Board of Directors Shareholder Litigation

News & Analysis as of

Delaware Governor Signs Bill Prohibiting Bylaws on Fee-Shifting

Last week, Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed Senate Bill 75, which amends the Delaware General Corporation Law to prohibit Delaware stock corporations from adopting bylaws that force shareholders to pay legal fees if they...more

Blog: Delaware Chancery Court Applies Entire Fairness Standard Of Review To Director Compensation

What is the judicial standard of review applicable to an award of compensation by directors to directors under an equity incentive compensation plan that has been approved by the shareholders? That was the question before...more

Closely-Held Shareholder Derivative Actions are Alive and Well in Texas

After 30 years of running his family-owned business, Hillbilly Oil Co., Jed Clampett decided to retire in 2013. The board of directors elects Jethro Bodine as Hillbilly’s President and Elly May as Vice President. Both Jethro...more

Locke Lord QuickStudy: Litigation Threat Means Public Companies Should Review Director Compensation Process

Corporate directors are permitted to, and regularly do, set their own compensation. This has not been controversial because boards have typically taken seriously their responsibility to set compensation that is reasonable and...more

Delaware House Passes Bill Prohibiting Bylaws on Fee-Shifting

On June 11th, the Delaware House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill prohibiting publicly traded corporations from adopting bylaws that force shareholders to pay legal fees if they do not prevail in lawsuits...more

“Dead Hand Proxy Puts” Garner Increased Stockholder Scrutiny In Delaware

A ruling last fall by the Delaware Chancery Court has prompted a wave of 8 Del. C. § 220 books and records inspection demands on (and threatened litigation against) Delaware corporations that have entered into credit...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

Dead Hand Proxy Puts Face Continued Scrutiny

"Dead hand proxy puts’’ have emerged as the target du jour for entrepreneurial plaintiffs counsel litigating corporate governance claims. Since last fall, at least seven separate actions have been filed in the Delaware Court...more

Court of Chancery Upholds Right To Secondary Offering

When investors bargain for the right to have their stock sold in a secondary offering after the company goes public, fiduciary duties normally do not operate to restrict that right. Hence, it is not possible to object...more

[Webinar] Controlling Where to Fight and Who Pays for it? – A Discussion of Recent Developments in Delaware Forum Selection and...

To address the continued problem of duplicitous stockholder strike suits, corporations have started to experiment with forum selection bylaws (which limit the jurisdictions in which stockholders may bring such suits) and fee...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’s In re Cornerstone Therapeutics Decision Allows Independent Directors To Utilize Section 102(b)(7) Defense...

A director’s responsibilities in serving on a corporate board are attended by substantial personal financial risks—not least of which is the specter of shareholder litigation. Exculpatory charter provisions, such as Section...more

Appellate Court Notes

- AC34886 - State v. Bush - AC35418 - State v. LaFleur - AC36275 - North Star Contracting Corp. v. Albright This case dealt with who is the proper party to bring a shareholder derivative action. A...more

Wannabe Derivative Plaintiffs of Delaware Corporations Cannot Skirt Delaware Law By Filing Suit in California

It is well-established that a shareholder-plaintiff may not assert derivative claims against a corporation’s officers or directors unless he or she makes a pre-suit demand on the corporation’s board of directors and alleges...more

CorpCast Episode 2: Advancement 101 [Video]

We’re back with the second episode of CorpCast, Morris James LLP’s podcast discussing Delaware corporate and commercial law and practice. In “Advancement 101,” we discuss the fundamentals of advancement actions in Delaware’s...more

California court Refuses To Enforce Bylaw Amendment Compelling Arbitration By the Members Of The Corporation

There have been several recent Delaware court decisions and much commentary regarding the enforceability of bylaw provisions that establish rules governing stockholder litigation, including fee-shifting provisions and forum...more

Shareholder’s Challenge to Smith & Wesson SLC’s Independence Misfires in the First Circuit

On February 4, 2015, the First Circuit affirmed the summary dismissal of a shareholder derivative suit, which brought Nevada state claims for breach of fiduciary duty, waste of corporate assets, unjust enrichment, and...more

Court Of Chancery Explains New Statutory Authority To Correct Corporate Mistakes

This is an important decision because it explains the effect of the new Sections 204-205 to the DGCL. Those provisions permit the correction of corporate actions that failed to comply with the requirements of the DGCL, such...more

Recent Delaware Court of Chancery Decisions Address When A Non-Majority Stockholder Will Be Deemed a Controlling Stockholder

In three recent decisions, the Delaware Court of Chancery reiterated that under Delaware law, a large, though not majority, stockholder of a corporation will not be considered a controlling stockholder (with the attendant...more

In re Family Dollar Stores, Inc.: No Revlon Duty to Seek Better Terms From Competing Bidder

Last month, in In re: Family Dollar Stores, Inc. Stockholder Litigation, a Delaware Chancery judge rejected the efforts of certain shareholders of Family Dollar Stores, Inc., to prevent Family Tree’s shareholders from voting...more

When a Minority Stockholder May Be Deemed a Controller

In just the past three months, the Delaware Court of Chancery has issued four opinions (In re KKR Financial Holdings LLC Shareholder Litigation, Consol. C.A. No. 9210-CB; In re Crimson Exploration Stockholder Litigation, C.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

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

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

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

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