall submit to the Company a written request, including therein or therewith such documentation and information as is reasonably available to Indemnitee and is reasonably necessary to determine whether and to what extent Indemnitee is entitled to indemnification. The omission to notify the Company will not relieve the Company from any liability that it may have to Indemnitee other than under this Agreement. The Secretary of the Company shall, promptly upon receipt of such a request for indemnification, advise the Board of Directors in writing that Indemnitee has requested indemnification.

 

(b) Upon written request by Indemnitee for indemnification pursuant to the first sentence of Section 9(a) hereof, a determination, if required by applicable law, with respect to Indemnitee’s entitlement thereto shall promptly be made in the specific case: (i) if a Change in Control shall have occurred, by Independent Counsel in a written opinion to the Board of Directors, a copy of which shall be delivered to Indemnitee; or (ii) if a Change of Control shall not have occurred, (A) by the Board of Directors (or a duly authorized committee thereof) by a majority vote of a quorum consisting of Disinterested Directors (as herein defined), or (B) if a quorum of the Board of Directors consisting of Disinterested Directors is not obtainable or, even if obtainable, such quorum of Disinterested Directors so directs, by Independent Counsel in a written opinion to the Board of Directors, a copy of which shall be delivered to Indemnitee, or (C) if so directed by a majority of the members of the Board of Directors, by the stockholders of the Company. If it is so determined that Indemnitee is entitled to indemnification, payment to Indemnitee shall be made within ten days after such determination. Indemnitee shall cooperate with the person, persons or entity making such determination with respect to Indemnitee’s entitlement to indemnification, including providing to such person, persons or entity upon reasonable advance request any documentation or information which is not privileged or otherwise protected from disclosure and which is reasonably available to Indemnitee and reasonably necessary to such determination in the discretion of the Board of Directors or Independent Counsel if retained pursuant to clause (ii)(B) of this Section 9. Any Expenses actually and reasonably incurred by Indemnitee in so cooperating with the person, persons or entity making such determination shall be borne by the Company (irrespective of the determination as to Indemnitee’s entitlement to indemnification) and the Company shall indemnify and hold Indemnitee harmless therefrom.

 

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Section 10. Presumptions and Effect of Certain Proceedings.

 

(a) In making a determination with respect to entitlement to indemnification hereunder, the person or persons or entity making such determination shall presume that Indemnitee is entitled to indemnification under this Agreement if Indemnitee has submitted a request for indemnification in accordance with Section 9(a) of this Agreement, and the Company shall have the burden of proof to overcome that presumption in connection with the making of any determination contrary to that presumption. Neither the failure of the Company (including by its directors or independent legal counsel) to have made a determination prior to the commencement of any action pursuant to this Agreement that indemnification is proper in the circumstances because Indemnitee has met the applicable standard of conduct, nor an actual determination by the Company (including by its directors or independent legal counsel) that Indemnitee has not met such applicable standard of conduct, shall be a defense to the action or create a presumption that Indemnitee has not met the applicable standard of conduct.

 

(b) The termination of any Proceeding by judgment, order, settlement, conviction, a plea of nolo contendere or its equivalent, or an entry of an order of probation prior to judgment, does not create a presumption that Indemnitee did not meet the requisite standard of conduct described herein for indemnification.

 

(c) Unless Indemnitee has reason to believe otherwise, for purposes of any determination of good faith, Indemnitee shall be deemed to have acted in good faith if Indemnitee’s action is based on the records or books of account of the Enterprise, including financial statements, or on information supplied to Indemnitee by the officers of the Enterprise in the course of their duties, or on the advice of legal counsel for the Enterprise or on information or records given or reports made to the Enterprise by an independent certified public accountant or by an appraiser or other expert selected with reasonable care by the Enterprise. The provisions of this Section 10(d) shall not be deemed to be exclusive or to limit in any way the other circumstances in which the Indemnitee may be deemed to have met the applicable standard of conduct set forth in this Agreement.

