Business Judgment Rule Shareholder Litigation

News & Analysis as of

Delaware Court of Chancery Dismisses Litigation Arising from Controller Buyout of Books-A-Million Under "MFW" Framework

On October 10, 2016, the Delaware Court of Chancery issued its decision in In re Books-A-Million, Inc. Stockholders Litigation. The decision, authored by Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster, is important because it applies the...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

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

"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

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

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 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

New York Adopts Delaware Standard for Going-Private Transactions

On May 5, 2016, the New York Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of a shareholder class action and formally adopted the standard of review for going-private transactions articulated by the Delaware Supreme Court in Kahn...more

New York Follows Delaware, Applies Business Judgment Rule to Going-Private Mergers

On May 5, 2016, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that courts should apply the business judgment rule in shareholder lawsuits challenging going-private mergers, as long as shareholders were adequately protected—a decision...more

N.Y. Court of Appeals Adopts Business Judgment Rule, with Conditions, for Going-Private Mergers

The New York Court of Appeals has followed Delaware in holding that the business-judgment rule applies to going-private mergers as long as certain shareholder-protective measures are met. The court’s May 5, 2016 decision in...more

Seventh Circuit Applies Strong Business Judgment Rule to Reject Assertion of Demand Futility

In a recent decision in a diversity case, the Seventh Circuit deferred to a state legislature’s “strongly pro-management version of the business judgment rule,” rejecting a derivative claim filed by shareholders in an Indiana...more

RBC Capital Markets, LLC v. Jervis, No. 140, 2015 (Del. Nov. 30, 2015) (Valihura, J.)

In this en banc decision, the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed the principal legal holdings and final judgment of the Court of Chancery finding, among other things, that RBC Capital Markets, LLC (“RBC”) aided and abetted...more

Maryland Appellate Court Clarifies Applicability of Business Judgment Rule for Board Responding to Shareholder Demand

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals recently ruled in Oliveira v. Sugarman, -- A.3d --, 2016 WL 361055 (2016), that a Maryland board's rejection of a shareholder demand is subject to the presumption of the business judgment...more

Insights: The Delaware Edition - October 2015

We are pleased to share with you the inaugural issue of Insights: The Delaware Edition, a periodic publication addressing significant Delaware deal litigation and corporation law developments. In This Issue: - Q&A...more

In re Cornerstone Therapeutics Inc. S’holder Litig., C.A. No. 564, 2014 (Del. May 14, 2015) & Leal v. Meeks, C.A. No. 706, 2014...

In these interlocutory appeals, the Delaware Supreme Court resolved a long-standing split in Delaware authorities by ruling that independent directors (including members of a special committee negotiating a transaction with a...more

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

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

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

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

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

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