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Why Commissioner Gallagher Is Not Mistaken On Political Spending Disclosure

In this post published on October 30, I observed: According to Enver Fitch and Limor Bernstock at ISS ESG Proxy Research, shareholders associated with the Center for Political Accountability submitted 47 proposals this...more

11/13/2014 - Disclosure Requirements ISS Political Contributions SEC Securities Exchange Act Shareholders

All Shares Are Equal But With Proxy Access Some Shares Are More Equal Than Others

In George Orwell’s famous satire of Stalin’s Soviet Union, Animal Farm, the animals started out with seven commandments. The seventh commandment was “All Animals Are Equal”. As time passed, three of the original...more

11/10/2014 - Bylaws Proxy Access Rule Shareholder Litigation Shareholder Rights Shareholders

Does “Valid Issuance” Require A Stock Certificate?

As I mentioned yesterday, every holder of shares is entitled to a signed certificate pursuant to California Corporations Code Section 416(a) (unless the corporation a system for issuing, recording and transfering...more

11/6/2014 - Issuers Share Certificates Shareholders Validity

Political Spending Disclosures – An Idea So Good That I Think You Should Pay For It

In July 2011, a group of ten law professors filed a rulemaking petition with the Securities and Exchange Commission seeking adoption of a rule requiring disclosure of political spending by publicly traded companies. ...more

10/30/2014 - Political Contributions Public Disclosure Publicly-Traded Companies Rulemaking Process SEC Shareholders

The Proper Purpose Of Discovery In Derivative Suits

A plaintiff holding less than 2000 shares files a derivative suit against a corporation’s current or former directors and officers. The trial court finds the complaint to be internally inconsistent and that regulatory...more

10/28/2014 - Appeals Derivative Suit Discovery Shareholders

The General Counsel Is Not The Shareholders’ Agent

A recent paper by Adair Morse, Wei Wang, and Serena Wu, Executive Gatekeepers: Useful and Divertible Governance, tackles interesting questions about the the effectiveness of internal gatekeepers and the impact of equity...more

10/1/2014 - Agents Attorney-Client Privilege Conflicts of Interest Shareholder Litigation Shareholders

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

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

Delaware Likes Garner/California Not So Much

In 1970, Richard Nixon was president, the 26th Amendment was still not part of the Constitution, and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Garner v. Wolfinbarger, 430 F.2d 1093 (5th Cir. 1970). In that...more

7/31/2014 - Attorney-Client Privilege Breach of Duty Fiduciary Duty Garner Shareholders Wal-Mart

I Find More Confusion On Tallying Votes

I recently came across the following vote tally in Item 5.07 of Form 8-K: - 73,197,209 votes for (28.9% of the voted shares) - 177,776,280 votes against (70.2% of the voted shares)... ...more

7/30/2014 - Form 8-K Shareholder Votes Shareholders

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

Federal Court Rejects Court Of Chancery’s Privity Analysis

Two years ago, I wrote about La. Mun. Police Emples. Ret. Sys. v. Pyott, 46 A.3d 313 (Del. Ch. 2012) in which Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster refused to give preclusive effect to federal district court’s dismissal of a...more

7/3/2014 - Derivative Standing Derivative Suit Shareholder Litigation Shareholders Standing

Federal Court Rules Boilermakers Didn’t Decide All Issues And Orders Company To File A Form 8-K

At first glance, the plaintiff’s position in Bushansky v. Armacost, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88072 (N.D. Cal. June 25, 2014) seems a bit peculiar. The plaintiff had filed suit challenging Chevron Corporation’s adoption of an...more

6/30/2014 - Bylaws Chevron Class Action Delaware General Corporation Law Federal Jurisdiction Form 8-K Forum Selection Clause Shareholder Activism Shareholder Litigation Shareholders

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

Those Who Hold Themselves Apart Seem To Be Getting All The Attention

Who knew that abstentions were so newsworthy? Here are three recent news stories involving abstentions at annual meetings...more

6/10/2014 - CalPERS Coca Cola Shareholder Litigation Shareholders Warren Buffet

What Good Can Come From Letting The Indifferent and Undecided Hold Sway?

I’ve written many posts on the subject of voting because it seems so straightforward and yet turns out to be complex. In tackling any voting problem, it is important to know and understand the applicable voting rule. An...more

6/5/2014 - Abstention Berkshire Hathaway Coca Cola Corporate Counsel Corporate Governance Delaware General Corporation Law Proxies Shareholder Votes Shareholders

Delaware Court Rules Nevada Law Governs But Applies Delaware Law

Although there are many significant differences between the corporate laws of Nevada and Delaware, the Nevada Supreme Court has often looked across the country to Delaware. Thus, the Nevada high court has adopted Delaware’s...more

5/23/2014 - Breach of Duty Corporate Restructuring Delaware General Corporation Law Demand Futility Fiduciary Duty Restructuring Shareholders

Some Things That The Corporations Code Doesn’t Tell You About Annual Meetings

Annual meetings of shareholders are important. If a corporation fails to hold one for a period of 60 days after the designated date or, if no date is designated, for 15 months, then the superior court may summarily order a...more

5/21/2014 - Annual Meeting Corporate Governance Delaware General Corporation Law Shareholders Voting Rights

A Shot In A Mug Of Beer May Not Be The Answer To This Exclusive Forum Bylaw Case

In March, Safeway and Albertsons announced that they had entered into a definitive merger agreement. As night follows day, litigation ensued. At least 12 class action complaints were filed by alleged stockholders of...more

5/12/2014 - Albertsons Bylaws Class Action Federal Jurisdiction Forum Selection Clause Internal Affairs Doctrine Merger Agreements Mergers Safeway Inc Shareholder Litigation Shareholders

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

California’s RULLCA Impossible Pleading Requirement For Derivative Suits

California’s Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act requires a member of a domestic or foreign LLC to include two specific allegations in any complaint brought in the right of the company. Failure to include these two...more

4/7/2014 - Derivative Suit LLC Pleadings RULLCA Shareholder Litigation Shareholder Rights Shareholders

Should Corporations Conserve Water Because A Shareholder Believes It’s The Right Thing To Do?

Last month, the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) sent a letter to its California real estate and private equity managers asking that they take a number of steps to conserve water. I found CalPERS’...more

3/6/2014 - CalPERS Conservation Corporate Social Responsibility Shareholders Water

Investor Voice May Rue Adoption Of Single Voting Standard

In yesterday’s post, I discussed why the Council of Institutional Investor’s blanket policy eschewing the counting of abstentions may be neither good nor legal. CII, however, isn’t the only proponent of not counting...more

2/4/2014 - Proxy Season Proxy Voting Guidelines Shareholder Votes Shareholders

On Closer Inspection, This CII “Best Practice” May Be Neither Good Nor Legal

The Council of Institutional Investors has adopted what it describes as ”a comprehensive body of corporate governance best practices”, including Policies on Corporate Governance. I question, however, whether some of these...more

2/3/2014 - Corporate Governance Investors NYSE Shareholder Rights Shareholder Votes Shareholders

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