Fiduciary Duty

News & Analysis as of

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

The fiduciary exception to the attorney-client privilege: A recent development

In a suit by the beneficiary against the trustee, is the trustee entitled to assert the attorney-client privilege against the beneficiary, or is there a fiduciary exception to the attorney-client privilege? As to...more

Proactive Steps Retirement Plan Sponsors Should Take

Retirement plan sponsors have a lot of headaches and liability because of their role as plan fiduciaries. They can sit back and do nothing, thereby increasing their potential liability. They can also be proactive and take...more

DOL Requests Information Regarding Use of Brokerage Windows and Similar Arrangements in Participant-Directed Defined Contribution...

The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) published a request for information (the “RFI”) regarding the use of brokerage windows, self-directed brokerage accounts, and similar arrangements (collectively referred to in this article...more

What Does a Fiduciary Do When Advised of an Offshore Account?

On June 18, 2014 the IRS announced changes to the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP). The changes include the following...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

Fourth Circuit Adds Even More Complexity to Benefit Plan Fiduciaries' Role

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Dudenhoeffer decision demonstrated that benefit plan fiduciaries are definitely in the litigation spotlight, and that they should exercise caution to avoid fiduciary liability in garden-variety...more

New Guidance on Locating Missing Participants for Terminated Defined Contribution Plans

On August 14, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) provided new guidance to plan fiduciaries of terminated defined contribution plans for locating missing and unresponsive participants in order to distribute their...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

Court of Appeal Clarifies Directors’ Fiduciary Duties and the Business Judgment Rule for Executive Compensation Matters

The Court of Appeal for Ontario recently affirmed the nature of directors’ and officers’ fiduciary duties and clarified the application of the business judgment rule in the context of a dispute regarding executive...more

Accounting Is Not Only Important - It's Mandatory

Imagine how you would feel if you walked into your bank, asked for a summary of your account activity and the bank told you that it had no idea how much money was in your account or how it had been spent. Of course, this...more

Fourth Circuit Adopts More Demanding Test for Exercise of Objective Prudence by Retirement Plan Fiduciaries -Tatum v. RJR Pension...

In the latest ruling in a long-running battle arising from company stock fund divestments, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has underscored the importance of procedural prudence in the management of plan...more

Fiduciary Notice Obligations Associated with Change of Carriers

This case discusses the fiduciary obligation of plan administrators to inform participants in advance of ERISA’s statutory notice periods regarding the potential impact caused by a change of life insurance carrier under a...more

New Investment Thinking for Trustees?

Traditionally, trustees invest the assets within a trust to ensure the assets are preserved for when they are distributed to the beneficiaries, often when the beneficiaries reach a certain age. However, this “cautious”...more

Supreme Court Rules No Presumption of Prudence for ESOP Fiduciaries

The United States Supreme Court clarified the duty of prudence that employee stock ownership plan fiduciaries owe to plan participants in its June 25, 2014 decision Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer 134 S.Ct. 2459 (U.S....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

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

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