Breach of Duty

News & Analysis as of

The Delaware Court Of Chancery Can See Forever On A Clear Day (Even To North Carolina)

I don't usually write about decisions from the Delaware Court of Chancery because it's rare for that Court to even mention North Carolina. But a decision by that Court this week -- in City of Providence v. First Citizens...more

Breaking: Chancery Court Issues Decision on Claims Against Independent Directors in Controlling Stockholder Transactions

Delaware decisional law on entire fairness review of controlling shareholder transactions has been complicated in part by the subtle distinction between facially disinterested directors (who are liable only where a specific,...more

“So What?”: Montana’s Supreme Court Turns a Deaf Ear to Insurers Charged With Breaching the Duty to Defend

Earlier this year, in K2 Investment Group v. American Guaranty & Liability Ins. Co., 983 N.Y.S.2d 761 (N.Y. 2014), New York’s highest court adopted—but then decided against—a rule under which a liability insurer that has...more

First Circuit Confirms No Fiduciary Breach in Use of a Retained Asset Account

For the second time this summer, the First Circuit Court of Appeals addressed whether an ERISA fiduciary’s use of a retained asset account (“RAA”) to pay death benefits is a breach of fiduciary duty. In Merrimon v. Unum Life...more

Texas Supreme Court Reinforces that Subcontractors May be Liable to Property Owners

On August 22, 2014, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that both the trial court and the court of appeals improperly dismissed a property owner's claim for negligence against a subcontractor for improper plumbing installation in...more

What Does Delaware’s Wal-Mart Decision Mean for the Attorney-Client Privilege and Internal Investigations?

The Delaware Supreme Court’s decision in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Indiana Electrical Workers Pension Trust Fund IBEW, No. 614, 2014 Del. LEXIS 336, 2014 WL 3638848 (July 23, 2014), a Section 220 “books and records” case...more

LLC Managers Beware: Get Involved With Member Distributions By an Insolvent LLC and You May Be Personally Liable

A chapter 7 trustee sued a manager of three limited liability company (LLC) debtors for breach of fiduciary duty and to hold the manager personally liable for distributions made to members, including himself....more

Fiduciary Duties in the Context of Dent v. Ramtron Int’l Corp.

The Delaware Court of Chancery recently addressed a number of claims commonly made in the “ubiquitous” stockholder litigation that follows announcement of a public merger or acquisition transaction. In Dent v. Ramtron Int’l...more

When Winding Up A Corporation Don't Do This

I don't know any lawyers who specialize in winding up corporations, but if any of you are out there, you should read this post. It is important to remember, when winding up a corporation, that "principals and directors...more

Corporations Don't Independently Owe Fiduciary Duties to Stockholders

On Aug. 7, Vice Chancellor Sam Glasscock III issued a letter opinion in the matter Buttonwood Tree Value Partners LP v. R.L. Polk & Co., C.A. No. 9250-VCL, that is not attention-grabbing because it wrestles with some nuanced...more

7th Circuit Holds Excess Insurer Has No Duty to Indemnify Punitive Damages

In its recent decision in Fox v. Am. Alternative Ins. Corp., 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 12799 (7th. Cir. July 7, 2014), the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, applying Illinois law, had occasion to consider...more

Court Rules LLC Form Provided No Fiduciary Shield To Personal Jurisdiction

Last Friday’s post concerned whether a plaintiff could establish jurisdiction by tagging a corporate officer attending a conference in California. The question was whether a corporation is present wherever its officers are...more

Law Firms Are Not Body Shops: An Insurer’s Duty to Defend Requires it to Pay Only the Defense Costs the Insured Actually Paid

In the course of discharging their coverage obligations, insurers often benefit from bargains they strike with service providers. Healthcare insurers pay in-network caregivers rates that are dramatically lower than the...more

This Week In Securities Litigation

The Second Circuit upheld SEC Rule 10b-5-2 which defines certain types of relationships as the predicate for insider trading. In reaching its conclusion the Court rejected an argument that an insider trading claim must be...more

Ontario Court Of Appeal Upholds Finding of Breach of Fiduciary Duty Respecting Executive Compensation

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently upheld a trial court decision which concluded that the CEO, who was also a director, breached his fiduciary duty to the corporation when the directors of Unique Broadband Systems, Inc....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

Divided Fourth Circuit Panel Rules On Burden of Proving Loss Causation in ERISA Fiduciary Breach Case

That was the sentiment expressed in a blistering dissent by Fourth Circuit Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson in the latest ruling in a lawsuit challenging the decision by the fiduicaries of the RJR 401(k) plan to liquidate two stock...more

District Court Confirms Caremark Applies to Audit Committee Oversight of Internal Controls

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California recently granted a motion to dismiss a derivative action in which the plaintiff alleged that the directors of VeriFone Systems, Inc. breached fiduciary duties...more

Third Circuit Rejects Claim that Fiduciary Duty Required For Insider Trading

Insider trading cases frequently turn on the nature of the relationship between the trader and the person who is the source of information. The breach of that relationship of trust and confidence can supply the statutory...more

The Reckless Fiduciary: When Are Imprudent U.S. Fiduciaries Liable For Plan Losses?

“A pure heart and an empty head are not enough.” This is a quote from an early case defining the scope of ERISA fiduciary liability. However, ERISA has always made fiduciaries responsible only for losses caused by their...more

Recent Developments in California Bad Faith Law and Related Trends

On July 29, 2014, I spoke on a panel about recent developments in California bad faith law and related trends. My co-presenter was Robert K. Scott of The Law Offices of Robert K. Scott, and we gave the presentation at ACI’s...more

Venture Capital Firm Liable For "Aiding And Abetting" Breach Of Fiduciary Duty

A recent case in the California Court of Appeals underscores the dangers that await venture capital firms brave (or foolish) enough to fund companies in the midst of internal disputes. In American Master Lease LLC v Idanta...more

Delaware Likes Garner/California Not So Much

In 1970, Richard Nixon was president, the 26th Amendment was still not part of the Constitution, and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Garner v. Wolfinbarger, 430 F.2d 1093 (5th Cir. 1970). In that...more

Doing Business in Canada: Directors' Liabilities

DIRECTORS’ LIABILITIES - In Canada, there is a legal duty for every director and officer of a corporation to act honestly and in good faith with a view to the best interests of the corporation when exercising his/her...more

Hedge Funds and Material Nonpublic Information: The Role of Deception, Duty, Breach, Personal Benefit and Knowledge in Creating...

The last thing hedge funds need is another wake up call about the risks of liability for trading on the basis of material nonpublic information. But if they did, a July 17 article in the Wall Street Journal would provide it....more

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