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Commissioner Gallagher Posits SEC Would Prevail Against Harvard University

Just this week, Commissioner Daniel M. Gallagher and former Commissioner Joseph A. Grundfest issued a draft of a paper that takes on the Harvard Shareholder Rights Project. The Harvard SRP describes itself as “a clinical...more

12/12/2014 - Board of Directors Harvard University SEC Shareholders Universities

Judge Orders Stockholder To “Register” Correspondence With The SEC

Many boards operate with a high degree of collegiality, even when the directors disagree. Some don’t. When the board of directors of Gas Natural Inc., a publicly traded natural gas holding company, voted to remove its CEO...more

11/26/2014 - Annual Meeting Board of Directors Corporate Officers Defamation Proxy Voting Guidelines Shareholders

Nevada’s Duty Of Care Standard Fails To Win Summary Judgment For Director

NRS 78.138(1) imposes two explicit duties on directors in the exercise of their powers: they must act in good faith and with a view to the interests of the corporation. This contrasts with Delaware case law which speaks of a...more

11/12/2014 - Board of Directors Duty of Care Good Faith Professional Liability Summary Judgment

Why Does Determining A Quorum Have To Be So Complicated?

California’s quorum requirement for meetings of directors appears on its face to be straightforward – a majority of the authorized number of directors constitutes a quorum of the board for the transaction of business. Cal....more

10/9/2014 - Board of Directors Corporate Governance Directors Quorum

Bill Aims At Clarifying Status Of Ex Officio Directors

Yesterday’s post considered the various paths to becoming a director under the California General Corporation Law. The California Nonprofit Corporation Law defines “directors” in a similar fashion but makes it clear that the...more

10/3/2014 - Board of Directors Directors Non-Profits

Just How Many Ways Are There To Become A Director?

Lao Tzu is said to have written that there a many paths to enlightment, but how many paths are there to becoming a director? To answer the question, let’s look at the definition of “directors” in the California General...more

10/2/2014 - Board of Directors Directors

1, 2 or 3 Years? How Should Boards Decide The Frequency Of Say-On-Pay Votes?

Although the initial ruckus over how to determine the outcome of executive compensation say-on-frequency votes has subsided, I still maintain that the Securities and Exchange Commission botched the rule (§240.14a-21(b)). ...more

9/29/2014 - Board of Directors Corporate Governance Say-on-Pay SEC Shareholder Votes Shareholders

When A Corporation Dissolves, Do The Directors Become Zombies?

Even though a corporation has dissolved, there may still be a need to take certain corporate actions. For example, the corporation may need to continue to prosecute or defend lawsuits, file a final franchise tax return, or...more

9/5/2014 - Board of Directors Corporate Dissolution Corporate Governance Directors

Does The Corporations Code Permit “Boards R Us”?

In an article published last summer, Professors Stephen Bainbridge and M. Todd Henderson argued that “significant gains that could be realized by permitting firms (be they partnerships, corporations, or other business...more

9/4/2014 - Board of Directors Corporate Governance Corporate Management

Stockholder Proposal Seeks To Ratification Of All Decisions And Actions

For the last six years, Amerco as included a rather unique stockholder proposal in its proxy statement. It’s there again this year. Basically, it asks the stockholders to ratify and affirm all decisions and actions by...more

8/4/2014 - Annual Meeting Board of Directors Corporate Governance Corporate Minutes Meeting Minutes Officers Shareholders Voting Powers Voting Rights

California Dividend Statutes Found To Preempt Common Law Claims

Chapter 5 of the California Corporations Code imposes specific limitations on “distributions to shareholders”, a term defined in Corporations Code section 166. Directors who approve the making of any distribution to...more

7/22/2014 - Board of Directors Dividends Preemption Professional Liability Shareholder Litigation Shareholders

Does A Director Have A Contractual Right To Compensation?