 

(d) The knowledge and/or actions, or failure to act, of any director, officer, agent or employee of the Enterprise, excluding the Indemnitee, shall not be imputed to Indemnitee for purposes of determining the right to indemnification under this Agreement.

Section 11. Remedies of Indemnitee.

 

(a)

If (i) a determination is made pursuant to Section 9 of this Agreement that Indemnitee is not entitled to indemnification under this Agreement, (ii) advance of Expenses is not timely made pursuant to Section 8 of this Agreement, (iii) no determination of entitlement to indemnification shall have been made pursuant to Section 9(b) of this Agreement within 30 days after receipt by the Company of the

 

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request for indemnification, (iv) payment of indemnification is not made pursuant to Section 7 of this Agreement within ten days after receipt by the Company of a written request therefor, or (v) payment of indemnification is not made within ten days after a determination has been made that Indemnitee is entitled to indemnification, Indemnitee shall be entitled to an adjudication in an appropriate court located in the State of Maryland, or in any other court of competent jurisdiction, of his entitlement to such indemnification or advance of Expenses. Alternatively, Indemnitee, at his option, may seek an award in arbitration to be conducted by a single arbitrator pursuant to the commercial Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association. Indemnitee shall commence such proceeding seeking an adjudication or an award in arbitration within 180 days following the date on which Indemnitee first has the right to commence such proceeding pursuant to this Section 11(a); provided, however, that the foregoing clause shall not apply to a proceeding brought by Indemnitee to enforce his rights under Section 7 of this Agreement.

 

(b) In any judicial proceeding or arbitration commenced pursuant to this Section 11 the Company shall have the burden of proving that Indemnitee is not entitled to indemnification or advance of Expenses, as the case may be.

 

(c) If a determination shall have been made pursuant to Section 9(b) of this Agreement that Indemnitee is entitled to indemnification, the Company shall be bound by such determination in any judicial proceeding or arbitration commenced pursuant to this Section 11, absent a misstatement by Indemnitee of a material fact, or an omission of a material fact necessary to make Indemnitee’s statement not materially misleading, in connection with the request for indemnification.

 

(d) In the event that Indemnitee, pursuant to this Section 11, seeks a judicial adjudication of or an award in arbitration to enforce his rights under, or to recover damages for breach of, this Agreement, Indemnitee shall be entitled to recover from the Company, and shall be indemnified by the Company for, any and all Expenses actually and reasonably incurred by him in such judicial adjudication or arbitration. If it shall be determined in such judicial adjudication or arbitration that Indemnitee is entitled to receive part but not all of the indemnification or advance of Expenses sought, the Expenses incurred by Indemnitee in connection with such judicial adjudication or arbitration shall be appropriately prorated.

Section 12. Defense of the Underlying Proceeding.

 

(a) Indemnitee shall notify the Company promptly upon being served with or receiving any summons, citation, subpoena, complaint, indictment, information, notice, request or other document relating to any Proceeding which may result in the right to indemnification or the advance of Expenses hereunder; provided, however, that the failure to give any such notice shall not disqualify Indemnitee from the right, or otherwise affect in any manner any right of Indemnitee, to indemnification or the advance of Expenses under this Agreement unless the Company’s ability to defend in such Proceeding or to obtain proceeds under any insurance policy is materially and adversely prejudiced thereby, and then only to the extent the Company is thereby actually so prejudiced.

 

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(b) Subject to the provisions of the last sentence of this Section 12(b) and of Section 12(c) below, the Company shall have the right to defend Indemnitee in any Proceeding which may give rise to indemnification hereunder; provided, however, that the Company shall notify Indemnitee of any such decision to defend within 15 calendar days following receipt of notice of any such Proceeding under Section 12(a) above. The Company shall not, without the prior written consent of Indemnitee, which shall not be unreasonably withheld or delayed, consent to the entry of any judgment against Indemnitee or enter into any settlement or compromise which (i) includes an admission of fault of Indemnitee or (ii) does not include, as an unconditional term thereof, the full release of Indemnitee from all liability in respect of such Proceeding, which release shall be in form and substance reasonably satisfactory to Indemnitee. This Section 12(b) shall not apply to a Proceeding brought by Indemnitee under Section 11 above or Section 18 below.

