Business Judgment Rule

News & Analysis as of

Executive Compensation Paid to Controlling Shareholders Subject to Business Judgment Review When Approved by an Independent...

Members of the Dolan family hold 73% of the voting power of Cablevision Systems Corporation’s stock. A shareholder commenced a derivative action regarding the executive compensation paid to Dolan family members serving as...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

Yet Another Reason to Consider Separate Annual Limits on Director Equity Awards

As reported in a prior blog post, public company employers that are adopting or amending equity-based compensation plans should consider adding a separate annual limit on director equity awards. In a recent Delaware Chancery...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

Protecting Director Equity Grants from Entire Fairness Review

The Delaware Court of Chancery recently held in Calma v. Templeton that the decision by the Citrix Systems, Inc. board of directors to grant equity compensation to its non-employee directors was subject to the entire fairness...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

Exculpatory Provisions Provide Powerful Protection for Independent Directors

The Delaware Supreme Court recently issued an important decision clarifying the standards that govern claims for money damages against independent directors of corporations whose charters contain exculpatory provisions....more

A Key Reminder to Directors of Delaware Corporations When Granting Equity Awards under an Equity Incentive Plan

Corporate directors routinely make decisions regarding their own compensation. If challenged by stockholders, such decisions are generally reviewed by Delaware courts under the onerous "entire fairness" standard, which...more

Less Is More? Not when it comes to director compensation plans and effective shareholder ratification

Companies cannot merely rely upon shareholder approval to obtain protection under the business judgment rule. While the courts in Delaware do frequently apply the standard of waste to claims of breach of fiduciary duty and...more

Back To The Future – Should Stock Incentive Plans Impose Grant Limits on Non-Employee Director Awards?

On April 30, 2015, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware rendered an important case decision in a procedural matter dealing with the equity compensation of non-employee members of a company’s board of directors (see...more

Delaware court of chancery issues significant ruling on the ability of creditors to assert fiduciary duty claims against...

In Quadrant Structured Products Co. v. Vertin, 2015 WL 2062115 (Del. Ch. May 4, 2015), the Delaware Court of Chancery (Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster) announced a bright-line standard governing the threshold inquiry of when...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

Court Of Chancery Explains Creditor’s Right To File Fiduciary Duty Claims

While it is generally known that creditors may only file derivative suits when the company is insolvent, there have been many open issues about what exactly that means. This decision answers many of those questions by...more

Director Equity Grants Subject to Entire Fairness Review

In Valma v. Templeton et al, the Delaware Court of Chancery held that grants of restricted stock units, or RSUs, to directors of Citrix Systems, Inc. were subject to an entire fairness standard of review. The court found...more

Avoiding Personal Liability: A Guide For Directors And Officers

According to the popular media, we are living in an era of corporate crime. Scandals like Enron, HealthSouth and WorldCom stretch so far back they seem like they are not even of this millennium. Among the milestones since...more

Delaware Supreme Court Leaves Open The Question Of Whether Breach Of Contract Is A Business Judgment

In this interesting order affirming a Chancery decision, the Supreme Court went out of its way to make a point. A stockholder suit alleging that the board breached a stock option plan may state a claim for breach of contract...more

Appointment Of Independent Directors On The Eve Of Bankruptcy: Why The Growing Trend?

In recent years, companies in financial distress have found “independent” directors to be useful to achieve protections for their board members. An independent director is a director – usually with no prior affiliation to the...more

The Ropes Recap: Mergers & Acquisitions Law News - January 2015

In this issue: - News from the Courts - Delaware Supreme Court Clarifies Fiduciary Duties in Sale Context and Overturns Judicial Imposition of Auction in Deal with Passive Market Check - Illinois Court...more

Minority Shareholder Oppression In Family Businesses In Pennsylvania

Decades ago, Pennsylvania courts, as well as other state courts, were reluctant to interfere with business judgments of majority shareholders managing a corporation, even where the expectations of a minority shareholder had...more

Appellate Division Review - Business Judgment Rule, Privilege, Child Support, Animal Rights

The more things change, the more they remain the same. As we enter a new year, New York’s Appellate Division faces the same and greater challenges: increasing caseloads, staff shortages, judicial vacancies, and legal disputes...more

Delaware Corporate Law And Litigation: What Happened In 2014 And What It Means For You In 2015

In This Issue: - Delaware’s Leading Role in Business and Business Litigation - Curbing Stockholder Litigation: Exclusive Forum and Fee-Shifting Provisions - Two-Tiered Poison Pill Targeted at Hedge Fund...more

Government Contracts Quarterly Update - January 2015

The Government Contracts Quarterly Update is published by BakerHostetler’s Government Contracts Practice team to inform our clients and friends of the latest developments in federal government contracting. Topics in...more

Delaware Court Determines That 17.5% Stockholder Seeking To Take Company Private Could Be Deemed A Controller And Therefore...

On November 26, 2014, the Delaware Court of Chancery denied a motion to dismiss a complaint challenging a going-private transaction where the company's CEO, Chairman and 17.5% stockholder was leading the buyout group. In his...more

Higher Educ. Mgmt. Group, Inc. v. Mathews et al., C.A. No. 9110-VCP (Del. Ch. Nov. 3, 2014) (Parsons, V.C.)

In this memorandum opinion, the Court of Chancery granted defendants’ motion to dismiss derivative claims asserted by plaintiff stockholders on the grounds that the plaintiffs failed to adequately plead demand futility under...more

New York Appellate Court Affirms Business Judgment Rule for Going-Private Transaction

New York companies seeking to go private with a controlling shareholder may now be less vulnerable to shareholder litigation. On November 20, 2014, the New York Appellate Division, First Department, affirmed a New...more

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