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Do Investment Advisers Automatically Have Fiduciary Duties to Their Clients?

I always thought they did. But on Friday I read this sentence: “An investment advisor-client relationship is not a de jure fiduciary relationship.” It sort of jumped out at me, because for a long time I’ve assumed that an...more

"The New Mutual Fund Exception: Ninth Circuit Allows Direct Claims to Redress Derivative Injury"

Courts have sought to simplify their approach to determining whether an action is derivative or direct — a determination that the Delaware Supreme Court has acknowledged “is sometimes difficult.” Tooley v. Donaldson, Lufkin &...more

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Takes Expansive View of Investment Advisor’s Liability Under Blue Sky Law in Hays v. Ellrich

Last week, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) handed down Hays v. Ellrich, a decision with important implications for the investor advising community. The case is significant for two reasons. First, even though...more

'Cornerstone' Decision Reinforces Del. Corporate Law Bedrock Principles

Delaware law has long provided that the decisions of disinterested and independent directors who receive no special benefit from a transaction ought not be the basis of personal liability in monetary damages. To subject...more

Pleading Standard Saves SEC’s Insider-Trading Case

A federal judge in the Southern District of New York recently sustained the SEC’s insider-trading complaint against two alleged tippees, holding that, under the pleading standard applicable to a motion to dismiss, the SEC...more

Ironworkers Dist. Council of Phila. & Vicinity Ret. & Pension Plan v. Andreotti, C.A. No. 9714-VCG (Del. Ch. May 8, 2015)...

In this memorandum opinion, the Court of Chancery granted a motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s derivative complaint under Court of Chancery Rule 23.1, and in doing so, confirmed that there is a heavy burden confronting derivative...more

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

Delaware Chancery Approves a Books and Records Request Concerning Alleged Subsidiary Fraud in Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and...

In Oklahoma Firefighters Pension & Ret. Sys. v. Citigroup Inc., No. CV 9587-ML (VCN), 2015 WL 1884453 (Del. Ch. Apr. 24, 2015), a Delaware Chancery Court judge found that Del. Code Ann. tit. 8, § 220 (“Section 220”) permitted...more

Broad Reach for Canadian Securities Regulators for Insider Trading

In a settlement agreement recently endorsed by the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), respondent Anand Hariharan agreed to settle insider trading allegations made by OSC enforcement staff (Staff) against him. The settlement...more

Inside the Courts - An Update From Skadden Securities Litigators - May 2015 / Volume 7 / Issue 2

In This Issue: - U.S. Supreme Court: ..Omnicare, Inc. v. Laborers Dist. Council Constr. Indus. Pension Fund, 135 S. Ct. 1318 (4th Cir. Mar. 16, 2015) - Auditor Liability: ..In re Advanced Battery Techs.,...more

How Collateral Estoppel Can Be Your Best Friend in Stockholder Litigation

Two recent decisions from the Delaware Court of Chancery have dusted off the venerable doctrine of collateral estoppel to dismiss stockholder claims. Of course, this issue is not new in Delaware. In 2013, the Delaware Supreme...more

Seventh Circuit Reverses $2.46 Billion Judgment in Securities-Fraud Class Action

The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit last week reversed a $2.46 billion judgment in a long-running securities-fraud class action against Household International and granted a new trial on limited issues. The opinion...more

Director Compensation After Calma v. Templeton: Proactive Steps to Consider

Delaware case exposes director compensation to heightened “entire fairness” standard absent adequate stockholder ratification - The Delaware Court of Chancery recently decided a case that makes it easier for plaintiffs...more

Northstar v. Schwab: The Ninth Circuit’s End Run Around Derivative Lawsuits in the Mutual Fund Context

It is well recognized that only investors have standing to sue a mutual fund on behalf of a class of investors and that a fiduciary duty claim accusing fund trustees of mismanagement is the property of the fund, and not of...more

Delaware Chancery Court Holds that Creditor Plaintiffs in Derivative Suits May Satisfy Standing Requirement by Showing...

In Quadrant Structured Products Co., Ltd. v. Vertin, C.A. No. 6990-VCL, 2015 WL 2062115 (Del. Ch. May 4, 2015), the Delaware Court of Chancery held that a creditor plaintiff needs only establish that a corporation was...more

Liability for Statements of Opinion–New Clarity from the Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Omnicare, Inc. v. Laborers District Council Construction Industry Pension Fund resolved a clear split in the federal courts of appeal regarding when statements of opinion may give...more

Second Circuit Narrows Scope of SLUSA Preclusion

In In re Kingate Management Ltd. Litigation, No. 11-1397, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 6725 (2d Cir. Apr. 23, 2015), the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that in order for the Securities Litigation Uniform...more

Dismissal Of Securities Fraud Class Action Against Yahoo! Affirmed By Ninth Circuit

On May 15, 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of a putative securities fraud class action against Yahoo! In re: Yahoo! Inc. Sec. Litig., No. 11-cv-02732 (9th Cir. May 15, 2015). In 2011,...more

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

Delaware Supreme Court Holds That a Stockholder Plaintiff Must Plead a Non-Exculpated Claim to Avoid Section 102(b)(7)-Based...

In the consolidated appeal In re Cornerstone Therapeutics Inc., Stockholder Litigation and In re Zhongpin Stockholders Litigation, Nos. 564, 2014 and 706, 2014, 2015 Del. LEXIS 231 (Del. May 14, 2015), the Delaware Supreme...more

Important Delaware Supreme Court ruling on use of charter provision to seek preliminary dismissal – 3 key takeaways

In a decision jointly resolving two appeals - In re Cornerstone Therapeutics Inc. Stockholder Litigation and Leal v. Meeks - the Delaware Supreme Court clarified seemingly conflicting Delaware case law. The decision sought to...more

CLIENT ALERT: Delaware Supreme Court Establishes Rule Permitting Dismissal of Independent Directors From Entire Fairness Suits

In re Cornerstone Therapeutics Inc. S’holder Litig., No. 564, 2014 (Del. May 14, 2015) & Leal v. Meeks, No. 706, 2014 (Del. May 14, 2015) In these interlocutory appeals, the Delaware Supreme Court resolved a...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 Clarifies Pleading Standard For Claims Against Independent Directors

Yesterday, in In re Cornerstone Therapeutics, Inc. Stockholder Litigation, the Supreme Court of Delaware held that plaintiffs seeking monetary damages against disinterested, independent directors must plead facts sufficient...more

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, v. AbbVie, Inc., CA No. 10374-VCG and Rizzolo v. AbbVie Inc., CA No. 10408-VCG...

In this memorandum opinion, the Court of Chancery denied two stockholders’ request for the inspection of books and records of a company pursuant to 8 Del. C. § 220, finding that the stockholders failed to show a credible...more

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