Clifton Brinson

Clifton Brinson

Smith Anderson

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Exculpatory Provisions Provide Powerful Protection for Independent Directors

The Delaware Supreme Court recently issued an important decision clarifying the standards that govern claims for money damages against independent directors of corporations whose charters contain exculpatory provisions....more

6/11/2015 - Appeals Board of Directors Breach of Duty Business Judgment Rule Controlling Stockholders Corporate Charters Corporate Counsel Corporate Liability Damages DE Supreme Court Exculpatory Clauses Fairness Standard Fiduciary Duty Independent Director Motion to Dismiss Standard of Review

If at First You Don't Succeed: Fourth Circuit Revives Securities Fraud Claims

The Fourth Circuit recently revived securities fraud claims against a pharmaceutical company, holding that the allegations that the company acted with wrongful intent were sufficient to proceed even under the heightened...more

4/14/2015 - Appeals Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Pleading Standards PSLRA Scienter SEC Securities Securities Fraud

“Frivolous” Merger Litigation Settlement Rejected by the Court

In an opinion that could help remedy the problem of baseless merger litigation, a court applying North Carolina law recently refused to approve a class action settlement because the underlying lawsuit was without merit. ...more

2/4/2015 - Breach of Duty Class Action Frivolous Lawsuits Mergers Shareholder Litigation Shareholders

Documents Speak Louder Than Words in Securities Fraud Suit

The Eastern District of North Carolina recently granted summary judgment for the defendant in a securities fraud action, holding that the plaintiff had failed to prove either scienter or reliance where alleged verbal...more

11/21/2014 - Annuities Evidence Insurers Misrepresentation Scienter Securities Fraud

Delaware Court of Chancery Upholds North Carolina "Exclusive Forum" Bylaw

In a closely-watched case with implications for corporations across the nation, Chancellor Andre Bouchard of the Delaware Court of Chancery has issued an opinion enforcing a forum-selection bylaw that requires intra-corporate...more

9/11/2014 - Bylaws Exclusive Forum Forum Forum Selection Clause

Federal Court Report - Fourth Circuit Clarifies Pleading Standards and (Again) Rejects Affidavits that Contradict a Party’s...

In Stevenson v. City of Seat Pleasant, Maryland, No. 12-2047 (4th Cir. Feb. 21, 2014), the Fourth Circuit spent some time cleaning up a rather messy case involving the alleged use of excessive force by members of a police...more

5/28/2014 - Affidavits Depositions Pleading Standards Pleadings Rules of Civil Procedure

Fourth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Securities Claim Alleging Accounting Fraud

If you thought it was difficult to make a federal securities fraud claim stick in the Fourth Circuit, the court has now raised the bar even higher. The Fourth Circuit recently affirmed a trial court’s dismissal of securities...more

5/27/2014 - Balance Sheets Financial Statements Investment Partnerships Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 Rule 10b-5 Section 10(b) Securities Fraud

Federal Court Report - Sometimes it’s Just Better to Leave “Well-Enough” Alone

In Sisk v. Abbott Laboratories, — F.R.D. –, No. 1:11-cv-159 (W.D.N.C. Feb. 10, 2014) (J., Reidinger), after prevailing in part on its motion for summary judgment, the defendant asked the court for the Western District to...more

4/8/2014 - Affirmative Defenses Food Contamination Negligence Summary Judgment Twombly/Iqbal Pleading Standard

North Carolina Court of Appeals Upholds Arbitration Clauses in Consumer Agreements

The North Carolina Court of Appeals has recently enforced arbitration clauses in short-term “payday” loan contracts, requiring the borrowers to bring their claims in arbitration rather than in court. In doing so, the Court...more

4/4/2014 - Arbitration Agreements Class Action Class Action Arbitration Waivers Payday Loans

North Carolina Business Court Limits Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practice Claims Concerning Internal Corporate Matters

On January 28, 2014, the North Carolina Business Court dismissed an unfair and deceptive trade practice claim alleging that corporate directors structured the sale of a corporation in a manner that shortchanged its common...more

2/7/2014 - Preferred Shares Shareholder Litigation Shareholders UDAAP

Members of Nonprofit Corporations Can Bring Derivative Actions – But They May Have to Pay a Price

A recent decision by the North Carolina Court of Appeals serves as a reminder to North Carolina nonprofit corporations that their members can bring derivative actions on behalf of the nonprofit. But, if such actions are...more

1/29/2014 - Attorney's Fees Derivative Suit Non-Profits

Supreme Court Limits Reach of General Jurisdiction for Corporations

The Supreme Court’s decision in Daimler AG v. Bauman (Jan. 14, 2014), dealing with the topic of “general jurisdiction,” significantly limits a plaintiff’s options as to where to bring a lawsuit. ...more

1/24/2014 - DaimlerChrysler DaimlerChrysler v Bauman Jurisdiction Minimum Contacts SCOTUS

Federal Court Report - Fourth Circuit Applies “Nerve Center” Test for Diversity Jurisdiction

On January 7, 2014, the Fourth Circuit applied the “nerve center” test for determining a corporation’s principal place of business for diversity jurisdiction. The Supreme Court recently adopted the nerve center test in Hertz...more

1/12/2014 - Diversity Jurisdiction Jurisdiction Principal Place of Business

North Carolina Supreme Court Addresses Duties of Corporate Directors

On November 8, 2013, the North Carolina Supreme Court issued a rare opinion addressing the duties of corporate directors and reaffirming that those duties are generally owed only to the corporation itself rather than the...more

12/20/2013 - Board of Directors Corporate Counsel Corporate Governance Derivative Suit Directors Fiduciary Duty Shareholders

North Carolina Business Court Holds that Shareholders Cannot Directly Sue Officers and Directors in Merger Challenge

A recent decision by the North Carolina Business Court potentially makes it more difficult for shareholders to challenge mergers and acquisitions in North Carolina. The Court held that an action against a company’s officers...more

11/27/2013 - Board of Directors Corporate Officers Derivative Suit Fiduciary Duty Mergers Professional Liability Shareholders

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