 

(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 12(b) above, if in a Proceeding to which Indemnitee is a party by reason of Indemnitee’s Corporate Status, (i) Indemnitee reasonably concludes, based upon an opinion of counsel to Indemnitee, that he may have separate defenses or counterclaims to assert with respect to any issue which may not be consistent with other defendants in such Proceeding, (ii) Indemnitee reasonably concludes, based upon an opinion of counsel to Indemnitee, that an actual or apparent conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest exists between Indemnitee and the Company, or (iii) if the Company fails to assume the defense of such Proceeding in a timely manner, Indemnitee shall be entitled to be represented by separate legal counsel of Indemnitee’s choice, at the expense of the Company. In addition, if the Company fails to comply with any of its obligations under this Agreement or in the event that the Company or any other person takes any action to declare this Agreement void or unenforceable, or institutes any Proceeding to deny or to recover from Indemnitee the benefits intended to be provided to Indemnitee hereunder, Indemnitee shall have the right to retain counsel of Indemnitee’s choice, at the expense of the Company (subject to Section 11(d)), to represent Indemnitee in connection with any such matter.

Section 13. Non-Exclusivity; Survival of Rights; Subrogation; Insurance.

 

(a)

The rights of indemnification and advance of Expenses as provided by this Agreement shall not be deemed exclusive of any other rights to which Indemnitee may at any time be entitled under applicable law, the Charter or Bylaws of the Company, any agreement or a resolution of the stockholders entitled to vote generally in the election of directors or of the Board of Directors, or otherwise. No amendment, alteration or repeal of this Agreement or of any provision hereof

 

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shall limit or restrict any right of Indemnitee under this Agreement in respect of any action taken or omitted by such Indemnitee in his Corporate Status prior to such amendment, alteration or repeal. To the extent that a change in Maryland law, whether by statute or judicial decision, permits greater indemnification or advancement of Expenses than would be afforded currently under the Company’s charter or bylaws or this Agreement, except with respect to suits against the Company relating to this Agreement, it is the intent of the parties hereto that Indemnitee shall enjoy by this Agreement the greater benefits so afforded by such change. No right or remedy herein conferred is intended to be exclusive of any other right or remedy, and every other right and remedy shall be cumulative and in addition to every other right and remedy given hereunder or now or hereafter existing at law or in equity or otherwise. The assertion or employment of any right or remedy hereunder, or otherwise, shall not prevent the concurrent assertion or employment of any other right or remedy.

 

(b) In the event of any payment under this Agreement, the Company shall be subrogated to the extent of such payment to all of the rights of recovery of Indemnitee, who shall execute all papers required and take all action necessary to secure such rights, including execution of such documents as are necessary to enable the Company to bring suit to enforce such rights.

 

(c) The Company shall not be liable under this Agreement to make any payment of amounts otherwise indemnifiable or payable or reimbursable as Expenses hereunder if and to the extent that Indemnitee has otherwise actually received such payment under any insurance policy, contract, agreement or otherwise.

 

(d) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Agreement to the contrary, the Company shall not be liable for indemnification or advance of Expenses in connection with any settlement or judgment for insider trading or for disgorgement of profits pursuant to Section 16(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

Section 14. Insurance. The Company will use its reasonable best efforts to acquire directors and officers liability insurance, on terms and conditions deemed appropriate by the Board of Directors of the Company, with the advice of counsel, covering Indemnitee or any claim made against Indemnitee for service as a director or officer of the Company and covering the Company for any indemnification or advance of Expenses made by the Company to Indemnitee for any claims made against Indemnitee for service as a director or officer of the Company. Without in any way limiting any other obligation under this Agreement, the Company shall indemnify Indemnitee for any payment by Indemnitee arising out of the amount of any deductible or retention and the amount of any excess of the aggregate of all judgments, penalties, fines, settlements and reasonable Expenses actually and reasonably incurred by Indemnitee in connection with a Proceeding over the coverage of any insurance referred to in the previous sentence.

