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Violation of Corporate Charter: Breach of Contract, Fiduciary Duties or Both

When a company takes action through its board in violation of its certificate of incorporation, may a plaintiff stockholder bring suit against the company directly for breach of its certificate—the most important of corporate...more

Commercial Restructuring & Bankruptcy News - May 2015, Issue 2

In This Issue: - How Safe are the Bankruptcy Code Safe Harbors? - Stockton’s Chapter 9 Plan Approval - Delaware Chancery Court Clarifies Fiduciary Duties of Insolvent Corporation Directors in Derivative...more

General partner to pay $171 million for special committee’s failure to act in good faith: 2 key takeaways

In In re El Paso Pipeline Partners, L.P. Derivative Litigation, 2015 WL 1815846 (Del. Ch. Apr. 20, 2015), the Delaware Court of Chancery (Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster) issued a post-trial opinion finding that the general...more

Delaware Supreme Court Clarifies That Section 102(b)(7) Charter Provisions May Be Basis For Dismissal At The Pleading Stage In...

On May 14, 2015, the Delaware Supreme Court clarified that, even in conflict-of-interest transactions subject to "entire fairness" review, breach of fiduciary duty claims against independent, disinterested directors should be...more

Delaware Supreme Court Confirms Exculpatory Clauses Have Teeth, and Can Be Used By Director Defendants At The Pleading Stage

In a decision with important implications for directors of public companies, the Delaware Supreme Court overturned two Chancery Court opinions and ruled that independent directors facing breach of duty of care claims arising...more

An Exercise of Business Judgment: Chancery Court Dismisses Shareholder Derivative Demand-Refused Case

Last week, Vice Chancellor Glasscock released an important decision dismissing a case under Rule 23.1 that was brought by a DuPont shareholder who alleged that the board improperly refused a demand to sue DuPont’s officers...more

Delaware Supremes Give Independent Directors a Way Out

In an opinion Thursday, the Delaware Supreme Court held that independent directors should be dismissed from shareholder derivative litigation – even over transactions presumptively subject to “entire fairness” review – unless...more

M&A Update: Delaware Supreme Court Issues Important Ruling Protecting Independent Directors

On May 14, 2015, the Delaware Supreme Court ruled that claims against independent directors must be dismissed when a company charter provision shields directors from monetary liability for breach of the duty of care and the...more

Locke Lord QuickStudy: The Broader Lesson of the El Paso Pipeline Decision

Alternative entities, such as limited partnerships and limited liability companies, have an advantage over corporations because of the greater flexibility to define the terms of the arrangement by contract. ...more

Court Of Chancery Explains Creditor’s Right To File Fiduciary Duty Claims

While it is generally known that creditors may only file derivative suits when the company is insolvent, there have been many open issues about what exactly that means. This decision answers many of those questions by...more

Court Of Chancery Notes The Outer Limits Of Contract/Fiduciary Claims

There is a long line of decisions that holds when the parties set out their mutual rights and obligations in a contract, only contract law governs and a breach of fiduciary duty claim cannot also be brought....more

Second Circuit Denies DOJ’s Request for En Banc Review of Newman; Leaves Landmark Insider Trading Decision in Place

The Second Circuit today denied the request by the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York for panel or en banc rehearing of the landmark U.S. v. Newman decision, which overturned insider-trading...more

U.S. Supreme Court’s Omnicare Decision Leaves Open Narrowed Theory Of Liability For Statements Of Opinion Under Federal Securities...

Can a public company violate the federal securities laws simply by expressing an opinion that turns out to be wrong? In 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit startled the business community by recognizing just...more

Delaware Supreme Court Leaves Open The Question Of Whether Breach Of Contract Is A Business Judgment

In this interesting order affirming a Chancery decision, the Supreme Court went out of its way to make a point. A stockholder suit alleging that the board breached a stock option plan may state a claim for breach of contract...more

CorpCast Episode 1: Sections, 204, 205 and In re Numoda [Video]

Morris James LLP’s Corporate and Fiduciary Litigation Group introduces CorpCast, a podcast discussing Delaware corporate and commercial law and practice. In this first episode, we discuss In re Numoda Corporation S’holders...more

Orrick's Financial Industry Week in Review

SEC Proposes Rules for Disclosure of Hedging Policies - On February 9, the SEC issued proposed rules that are intended to enhance disclosure of company hedging policies for directors and employees, as mandated by...more

SEC "Claws Back" Bonuses and Stock Sale Profits From CFOs of Public Company Charged With Accounting Fraud

On February 10, 2015, the SEC announced settlements with two former chief financial officers of Saba Software, a Silicon Valley software company, that require the CFOs to repay Saba more than $500,000 in bonuses and profits...more

Three New Weapons to Combat Shareholder Litigation

Over the past several years there has been an overwhelming abundance of class action shareholder litigation. A study by Cornerstone Research found that in 2013 alone, 94% of mergers and acquisitions worth over $100 million...more

Cambridge Ret. Sys. v. Bosnjak, C.A. No. 9178-CB (Del. Ch. June 26, 2014) (Bouchard, C.)

In this memorandum opinion, the Court of Chancery granted in part and denied in part the defendants’ motion to dismiss for failure to make a pre-suit demand on the board and for failure to state a claim, holding that demand...more

Tronox Inc. v. Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (In re Tronox Inc.) – Bankruptcy Court Takes Unusual Steps to Declare Corporate...

Companies that have valuable assets but also face significant liabilities will sometimes engage in restructurings to isolate, or “ring-fence,” the good assets from the liabilities. Often the companies are able to accomplish...more

In re El Paso Pipeline Partners, L.P. Derivative Litig., C.A. No. 7141-VCL (Del. Ch. Jun. 12, 2014) (Laster, V.C.)

In this memorandum opinion resolving cross-motions for summary judgment, the Court of Chancery dismissed in part claims challenging a drop-down sale governed by a limited partnership agreement that supplanted fiduciary duties...more

Oracle Partners, L.P., v. Biolase, Inc., C.A. No. 9438-VCN (Del. Ch. May 21, 2014) (Noble, V.C.)

In this post-trial memorandum opinion, the Court of Chancery ruled on the board composition of Defendant and Counter-Plaintiff Biolase, Inc. (“Biolase”). The Court declared that only one of two contested director...more

Fair Valuation and Mutual Fund Directors: History of Enforcement Actions Against Independent Directors

At the ICI 2014 Mutual Funds and Investment Management Conference, the staff of the Division of Investment Management announced that it would not propose comprehensive guidance on valuation of investment company portfolios...more

Polsinelli Podcasts - Be Careful What you Put in Writing - What Companies Need to Know About Document Retention  [Video]

There's an old saying "The Devil is in the Details." If you are an employer, what you record in a document, whether its marketing materials or employee evaluations, can be used for or against you at trial. Documents can make...more

Paradigm Shift? The Delaware Supreme Court Allows Bylaw That Shifts Attorneys’ Fees to Loser in Fiduciary Duty Litigation

Under the prevailing “American rule,” shareholders and their counsel face little financial risk when they assert claims against directors and officers for breaches of fiduciary duty, typically following the announcement of a...more

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