Yesterday, I wrote about stockholder challenges to director compensation. Today’s post considers what happens when a director joins a board. When someone is invited to join a board, she may ask about compensation. The...more

7/9/2014 - Board of Directors Director Compensation Directors Oral Contracts Proxy Statements Shareholder Resolution

When It Comes To Director Compensation Claims, Nevada And Delaware Are Fundamentally Different

Since 1969, there has no question that directors of a Delaware corporation have the authority to set their own compensation. 8 DGCL § 141(h). Having authority to do something, however, doesn’t mean that the use of that...more

7/8/2014 - Board of Directors Director Compensation Directors

If Fee-Shifting Bylaws Are Ever Put On Trial, This Case Should Be Exhibit A

Item 5.07(d) of Form 8-K requires issuers to disclose “the company’s decision in light of such vote as to how frequently the company will include a shareholder vote on the compensation of executives in its proxy materials...more

6/23/2014 - Board of Directors Bylaws Executive Compensation Form 8-K Proxy Statements Say-on-Pay SEC Shareholder Litigation Shareholders

Why Biolase v. Oracle Partners, L.P. May Not Be The Last Word On Resignations

Yesterday, I mentioned the Delaware Supreme Court’s recent holding in Biolase, Inc. v. Oracle Partners, L.P., 2014 Del. LEXIS 278 (Del. June 12, 2014). In an opinion written by Chief Justice Leo E. Strine, Jr., the Supreme...more

6/19/2014 - Board of Directors Delaware General Corporation Law Directors Hiring & Firing Resignation

May A Director Resign By Telling Another Director “I Quit”?

Suppose in a fit of pique, a director telephones a fellow director and announces that she is quitting the board. Has the director resigned? California Corporations Code Section 305(d) provides...more

6/18/2014 - Board of Directors Corporations Code Resignation Written Notice

Internal Affairs Doctrine May Not Control Alter Ego Liability

The internal affairs doctrine “is a conflict of laws principle which recognizes that only one State should have the authority to regulate a corporation’s internal affairs — matters peculiar to the relationships among or...more

5/21/2014 - Alter Ego Board of Directors Corporate Veil Directors Internal Affairs Doctrine Officers Personal Liability

CalPERS Proposes To Amend Global Principles

Next Monday, the Investment Committee of CalPERS’ Board of Administration is scheduled to consider several amendments to CalPERS’ Global Principles of Accountable Corporate Governance. Among other changes, the committee will...more

5/13/2014 - Board of Directors CalPERS Corporate Governance Pension Committees

Meandering Through Minutiae – How The Type of Consideration Can Determine The Need For Shareholder Approval

Section 1001 of the California Corporations authorizes a corporation to sell all or substantially all of its assets when the principal terms are approved by the board of directors and the outstanding shares (unless the...more

5/2/2014 - Board of Directors Consideration Corporations Code Sale of Assets

Is It Necessary To Check With The Shareholders Before Hocking The Corporate Crown Jewels?

Corporations Code Section 1001(a) authorizes a corporation to “sell, lease, convey, exchange, transfer, or otherwise dispose of all or substantially all of its assets” if the principal terms are approved by the board, and,...more

4/24/2014 - Board of Directors Corporate Governance Shareholders

Is This Proposed Amendment To Delaware’s Stockholder Consent Statute Really Needed?

Recently, I wrote about a proposal to amend Section 141(f) of the Delaware General Corporation Law to permit inchoate directors to take action by written consent. The Corporation Law Section of the Delaware State Bar is...more

4/18/2014 - Board of Directors Delaware General Corporation Law Proxies Shareholders Written Consent

Directors’ Alleged Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Not Subject To Anti-SLAPP Statute

A SLAPP is a strategic lawsuit against public participation. California enacted Code of Civil Procedure Section 425.16 as an antidote to SLAPP suits. In general, a SLAPP is subject to a special motion to strike unless the...more

4/17/2014 - Anti-SLAPP Board of Directors Directors Fiduciary Duty Standard Pacific

This Proposed Amendment To DGCL Section 141(f) Is A Curate’s Egg

In AGR Halifax Fund, Inc. v. Fiscina, 743 A.2d 1188 (1999), the Delaware Court of Chancery was asked to decide whether a consent given by persons before they became directors could become effective if delivered to the...more

4/16/2014 - Board of Directors Consent Corporate Counsel Corporate Governance

Can The Political Concerns Of Corporate Officers Be Of Any Concern Of The Corporation?

Suppose a corporation’s Chief Executive Officer becomes involved in a particularly abhorent (but legal) political movement. Suppose further that the Board of Directors is concerned that the corporation’s stockholders,...more

4/11/2014 - Board of Directors CEOs Political Expression

Just Who Is Behind The Universal Proxy?

Recently, it was reported that the Council of Institutional Investors had submitted a petition for rule making to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Indeed, the CII did submit this petition on January 8, 2014. ...more

1/22/2014 - Ballots Board of Directors CII Directors Proxies SEC

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