Business Judgment Rule

News & Analysis as of

What’s Happening in Delaware M&A – Summer 2016

This update provides a summary of recent Delaware caselaw and statutory developments concerning mergers and acquisitions, including new cases regarding appraisal rights, fraud claims and fiduciary duty and deal process...more

In re Volcano Corporation Stockholder Litigation, C.A. No. 10485-VCMR (Del. Ch. June 30, 2016) (Montgomery-Reeves, V.C.).

In this memorandum opinion, the Court of Chancery dismissed claims for breach of fiduciary duty under Chancery Rule 12(b)(6), holding that an irrebuttable business judgment rule standard applies to a merger effected under...more

Chancery Court Denies Motion to Dismiss Fiduciary Duty Claims Where Directors Approved Merger That Extinguished Threatened...

On July 28, 2016, the Delaware Court of Chancery held that stockholders of Riverstone National, Inc. had adequately stated a breach of fiduciary duty claim against the company's directors who approved a merger that...more

Delaware Chancery Court Finds that Director Defendants Can Not “Merge Their Way Out of” Breach of Fiduciary Claims

On July 28, 2016, the Delaware Chancery Court allowed claims of unfair dealing against the Board of property management company Riverstone National Inc. to survive where the directors facilitated a merger that forestalled a...more

Homeowners Associations – Business Judgment Rule

Palm Springs Villa II Homeowners Association, Inc. v. Erna Parth - Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District (June 21, 2016) - The “business judgment rule” refers to a judicial policy of deference to the business...more

Drilling Deeper: The Intersection of Producer Bankruptcies and Gathering Agreements

The issue of whether gathering agreements are subject to rejection in bankruptcy as executory contracts and whether certain provisions of those agreements run with the land and survive rejection will impact ongoing bankruptcy...more

Delaware Chancery Court Confirms: Two Step Merger Initiated As A Tender Offer Enjoys Business Judgment Rule Protection

The Delaware Court of Chancery recently held that where a majority of a corporation’s fully informed, disinterested, and un-coerced stockholders tender their shares as part of a two-step merger, that has the same “cleansing”...more

Delaware Court of Chancery Finds Accepting Tender Offer Has Same Cleansing Effect as Stockholder Vote

In In re Volcano Corporation Stockholder Litigation, the Delaware Court of Chancery recently held that majority stockholder approval of a merger under Delaware General Corporation Law Section 251(h) by accepting a tender...more

The Ever-Increasing Importance of the Shareholder Vote: Delaware Chancery Court Extends Corwin to Two-Step Mergers under DGCL §...

On June 30, 2016, the Delaware Chancery Court extended the Supreme Court’s holding in Corwin v. KKR Financial Holdings LLC, 125 A.3d 304 (Del. 2015), to two-step mergers under DGCL § 251(h). The Chancery Court concluded that...more

Consider Adding Separate Annual Sublimit on Director Equity Awards

In response to the Delaware Chancery Court’s 2012 and 2015 decisions in Seinfeld v. Slager and Calma v. Templeton and Facebook’s 2016 settlement of Espinoza v. Zuckerberg, public companies that are adopting or amending...more

Are A Breach Of Fiduciary Duty And A Breach Of Governing Documents “Non Bis In Idem”?

Last week, I discussed the Court of Appeal’s consideration of whether the business judgment rule protects a director from claims based on breach of the corporation’s governing documents. See Does The Business Judgment Rule...more

Does The Business Judgment Rule Protect Directors Who Violate Governing Documents?

Under the business judgment rule, a director will not be liable for a mistake in business judgment provided that certain conditions are met. In the case of a California nonprofit mutual benefit corporation, a director who...more

Trouble Down the Pipeline? What Sabine Oil & Gas Corp. May Mean For The Midstream Service Sector

Recently, the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York issued an opinion in In re Sabine Oil & Gas Corp. that permitted the debtor, Sabine Oil & Gas Corporation ("Sabine") to reject certain gathering and...more

Who Decides Whether A Shareholder Has Complied With An Advance Notice Bylaw?

UCLA Professor Stephen Bainbridge asked the following question concerning advance notice bylaw provisions in “The Professor is Stumped: Today’s Corporate Law Question“...more

"Delaware Supreme Court Enhances Protections for Controlling Stockholder Buyouts"

In November 2015, the Delaware Supreme Court bolstered the protection afforded to majority or controlling stockholders seeking to buy out the minority, provided that the transaction is structured in accordance with the...more

"Court of Chancery Addresses Fundamental Issues of Derivative Litigation"

The Delaware Court of Chancery recently issued a trio of notable opinions involving stockholder derivative actions. The opinions addressed fundamental issues of law such as whether particular kinds of stockholder claims are...more

New York High Court Adopts Delaware Rule in Go-Private Suits

New York’s highest court earlier this month adopted a more lenient standard for reviewing certain types of corporate transactions between companies and controlling shareholders, similar to that adopted two years ago by...more

Cybersecurity, Boards and Cyber-Board "Experts": Caution Should Rule

A continuing frequent question from public companies is how a board should be constituted to oversee cybersecurity. Many public companies foist this additional burden on the audit committee. Those large enough to have a...more

New York High Court Adopts Business Judgment Rule for Going-Private Transactions When Certain Minority Shareholder Protections Are...

Background of Kenneth Cole Productions Shareholder Litigation - The case involved Kenneth Cole Productions (KCP), a public New York corporation well-known as the designer and marketer of shoes, apparel and accessories....more

Bankruptcy Court Opinion Clarifies California Law on Duties of Directors & Officers Upon Insolvency

It is not unusual in the lifecycle of a start-up for the company to hit road blocks and have cash flow issues. During these times, the board and its members will ask the company’s professionals what their fiduciary duties are...more

Top Courts in Delaware and New York Affirm Business Judgment Rule Protection Where Procedural Safeguards are Followed

In recent decisions, both the Delaware Supreme Court and the New York Court of Appeals affirmed defendant-friendly lower court rulings, holding that, if appropriate procedural safeguards are employed in M&A transactions,...more

Delaware Supreme Court Reaffirms KKR, But Sounds Cautionary Note to Gatekeepers

On May 6, 2016, the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed the Delaware Chancery Court's ruling that Zale Corporation's sale to Signet Jewelers withstood scrutiny under the business judgment rule because the transaction was approved...more

New York High Court Holds Business Judgment Rule May Apply to Going-Private Mergers

On May 5, 2016, the New York Court of Appeals in Matter of Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc., Shareholder Litigation, 2016 WL 2350133 (N.Y. May 5, 2016) (Matter of Kenneth Cole), adopted the approach of the Supreme Court of...more

New York Court of Appeals Adopts Delaware Law, Affirming Business Judgment Deference for Controlling Stockholder Transactions...

On May 5, 2016, New York’s highest court confirmed that, under New York law, business judgment deference—rather than more searching “entire fairness” review—applies to controlling stockholder transactions that are approved by...more

New York High Court Adopts Delaware's Deferential Business Judgment Review for Controlling Stockholder Buyouts

In re Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc. Shareholder Litigation - We previously reported on the Delaware Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Kahn v. M&F Worldwide Corp. (MFW) applying the deferential, defendant-friendly...more

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