News & Analysis as of

Delaware Supreme Court Rules That Privileged Documents Must Be Produced To Shareholders Investigating Corporate Misconduct

The Delaware Supreme Court recently held that, in certain circumstances, shareholders may be able to obtain access to privileged, internal documents in order to investigate potential breaches of fiduciary duty. In Wal-Mart...more

The Root Cause of Skyrocketing Securities Class Action Defense Costs

Why do the costs of defending securities class actions continue to increase? Because of my writing on the subject) I’m asked about the issue a lot. My answer has evolved from blaming biglaw economics – a combination of...more

Director Liability for Cybersecurity Risks

If a corporation is the target of a cyberattack resulting in a data breach, its board may be the target of a shareholder derivative action claiming breach of fiduciary duty. A recent example is Palkon v. Holmes, No....more

Significant Legislation Affecting Business Passed by General Assembly

At the end of last week, the North Carolina General Assembly passed significant legislation affecting the State’s business legal climate. With large bipartisan majorities, the Legislature adopted Senate Bill 853 (SB 853),...more

California Dividend Statutes Found To Preempt Common Law Claims

Chapter 5 of the California Corporations Code imposes specific limitations on “distributions to shareholders”, a term defined in Corporations Code section 166. Directors who approve the making of any distribution to...more

Delaware Court Dismisses Shareholder Class Action Suit Attacking Corporate Merger

Almost every proposed corporate merger is met with a shareholder suit against the acquiring company, merger target and the target’s board of directors in which the shareholders assert that the board breached its fiduciary...more

The Ropes Recap: Mergers & Acquisition Law News - Second Quarter 2014

In this issue: -Delaware Legislative Update -Delaware Supreme Court Upholds Facial Validity of Fee-Shifting Provisions in Bylaws of Delaware Non-Stock Corporation -News from the Courts: -Court...more

Brevan Howard v. Spanish Broad. Sys., Inc., C.A. No. 9209-VCG (Del. Ch. June 27, 2014) (Glasscock, V.C.)

In this memorandum opinion, the Delaware Court of Chancery denied defendant’s motion to dismiss, finding that plaintiffs had standing and sufficiently pled their breach of contract claim. Defendant, Spanish...more

Counsel to the Company: A Framework for Corporate Governance

As a threshold matter, counsel must identify, and remain clear as to, the identity of its client, which may be the company or a subsidiary, the Board or Board committee, or one or more executives. The identity of the client...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

In re TriQuint Semiconductor, Inc. S'holders Litig., C.A. No. 9415-VCN (Del. Ch. Jun. 13, 2014) (Noble, V.C.)

In this letter opinion denying plaintiffs’ motion to expedite, the Court of Chancery held that plaintiffs, shareholders of TriQuint Semiconductor, Inc. (“TriQuint” or the “Company”), failed to assert a colorable claim that...more

Flaa v. Montano, C.A. No. 9146-VCG (Del. Ch. May 29, 2014) (Glasscock, V.C.)

In this post-trial decision in a proceeding pursuant to 8 Del. C. § 225, the Court of Chancery invalidated stockholder action by written consent on the ground that the proxy solicitation materials failed to disclose an...more

Exclusive Forum Provisions: A New Item for Corporate Governance and M&A Checklists

Public companies increasingly are adopting “exclusive forum” bylaws and charter provisions that require their stockholders to go to specified courts if they want to make fiduciary duty or other intra-corporate claims against...more

Biolase v. Oracle Partners, L.P., C.A. No. 9438 (Del. June 12, 2014)

In this expedited appeal from a post-trial decision of the Court of Chancery, the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Chancery’s holding that, under 8 Del. C. § 141(b), directors may resign by verbal statements,...more

Bishop Gassis v. Corkery, C.A. No. 8868-VCG (Del. Ch. May 28, 2014) (Glasscock, V.C.)

In this post-trial decision in a proceeding pursuant to 8 Del. C. § 225, the Court of Chancery held that the board of the Sudan Relief Fund, Inc. (the “Fund”), a charitable corporation, validly removed the plaintiff as a...more

Delaware Court of Chancery Applies Entire Fairness Standard to Going-Private Transaction with a Controlling Stockholder Negotiated...

In In re Orchard Enterprises, Inc. Stockholder Litigation, the Delaware Court of Chancery held that the entire fairness standard of review applied to a going-private transaction with a controlling stockholder, even though the...more

If Fee-Shifting Bylaws Are Ever Put On Trial, This Case Should Be Exhibit A

Item 5.07(d) of Form 8-K requires issuers to disclose “the company’s decision in light of such vote as to how frequently the company will include a shareholder vote on the compensation of executives in its proxy materials...more

Using Corporate Bylaws and Charters to Set the Rules for Shareholder Litigation

Recent court decisions, including the Delaware Supreme Court’s opinion earlier this month in ATP Tour, Inc. v. Deutscher Tennis Bund, have focused new attention on the use of corporate bylaws and charters to establish the...more

Is The Free Lunch Ending For Stockholders Who Sue Corporations? Fee-Shifting Introduced In Intra-Corporate Litigation

ATP Tour: The Little Case That Could - On May 8, 2014 the Delaware Supreme Court upheld a “loser pays” fee-shifting bylaw for a Delaware non-stock corporation in ATP Tour, Inc. v. Deutscher Tennis Bund. ...more

Delaware Supreme Court Approves Fee-Shifting Bylaw for Non-Stock Corporations - The Court’s Reasoning Suggests These Provisions...

In its May 8, 2014 decision in ATP Tour, Inc. v. Deutscher Tennis Bund, No. 534, 2013, --- A.3d ----, 2014 WL 1847446 (Del. May 8, 2014), the Delaware Supreme Court may have opened the door to the adoption by Delaware...more

Third Point LLC v. Ruprecht — Activism Confronts the Rights Plan

The Delaware Court of Chancery refuses to enjoin Sotheby’s annual meeting and allows Sotheby’s “poison pill” to protect against an activist’s proxy contest. Implications for our Clients - In a thirty year-long...more

Delaware Court of Chancery Underscores Heightened Pleading Standard Necessary to Support a Claim for Breach of Fiduciary Duty In...

In Houseman v. Sagerman, C.A. No. 8898-VCG, 2014 WL 1478511 (Del. Ch. Apr. 16, 2014), the Delaware Court of Chancery (Glasscock, V.C.) granted, in part, a motion to dismiss filed by certain directors and the financial advisor...more

"Delaware Court of Chancery Recognizes Potential Benefits of Shareholder Rights Plans in Addressing Shareholder Activism"

William F. Ruprecht, et al., and Sotheby’s, which, in essence, recognized that a board of directors could adopt a shareholder rights plan as a reasonable response to a threat posed by an activist shareholder....more

It’s Prime Time for Shareholder Engagement

Shareholder engagement has become decidedly mainstream in recent years according to a new study by ISS entitled Defining Engagement: An Update on the Evolving Relationship Between Shareholders, Directors and Executives. The...more

Poison Pills with Lower Ownership Thresholds for Activist Investors Come Under Attack

On March 25, 2014, Daniel Loeb’s Third Point LLC filed suit against Sotheby’s and its directors in Delaware’s Court of Chancery to invalidate Sotheby’s poison pill. The board of Sotheby’s adopted the poison pill this past...more

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