News & Analysis as of

The Next Wave of Proxy Access Proposals: What Issuers Should Know and How They Can Prepare

The Comptroller of the City of New York, who oversees pension funds with a combined $160 billion in assets, recently submitted proxy access shareholder proposals at 75 U.S. public companies as part of its Boardroom...more

NYC Pension Fund Submits 75 Proxy Access Proposals

New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, on behalf of the $160 billion New York City Pension Funds, has submitted proxy access shareowner proposals to 75 companies. The proposals request a bylaw to give shareowners who...more

Consequences of a Data Breach: Lessons from Wyndham Worldwide

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

Court Dismisses Shareholder Derivative Action Targeting Directors and Officers for Data Breaches

Earlier this week a federal district court in New Jersey dismissed with prejudice a shareholder derivative suit, Palkon v. Holmes, No. 14-CV-01234 (SRC) (D.N.J.), that tried to blame the directors and officers at hospitality...more

ISS Publishes 2015 Draft Policy Changes; Comments Due by October 29, 2014

On October 15, 2014, Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (“ISS”) published its key draft policy changes for the 2015 proxy season. There are only two proposed updates for the United States. The first introduces a new...more

ISS Releases 2015 Draft Voting Policy Changes for Comment

On October 15, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), a leading proxy advisory firm, released for comment draft voting policy changes for 2015. The two significant proposals that would impact US companies are as follows...more

ISS Releases 2015 Draft Voting Policies for Independent Chair and Equity Incentive Plan Proposals

Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) recently released for public comment its 2015 draft voting policies. The draft policies relate to two topics affecting the U.S. market: independent board chair shareholder proposals...more

Delaware Court Approves Out-Of-State Forum Selection Bylaw Adopted At Time Of Merger

In City of Providence v. First Citizens BancShares Inc. et al., C.A. No. 9795-CB (Del. Ch. Sept. 8, 2014), the Delaware Court of Chancery (Bouchard, C.) held that a minority shareholder's claims against a Delaware...more

1, 2 or 3 Years? How Should Boards Decide The Frequency Of Say-On-Pay Votes?

Although the initial ruckus over how to determine the outcome of executive compensation say-on-frequency votes has subsided, I still maintain that the Securities and Exchange Commission botched the rule (§240.14a-21(b)). ...more

Activism: An Overview from the Company Perspective

Increasingly, companies are being confronted with shareholders seeking to exercise power and influence over business activities. The term “activism” has become a buzzword to refer to shareholders seeking to make operational,...more

Delaware Court of Chancery Reaffirms Enforceability of Forum Selection Bylaws

In City of Providence v. First Citizens BancShares, Inc. (Del. Ch. September 8, 2014), the Delaware Court of Chancery upheld a forum selection bylaw that designated North Carolina as the exclusive forum for certain...more

SEC Charges Insiders for Violations of Section 16(a) and Section 13

On September 10, 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced charges against 28 officers, directors, and major shareholders for violating federal securities laws requiring them to report information about their...more

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

Activism and Engagement: Yadda, Yadda, Yadda or a Useful tool (or a Little of Both)

Activism is on the rise and everyone's activism defense playbook includes engagement, engagement and more engagement as the principal response. The experts in the field are well versed in when to engage, who to engage...more

Creative Shareholder Engagement–Director Videos?

Much has been written lately about the importance of shareholder engagement. (See this Doug’s Note, for example.) There has even been recent clambering to involve directors directly in shareholder engagement....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

Directors and stockholder engagement: what path to take?

For many decades, independent directors in most public companies generally avoided face-to-face interaction with stockholders. At most, large stockholders would receive a visit from management on a swing through New York or...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

Stockholder Proposal Seeks To Ratification Of All Decisions And Actions

For the last six years, Amerco as included a rather unique stockholder proposal in its proxy statement. It’s there again this year. Basically, it asks the stockholders to ratify and affirm all decisions and actions by...more

Texas Supreme Court's Recent Shareholder Oppression Opinions Reaffirm Primacy of Common Law Fiduciary Duties Under Gearhart

In three recent cases, the Texas Supreme Court has made it clear that for claims of "minority shareholder oppression" — essentially, acts of a majority shareholder group that are harmful to a minority shareholder without...more

2014 Changes to Delaware Corporate Law

Earlier this month, several significant amendments to the Delaware General Corporation Law (the DGCL) were approved. These amendments are substantially the same as the amendments originally proposed in April 2014 and will...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

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