News & Analysis as of

Second Circuit Reinforces High Pleading Burden for Director Duty of Oversight Claims

In Welch v. Havenstein, No. 13-2648-cv, 2014 WL 322055 (2d Cir. Jan. 30, 2014) (summary order), aff’g In re SAIC Inc. Derivative Litigation, 948 F. Supp. 2d 366 (S.D.N.Y. 2013), the United States Court of Appeals for the...more

North Carolina Supreme Court Addresses Duties of Corporate Directors

On November 8, 2013, the North Carolina Supreme Court issued a rare opinion addressing the duties of corporate directors and reaffirming that those duties are generally owed only to the corporation itself rather than the...more

In re Trados: Directors Dodge a Bullet

Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster’s August 16 post-trial opinion in In re Trados Inc. Shareholder Litigation1 (hereinafter, “In re Trados”) has attracted a significant amount of attention. Much as both the Chancery and the...more

Delaware Chancery Court Permits Shareholder to Bring Fiduciary Claim for Board’s Violation of a Stock Incentive Plan

On November 8, the Delaware Chancery Court denied a motion to dismiss a derivative action brought by a shareholder of Healthways, Inc. against the company’s president, Ben Leedle, Jr., and the board of directors for approving...more

North Carolina Business Court Holds that Shareholders Cannot Directly Sue Officers and Directors in Merger Challenge

A recent decision by the North Carolina Business Court potentially makes it more difficult for shareholders to challenge mergers and acquisitions in North Carolina. The Court held that an action against a company’s officers...more

DiRienzo v. Lichtenstein, et al., C.A. No. 7094-VCP (Del. Ch. Sept. 30, 2013) (Parsons, V.C.)

In this lengthy memorandum opinion, the Court of Chancery dismissed claims relating to a series of complex transactions in which a hedge fund, previously organized as a private limited partnership, was converted by its...more

Navigating Fiduciary Duties In Private Company Mergers And Acquisitions

I. Introduction. The conduct of corporate directors and officers is subject to particular scrutiny in the context of business combinations (whether friendly or hostile), executive compensation and other affiliated...more

Don't Sue A North Carolina Board Of Directors Over A Merger Without Reading This Case

Last week's Order in Gusinsky v. Flanders Corp., 2013 NCBC 46, should be required reading for lawyers thinking of suing the directors of a corporation in North Carolina over a merger transaction. It provides guidance on the...more

Shareholder Options for Curbing Business Mismanagement

Shareholders exercise very limited managerial rights over a corporation. Nevertheless, shareholders represent the true owners of the business and the powers that directors and officers wield ultimately flow from them. For...more

Seventh Circuit Increasingly Problematic for Directors and Officers Defending Shareholder Derivative Suits

With its recent decision in Westmoreland County Employee Retirement System v. Parkinson, et al., the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has confirmed that the courts of the Seventh Circuit can be a...more

50% Shareholder Didn't Owe Fiduciary Duty To His 50% Co-Shareholder

This week's decision from the Business Court in Maurer v. Maurer, 2013 NCBC 44 is a continuation of the litigation between Jill Maurer and the company owned by her and her husband, which was the subject of three Business...more

Ninth Circuit Rules that Say-On-Pay Suit Belongs in State Court

In a recent ruling, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit concluded that certain related shareholder derivative suits arising out of a say-on-pay decision involving Pico Holdings, Inc. (the “Company”) were...more

M&A Deal Counsel’s Role In Creating A Winning Written Record For Defending Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Litigation

While M&A transactions give rise to many different types of litigation, including disputes between the merger parties and statutory appraisal actions, the most common type of litigation stemming from public company mergers is...more

New Jersey Makes Itself Business Friendly

On April 2, 2013, Governor Chris Christie signed P.L. 2013, C.40, P.L. 2013, C.41 and P.L. 2013, C.42 into law. The three laws are intended to make New Jersey more business friendly by aligning New Jersey's corporate statutes...more

Delaware Supreme Court Issues Decision Upholding Collateral Estoppel in Shareholder Derivative Actions

The Delaware Supreme Court issued a decision on April 4, 2013, in Pyott v. Louisiana Municipal Police Employees' Retirement System concerning duplicative shareholder derivative actions and the "race to the courthouse" that...more

Delaware Chancery Court Expands Number of Direct Claims Available to Stockholders

On March 15, 2013, the Delaware Court of Chancery denied motions to dismiss filed by a group of director defendants and certain affiliated funds for claims brought by a group of stockholders. The claims allege that the...more

Kallick v. SandRidge Energy, Inc., C.A. No. 8182-CS (Del. Ch. Mar. 8, 2013) (Strine, C.)

In this opinion, the Court of Chancery granted a stockholder of SandRidge Energy, Inc. (“SandRidge” or the “Company”) injunctive relief after concluding that defendant-directors of SandRidge likely violated their fiduciary...more

In re PAETEC Holding Corp. S'holders Litig., C.A. No. 6761-VCG (Del. Ch. Mar. 19, 2013) (Glasscock, V.C.)

In this letter opinion, the Court of Chancery awarded attorneys’ fees and costs to plaintiffs’ counsel of $500,000 after analyzing plaintiffs’ unopposed fee request under the relevant Sugarland factors, and determining that...more

Appellate Notes: Week of March 25

In This Issue: - SC18915- Misiti, LLC v. Travelers Property Casualty Co. of America - SC18840- New England Road, Inc. v. Planning & Zoning Commission - SC18804- Cordero v. University of Connecticut...more

Carsanaro, et al. v. Bloodhound Tech., Inc. et al., C.A. No. 7301-VCL (Del. Ch. Mar. 15, 2013) (Laster, V.C.)

In this Opinion, the Court of Chancery denied, in large part, defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ claims challenging several allegedly self-interested and dilutive transactions....more

SEC And FBI Try To Ketchup To Heinz Insider Traders

In the latest development in an SEC lawsuit filed Friday, February 15, U.S. District Judge Rakoff extended a freeze on a Swiss Goldman Sachs account linked to possible insider trading in H.J. Heinz Company call options. The...more

Proxy Season Brings a Third Wave of “Gotcha” Shareholder Litigation

Proxy season is upon us and the plaintiffs’ bar is demonstrating its resourcefulness by bringing a third wave of shareholder litigation. This new wave, which has not crested yet, consists of a return to derivative shareholder...more

Defending Section 162(m) Executive Compensation Derivative Suits in the United States

Decisions regarding executive compensation fall squarely within the discretion of a public company’s board of directors. Recently, however, plaintiffs’ firms have been trying to invade the board’s purview by bringing...more

The First Circuit Court of Appeals Articulates a Stricter Independence Standard for Fund Directors When Evaluating Demand...

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, in Unión de Empleados de Muelles de Puerto Rico PRSSA Welfare Plan, v. UBS Financial Services Inc. of Puerto Rico, No. 11-1605, --- F.3d ----, 2013 WL 49818 (1st Cir. Jan. 4,...more

Delaware Law Update — Delaware Court Applies Heightened Scrutiny to Director Compensation

In an era of intense investor scrutiny and SEC rulemaking regarding executive compensation, a recent decision by the Delaware Court of Chancery raises questions as to the protections afforded to directors when granting...more

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