 

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Section 15. Indemnification for Expenses of a Witness. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Agreement, to the extent that Indemnitee is or may be, by reason of his Corporate Status, a witness in any Proceeding, whether instituted by the Company or any other party, and to which Indemnitee is not a party but in which the Indemnitee receives a subpoena to testify, he shall be advanced all reasonable Expenses and indemnified against all Expenses actually and reasonably incurred by him or on his behalf in connection therewith.

Section 16. Duration of Agreement; Binding Effect.

 

(a) This Agreement shall continue until and terminate ten years after the date that Indemnitee’s Corporate Status shall have ceased; provided, that the rights of Indemnitee hereunder shall continue until the final termination of any Proceeding then pending in respect of which Indemnitee is granted rights of indemnification or advance of Expenses hereunder and of any proceeding commenced by Indemnitee pursuant to Section 11 of this Agreement relating thereto.

 

(b) The indemnification and advance of Expenses provided by, or granted pursuant to, this Agreement shall be binding upon and be enforceable by the parties hereto and their respective successors and assigns (including any direct or indirect successor by purchase, merger, consolidation or otherwise to all or substantially all of the business or assets of the Company), shall continue as to an Indemnitee who has ceased to be a director, trustee, officer, employee or agent of the Company or of any other corporation, partnership, joint venture, trust, employee benefit plan or other enterprise which such person is or was serving at the written request of the Company, and shall inure to the benefit of Indemnitee and his spouse, assigns, heirs, devisees, executors and administrators and other legal representatives.

 

(c) The Company shall require and cause any successor (whether direct or indirect by purchase, merger, consolidation or otherwise) to all, substantially all or a substantial part, of the business and/or assets of the Company, by written agreement in form and substance satisfactory to Indemnitee, expressly to assume and agree to perform this Agreement in the same manner and to the same extent that the Company would be required to perform if no such succession had taken place.

Section 17. Severability. If any provision or provisions of this Agreement shall be held to be invalid, illegal or unenforceable for any reason whatsoever: (a) the validity, legality and enforceability of the remaining provisions of this Agreement (including, without limitation, each portion of any section of this Agreement containing any such provision held to be invalid, illegal or unenforceable that is not itself invalid, illegal or unenforceable) shall not in any way be affected or impaired thereby; and (b) to the fullest extent possible, the provisions of this Agreement (including, without limitation, each portion of any section of this Agreement containing any such provision held to be invalid, illegal or unenforceable, that is not itself invalid, illegal or unenforceable) shall be construed so as to give effect to the intent manifested thereby.

 

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Section 18. Exception to Right of Indemnification or Advance of Expenses. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Agreement, Indemnitee shall not be entitled to indemnification or advance of Expenses under this Agreement with respect to any Proceeding brought by Indemnitee, unless (a) the Proceeding is brought to enforce indemnification under this Agreement, and then only to the extent in accordance with and as authorized by Sections 8 and 11 of this Agreement, or (b) the Company’s Bylaws, as amended, the Charter, a resolution of the stockholders entitled to vote generally in the election of directors or of the Board of Directors or an agreement approved by the Board of Directors to which the Company is a party expressly provide otherwise.

Section 19. Identical Counterparts. This Agreement may be executed in one or more counterparts, each of which shall for all purposes be deemed to be an original but all of which together shall constitute one and the same Agreement. One such counterpart signed by the party against whom enforceability is sought shall be sufficient to evidence the existence of this Agreement.

