Legal Question in Business Law in California

I am "volunteering" (not being paid but I might get a work phone) for an organization, which is not yet registered as a nonprofit or corporation. It is being paid for by one person, who has put 100,000 into website development. The company has not yet started generating revenue, it is in beta. I am a minor, and in no way legally associated with the organization (signed no forms or anything), but I have been called the CEO in online communications. If something happens, like the person or "company" is involved in fraud, or gives medical advice online and someone dies, am I in any risk? Even though I could be protected somehow, would there be potential legal fees involved in defending myself? My uncle, who has a legal background, is afraid I could be liable or have to pay legal fees if the founder perpetrates fraud, or if the company harms someone.

Asked on 4/28/13, 12:29 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Kelvin Green The Law Office of Kelvin Green
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Something does not add up here. 100,000 in development of a website? I think the biggest thing you face is the structure of the company and whether or not you are perceived to have some sort of agency in the company. If it is an unincorporated venture and you are perceived as an agent or principal you could face personal liability..

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4/28/13, 1:04 pm
Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law
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I think something's fishy here. You might ask for a short (one-page?) agreement as to what your role and duties are, and be sure it says you are an unpaid volunteer and not involved in management, or words to that effect.

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4/29/13, 11:02 am

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