Board of Directors

News & Analysis as of

New Delaware Decisions Provide Strong Support for Independent Board Decisions in the Sale of a Company

On December 19, 2014, the Delaware Supreme Court, in C&J Energy Services, Inc. v. City of Miami General Employees' & Sanitation Employees' Retirement Trust, issued a strongly worded decision refusing to enjoin a change of...more

Delaware Chancery Court Declines to Dismiss Fraud Claims Against Private Equity Fund and Directors

In Great Hill Equity Partners IV, LP v. SIG Growth Equity Fund I, LLLP, the Delaware Court of Chancery denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss fraud-based claims made in connection with Great Hill’s acquisition of Plimus, a...more

No Auction Required – Delaware Supreme Court Affirms Board Flexibility under Revlon

Ruling that an active solicitation process is not necessarily required for a target board of directors to satisfy its fiduciary duties in a change of control transaction, the Delaware Supreme Court overturned a preliminary...more

The “New Reality” for Corporate Boards

I have very little patience for a corporate board that fails to do its job. A board usually consists of talented, successful and experienced professionals. They have seen good and bad business practices in their days....more

Director Tenure: A Solution in Search of a Problem

Director tenure continues to gain attention in corporate governance as term limits become a cause célèbre. Proponents argue directors should no longer qualify as independent after 10 years of service, even though no law, rule...more

Lessons For Corporate Directors From The Wyndham Data Breach Derivative Action

On October 20, 2014, Wyndham Worldwide Corporation won dismissal of a shareholder derivative suit seeking damages arising out of three data breaches that occurred between 2008 and 2010. Dennis Palkon, et al. v. Stephen P....more

Directors Need to Meet High Standard to Avoid Liability

The Tax Court of Canada again confirmed that directors of corporations will have a high burden to meet to establish a due diligence defence and avoid liability for unremitted source deductions....more

Platinum Partners Value Arbitrage Fund L.P. v. Echo Therapeutics, Inc., C.A. No. 10303-VCN (Del. Ch. Nov. 14, 2014) (Noble, V.C.)

In this letter opinion, the Court of Chancery denied a motion to expedite proceedings in which a stockholder sought to call a special meeting to remove a majority of the corporation’s directors....more

Trinity Wall Street v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Provides New (But Limited) Guidance on the Ordinary Business Exception to Rule 14a-8

A tenet of corporate law is that directors—not shareholders—manage a company's business and affairs. Recognizing that proposals adopted through the Rule 14a-8 process could allow shareholders to intrude on matters...more

Seven Things DOJ Insiders Expect Organizations To Know (and Do) About Antitrust Compliance

For most organizations, the risk of violating antitrust laws is real. But when it comes to the most serious of antitrust violations, such as cartels and significant price fixing schemes, there is often an “it won’t happen...more

Top 10 Topics for Directors in 2015

In this issue: - Strategic Planning Challenges - Cybersecurity - Assess the Impact of Advances in Technology and Big Data - Shareholder Activism - The Return of M&A - Risk...more

In re Novell, Inc. S’holder Litig., C.A. No. 6032 (Del. Ch. Nov. 25, 2014) (Noble, V.C.)

In this memorandum opinion, the Court of Chancery granted summary judgment in favor of defendants on claims alleging that directors acted in bad faith by favoring a bidder in a sale process for reasons other than the pursuit...more

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

SEC Commissioner Wonders Whether Harvard Violated Securities Laws

SEC Commissioner Daniel M. Gallagher and Joseph A. Grundfest, Stanford Law School, Rock Center for Corporate Governance, have just published a paper titled “Did Harvard Violate Federal Securities Law? The Campaign Against...more

SEC Grants No-Action Relief to Whole Foods to Exclude Proxy Access Shareholder Proposal

On December 1, 2014, the staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission granted no-action relief to Whole Foods Market regarding its request to omit a shareholder proposal from its proxy materials pursuant to Rule...more

Delaware Court Provides Guidance on Acceptable Deal Protection Mechanisms and Scope of Third Party Aiding and Abetting Liability...

On November 25, 2014, the Delaware Court of Chancery issued a decision in In Re Comverge, Inc. Shareholders Litigation, which: (1) dismissed claims that the Comverge board of directors conducted a flawed sales process and...more

Penalties imposed on APCHL directors

The Federal Court of Australia has delivered its judgment in respect of the penalties to be imposed against five former directors of Australian Property Custodian Holdings Ltd (“APCHL”) who breached their directors’ duties by...more

Happy Talk and the Compliance Gap – Paper v. Reality

There is nothing more infuriating in the ethics and compliance world than a Chief Compliance Officer who relies on Happy Talk reports to senior managers and the Board. The CCO who engages in Happy Talk does a disservice to...more

Whole Foods Can Exclude Proxy Access Proposal

The SEC has granted Whole Foods no action relief to exclude a proxy access proposal submitted under Rule 14a-8. The proponent’s proposal sought a non-binding shareholder resolution to request that the Whole Food’s Board of...more

Investor Claims NetTALK Executives Took Control of Board

On November 5, Telestrata, LLC brought a derivative shareholder action and direct action against NetTALK.com, Inc., a publicly traded telecommunication company, and NetTALK’s directors and officers, alleging that the...more

Minority Shareholders' Alleged Control of Management and Operations Does Not Establish Domination of the Board

Emphasizing the demanding pleading standards a shareholder must meet to show that a minority shareholder controls a board of directors, on November 25, Vice Chancellor Glasscock dismissed claims for breach of fiduciary duties...more

Delaware Court Preliminarily Enjoins Merger Due to Flawed Sales Process

On November 24, 2014, the Delaware Court of Chancery preliminarily enjoined for thirty days a vote by C&J Energy Services stockholders on a merger with Nabors Red Lion Limited, to allow time for C&J's board of directors to...more

Waivers of IPO Lock-up

We have previously commented on the lock-up requirement in connection with IPOs and noted that it has become somewhat more frequent for underwriters to release issuers and/or their shareholders (including directors and...more

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

Dispute Over Landscaping Repairs Results in Personal Penalties against Condo Directors and a Fascinating Governance War Story

Court decisions holding corporate directors personally liable for acting in bad faith tend to be few and far between in Canadian jurisprudence. The recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision in Boily et al v Carleton Condominium...more

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