Section 20. Headings. The headings of the paragraphs of this Agreement are inserted for convenience only and shall not be deemed to constitute part of this Agreement or to affect the construction thereof.

Section 21. Modification and Waiver. No supplement, modification or amendment of this Agreement shall be binding unless executed in writing by both of the parties hereto. No waiver of any of the provisions of this Agreement shall be deemed or shall constitute a waiver of any other provisions hereof (whether or not similar) nor shall such waiver constitute a continuing waiver.

Section 22. Notices. All notices, requests, demands and other communications hereunder shall be in writing and shall be deemed to have been duly given if (i) delivered by hand and receipted for by the party to whom said notice or other communication shall have been directed, or (ii) mailed by certified or registered mail with postage prepaid, on the third business day after the date on which it is so mailed:

 

(a) If to Indemnitee, to: The Indemnitee’s address on the books and records of the Company.

 

(b) If to the Company, to:

Sunstone Hotel Investors, Inc.

903 Calle Amanecer, Suite 100

San Clemente, California 92673

Attn: General Counsel

 

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or to such other address as may have been furnished to Indemnitee by the Company or to the Company by Indemnitee, as the case may be.

Section 23. Governing Law. The parties agree that this Agreement shall be governed by, and construed and enforced in accordance with, the laws of the State of Maryland, without regard to its conflicts of laws rules.

Section 24. Miscellaneous. Use of the masculine pronoun shall be deemed to include usage of the feminine pronoun where appropriate.

[SIGNATURE PAGE FOLLOWS]

 

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IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have executed this Agreement on the day and year first above written.

 

ATTEST:     SUNSTONE HOTEL INVESTORS, INC.  
             
      By:     (SEAL)
      Name:       
      Title:       

 

WITNESS:     INDEMNITEE
           
    Name:Ken Cruse

 

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EXHIBIT B-1

FORM OF UNDERTAKING TO REPAY EXPENSES ADVANCED

The Board of Directors of Sunstone Hotel Investors, Inc.

Re: Undertaking to Repay Expenses Advanced

Ladies and Gentlemen:

This undertaking is being provided pursuant to that certain Indemnification Agreement dated the          day of                     , 200    , by and between Sunstone Hotel Investors, Inc. (the “Company”) and the undersigned Indemnitee (the “Indemnification Agreement”), pursuant to which I am entitled to advance of expenses in connection with [Description of Proceeding] (the “Proceeding”).

Terms used herein and not otherwise defined shall have the meanings specified in the Indemnification Agreement.

I am subject to the Proceeding by reason of my Corporate Status or by reason of alleged actions or omissions by me in such capacity. I hereby affirm that at all times, insofar as I was involved as an officer of the Company, in any of the facts or events giving rise to the Proceeding, I (1) acted in good faith and honestly, (2) did not receive any improper personal benefit in money, property or services and (3) in the case of any criminal proceeding, had no reasonable cause to believe that any act or omission by me was unlawful.

In consideration of the advance of Expenses by the Company for reasonable attorneys’ fees and related expenses incurred by me in connection with the Proceeding (the “Advanced Expenses”), I hereby agree that if, in connection with the Proceeding, it is established that (1) an act or omission by me was material to the matter giving rise to the Proceeding and (a) was committed in bad faith or (b) was the result of active and deliberate dishonesty or (2) I actually received an improper personal benefit in money, property or services or (3) in the case of any criminal proceeding, I had reasonable cause to believe that the act or omission was unlawful, then I shall promptly reimburse the portion of the Advanced Expenses relating to the claims, issues or matters in the Proceeding as to which the foregoing findings have been established and which have not been successfully resolved as described in Section 7 of the Indemnification Agreement. To the extent that Advanced Expenses do not relate to a specific claim, issue or matter in the Proceeding, I agree that such Expenses shall be allocated on a reasonable and proportionate basis.

 

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IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have executed this Affirmation and Undertaking on this          day of                     , 200    .

 

WITNESS:      
              (SEAL)

 

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