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Muddy employee incentive issues in a disappointing exit: 9 practical tips for public company acquirers

In mediocre payout situations, transaction proceeds are unlikely to give a substantial (if any) return to common stockholders, yet may be sufficient to at least return the initial investment, and perhaps a liquidation...more

U.S. Supreme Court Expands Scope of Whistleblower Protections

Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that whistleblower protections of Sarbanes-Oxley extend not only to employees of public companies, but to the employees of their contractors and subcontractors. See Lawson...more

Proxy Season Litigation Primer: Defending Shareholder Suits to Enjoin Annual Meetings for Allegedly Inadequate Disclosures...

Over the past few years, as plaintiffs have found it increasingly harder to succeed in “say-on-pay” litigation, another type of litigation over proxy disclosures has been on the rise. These cases are generally brought as...more

Focused on Franchise Law - March 2014

FRANCHISOR 101: Franchisee Not Bound by Arbitration Provision - In March 2013, Edison Subs, LLC, a Subway franchisee/transferee, filed a complaint in New Jersey against Subway and Aliya Patel (the original...more

Will The Material Change Doctrine Reduce Your Ability to Enforce Your Non-Competes?

Consider this: An employee signs a perfectly reasonable non-compete/non-solicitation agreement at the inception of employment. The employee remains with the employer for ten years and during that period, receives several...more

Retaliation Exposure Tipping Point? Supreme Court Extends SOX Whistleblower Protections to Private Company Employees

The Supreme Court in Lawson vs FMR, LLC (delivered March 4, 2014 after a 6-3 vote) has ruled that employees of private companies engaged by public companies are covered by the whistleblower protections of Sarbanes Oxley Act...more

How a Company Insider Can Leave, Take Company Business and Not Breach Her Fiduciary Duty

In a previous blog post, The Fiduciary Duty of Preserving Corporate Opportunities, I wrote: In general, an officer, director, partner, LLC member or shareholder in a closely held corporation owes a fiduciary duty not...more

IRS Issues Final Regulations under Internal Revenue Code Section 83 Regarding Substantial Risk of Forfeiture Analysis

Companies that compensate their employees with annual or long-term awards of restricted property such as restricted stock grants should take note of the final regulations relating to property transferred in connection with...more

View From McDermott: Conflicting Review Standards in Executive Retirement Plan Benefit Claims—Is There Really a Difference?

Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, retirement plans generally come in two flavors – (i) retirement plans qualified under Section 401 of the Internal Revenue Code (the Code) and (ii) executive retirement plans,...more

SEC Charges Investment Adviser With Improper Conduct in Two Proceedings

The Commission filed two settled administrative proceedings involving Western Asset Management Co., a subsidiary of Legg Mason, Inc. One centered on the failure of the firm to promptly disclose to clients that a coding error...more

New Mass Termination Claim Certified in Ontario

On January 2, 2014, Justice Perell certified a class action alleging that, among other things, a group of over 500 putative class members had been wrongfully dismissed by their former (now insolvent ) employer. Justice...more

2014 Trends: #4 Insider Trading and the Return of Organizational Culpability

Our coverage of the Top 10 Ethics and Compliance Trends to Watch in 2014 continues today as we tackle the issue of insider trading and its relationship with ethics and compliance. ...more

California Employment Law Notes - January 2014

TV Station's Failure To Hire Weather News Anchor Was Protected By Free Speech Rights - Hunter v. CBS Broadcasting, Inc., 221 Cal. App. 4th 1510 (2013) - Kyle Hunter sued CBS Broadcasting for age and gender...more

Complete Versus Conflict Preemption In ERISA Cases

Both state and federal courts have original jurisdiction over ERISA benefits actions. See29 U.S.C. § 1132(e)(1), ERISA § 502(e)(1). But litigants (and defendants in particular) have historically preferred the federal courts,...more

Solicitor General Urges Supreme Court to Address Plan Investment in Company Stock

The U.S. government, through a brief submitted by the Solicitor General, is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to consider clarifying when a plaintiff may state a claim against plan fiduciaries for the continued holding of...more

Is Exercising Employee Stock Options Illegal Insider Trading? Maybe

Amidst the flurry of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) cases involving improper employee stock option backdating several years ago, many commentators opined on the potential insider trading implications of companies'...more

Sorting Laundry: California Court Reaffirms Scope Of Uniform Trade Secrets Act

Angelica Textile Services, Inc. v. Park, No. D062405 (October 15, 2013): A California Court of Appeal recently held that claims of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and unfair competition are not “displaced” or...more

Covenant, Shmovenant? Ten-Year Nationwide Non-Compete in Asset Purchase Agreement Forms the Basis for Tortious Interference With...

Once again we are reminded that covenants not to compete given in connection with the sale of a business are an entirely different species from the employment kind. Last week, in Oros & Busch Application Technologies, Inc. v....more

SAC Insider Trading Case May Hit Closer to Home than You Think

This week’s announcement that SAC Capital Advisors will pay a record-breaking penalty of $1.8 billion (USD) for insider trading violations may not have been a surprise to anyone following the case - after all, the hedge...more

The Perils of In-House Counsel Simultaneously Representing Company and Employee

In Yanez v. Plummer (Nov. 5, 2013, C07026), the Third Appellate District issued an opinion highlighting the perils for an in-house lawyer who simultaneously represents the company and an employee. Union Pacific fired Michael...more

In Harnett, First Circuit Rejects Bright Line "First Contact" Rule for Non-Solicitation Agreement

In a decision involving the “first contact” rule with respect to non-solicitation agreements, the First Circuit, in Corporate Technologies v. Harnett, rejected a bright line application and upheld a ruling of tortious...more

SEC Awards $14 Million to Whistleblower

The SEC awarded more than $14 million to a whistleblower earlier this month in exchange for information that helped the SEC bring an enforcement action against the perpetrators of an investment fraud in less than six months...more

Illinois Supreme Court Holds Board Can't Declare Enhanced Pension Forfeited

Although the question presented in Prazen v. Shoop was limited to the field of public pensions, the case presented interesting aspects of fiduciary law and statutory construction as well. The question in Prazen was whether...more

Covenants Not To Compete – Fourth DCA Considers A New Fine Question (Or Two)

I’ve written many times about Section 16600 of California’s Business & Professions Code which, with limited exceptions, voids covenants not to compete. See TRO Issued Enjoining Breach Of Non-Compete Agreement Clauses, No...more

City Not Required to Provide a Defense to Former Administrative Officer Accused of Looting City’s Coffers

The City of Bell (“City”) sued Robert Rizzo (“Rizzo”), its former chief administrative officer, for restitution after he allegedly looted the City’s coffers. Rizzo, who also faced criminal charges, asserted that the City was...more

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