Duty of Loyalty

News & Analysis as of

Common Law Business Partnership – Can You Have a Partner Despite a Contrary Agreement?

Believing that a non-binding term sheet and earlier written agreements precluded any unwritten partnership, Original Oil Production Services (OOPS) cut out its colleague Petroleum United Transfer Zenith (PUTZ) and secretly...more

Employees and “Authorized Access”: A Threat from Within?

Workplace privacy has become an increasingly challenging issue for employees and employers alike. With technological advancements, employers have enhanced visibility into employee behavior including their use of company...more

Southern District of Florida Case Challenging Bylaw Requiring Minimum Stake to Sue Dismissed

As we have previously discussed, there has been a growing trend of corporations’ adopting various types of bylaws to define the bounds of shareholder litigation. These include forum-selection bylaws and fee-shifting bylaws...more

Inside M&A - October 2015

Overview of SPACs and Latest Trends - A number of recent successful business combination transactions involving special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) led by prominent sponsors have driven a resurgence in the SPAC...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

"Delaware Supreme Court Reaffirms Important Protections for Corporate Directors"

A trio of opinions from the Delaware Supreme Court, each authored by Chief Justice Leo E. Strine, Jr., has reaffirmed Delaware’s deference to the business judgment of disinterested corporate decision-makers and restored...more

"Dole Ruling Serves as Cautionary Tale for Take-Private Deals"

Earlier this year, in a consolidated breach of fiduciary duty and appraisal action, Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster of the Delaware Court of Chancery issued a post-trial opinion that includes many important takeaways for...more

Update from Wilson Elser’s D&O Insurance Digest

Litigation Developments and Mega Settlements - Dole Food, Inc. Derivative Action – Delaware Chancery Court Finds D&Os Engaged in Fraud - Dole Food, Inc. shareholders sued Dole Chairman and CEO David Murdock and Dole...more

Corporate Divorce Series: Your Cheatin’ Heart … Is Thinking About Leaving a Job Flirting or Infidelity?

You don’t have to have an Ashley Madison account to know that a spouse who strays into an affair is unfaithful to the marriage. Is there a similar adulterous line for employees when they consider leaving an existing job?...more

Chancery Court Provides Lessons on Conflicts of Interest in a Sales Process – Holds Only Financial Advisor Open to Liability

In an October 1st decision (In re Zale Corporation), the Delaware Chancery Court dismissed claims that Zale Corporation’s directors breached their fiduciary duties in connection with Zale’s agreement to merge with Signet. ...more

A WARNing to Directors and Officers — Failure to give proper WARN Act notice may breach your fiduciary duty

At first glance, Stanziale v. MILK072011, looks like someone suing over a bad expiration date and conjures up images of Ron Burgundy proclaiming “milk was a bad choice.” But in actuality Stanziale is much more interesting: it...more

The Duty of Loyalty Lives on in New Jersey

In an interesting decision affirming the ‘old-but-not-forgotten’ principle that an employee owes his first duty of loyalty to her employer, the New Jersey Supreme Court recently affirmed a decision allowing an employer to...more

Fraud Vitiated Special-Committee Process in Dole Merger

In a self-interested transaction between a company and its controlling stockholder, the operative standard of judicial review under Delaware law is the most rigorous: entire fairness standard of review. To obtain the least...more

Getting Your Money Back: New Jersey Employers Can Disgorge A Disloyal Employee’s Salary

In a recent ruling, the New Jersey Supreme Court gave employers a great recourse for dealing with former employees who breach their duty of loyalty. In Bruce Kaye v. Alan P. Rosefielde, the Court allowed an employer to...more

North Dakota Supreme Court Addresses What Creates a Fiduciary Relationship with a Land Broker

On September 21, 2015, the North Dakota Supreme Court found that a fiduciary relationship between an oil company and its landman could exist depending upon the existence of a confidential relationship. Irish Oil...more

Going-Private Transaction Results in $148 Million Fraud Charge for CEO and GC – What to Consider Going Forward

The Delaware Court of Chancery (the "Court") recently found the CEO, David Murdock ("Murdock"), and the General Counsel, C. Michael Carter ("Carter"), of Dole Foods Company (the "Company") personally liable to investors for...more

Justice Friedman Allows Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claim to Proceed Against Corporate Directors Under Delaware Law

In AP Services, LLP v. Lobell et. al, No. 651613/2012, 2015 NY Slip Op 31115(U) (N.Y. Sup. Ct. June 19, 2015) (argued Feb. 21, 2014), Justice Friedman, applying Delaware Law, denied a motion to dismiss plaintiff AP Services,...more

In re Dole Food Co., Inc.; A Going-Private Primer

In an August 27, 2015 decision, Vice Chancellor Laster of the Delaware Chancery Court found that the chief executive officer (David H. Murdock) and president and general counsel (C. Michael Carter) of Dole Food Co., Inc....more

Delaware Court Holds Interested Directors Liable for "Fairer Price" In Going Private Transaction

In one of the largest ever M&A-related recoveries for shareholders, Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster ordered Dole Food Company, Inc.’s Chairman and CEO, David Murdock, and Dole’s former President, COO and General Counsel, C....more

Court Of Chancery Explains Unfair Dealing Law In Cash-Out Case

Aside from the very large damage award, this decision should be noted for its thorough analysis of the duties of a controlling stockholder and his aides in the way they act to carry out a going private transaction....more

CLIENT ALERT: Court Finds Dole Food Company Directors Liable; Awards $148M in Damages

In re Dole Food Company, Inc. Stockholder Litigation, Consolidated C.A. No. 8703-VCL - In re Appraisal of Dole Food Company, Inc., Consolidated C.A. No. 9079-VCL - In a much anticipated post-trial decision, the...more

In re General Motors Company Derivative Litig., C.A. No. 9627-VCG (Del. Ch. June 26, 2015) (Glasscock, VC)

In this memorandum opinion, the Court of Chancery dismissed a derivative complaint under Rule 23.1, finding that plaintiffs failed to show that the board of directors (the “Board”) of General Motors Company (“GM”) acted in...more

Focus on Private Equity - July 2015

What Private Equity Funds Should Know About ERISA: Basics of ERISA Coverage - The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA) imposes numerous duties on fiduciaries holding employee benefit...more

Declaration of Independence: Preserving the Role of the Independent Fiduciary Post-Dudenhoeffer

In the wake of Fifth Third v. Dudenhoeffer, a complaint that seeks to hold an ERISA fiduciary liable for failing to divest a plan of employer stock based solely upon publicly available information fails to state a plausible...more

Appellate Decision Teaches New Jersey Employees How To Remove Confidential Documents and Trade Secrets from Employers

Like the hit show "How to Get Away with Murder," the recent New Jersey ruling in Spencer Sav. Bank SLA v. McGrover (App. Div. March 5, 2015), instructs employees looking to remove their employers' confidential documents and...more

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