Duty of Loyalty

News & Analysis as of

“Directors’ Decisions Must Be Reasonable, not Perfect” Home Depot’s Shareholder Derivative Litigation Arising from Data Breach...

On November 30, 2016, a federal district court dismissed a shareholder derivative complaint against various current and former directors of Home Depot arising from the well-publicized data breach the company suffered between...more

Court Of Chancery Examines Whether Derivative Demand Was Wrongfully Refused

Even after a board rejects a plaintiff-stockholder’s demand to bring a derivative litigation, the plaintiff may proceed to bring that derivative action if the plaintiff can show the demand was “wrongful.” Having conceded...more

Court Dismisses Derivative Claim for Alleged Breach of Oversight Duty

The Delaware courts encourage plaintiffs who bring derivative claims in Delaware without making demand on the board of directors to seek books and records under Section 220 of the Delaware General Corporation Law so as to be...more

"Two Court of Chancery Deal Litigation Decisions Provide Helpful Guidance"

Chelsea Therapeutics: Post-Closing Bad Faith Claim a ‘Rare Bird’ in Delaware Absent Allegations of Self-Interestedness or Lack of Independence - In In re Chelsea Therapeutics International LTD Stockholders Litigation,...more

Change in How SC Supreme Court Views Conspiracy Claims May be Coming

As our various courts decide cases, we watch to see if there are any trends that seem to be developing or whether a case signals that the courts are beginning to change how they view a particular issue or type of case. We've...more

Challenge to a Squeeze-Out Merger Dismissed Under MFW Framework

In a stockholder challenge to a going-private merger by a controlling stockholder to buy out minority stockholders, the operative standard of review is ordinarily the most rigorous judicial review, entire fairness. To obtain...more

Court Of Chancery Dismisses Post-Closing Claims Under Corwin

Under the recent Corwin decision, a fully-informed vote by uncoerced and disinterested stockholders to approve a merger invokes the business judgment rule and effectively precludes almost any claim the merger was improper. ...more

Delaware District Court Examines An Officer’s Fiduciary Duties When Projecting Revenues

Revenue projections are an inexact science, but they should have some basis in fact. Where they are alleged to be without a basis in reality, and indeed contrary to reality, a court may, as here, find that an officer’s...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

Court Of Chancery Explains When Caremark Claim Exists Based On Illegal Conduct

This decision explains when a Caremark claim exists based on illegal corporate conduct. The “substantial likelihood” of liability that justifies excusing a pre-suit demand on the board must involve a knowing violation of the...more

Fidelity Prevails In ERISA Float Litigation

The First Circuit joined the Eighth Circuit in finding that Fidelity’s practice of earning overnight “float” interest on the cash paid out to 401(k) participants redeeming shares in mutual funds did not violate ERISA’s duty...more

Proposed Rule Relates to Investment Advisers' Business Continuity and Transition Plans

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) recently proposed Rule 206(4)-41 under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (“Advisers Act”), which would require registered investment advisers (“firms” or “Advisors”) to adopt...more

SEC Proposes Rule Requiring Investment Advisers to Adopt Business Continuity and Transition Plans; Division of Investment...

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on June 28, 2016, proposed new Rule 206(4)-4 (Proposed Rule) under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (Advisers Act). The Proposed Rule would require every SEC-registered...more

Delaware Law Updates – The Duty of Loyalty: Anything But ‘Hazy Jurisprudence’ on an Exacting, But Narrow, Standard

In a recent decision out of the Delaware Court of Chancery—In re Chelsea Therapeutics International Ltd. Stockholders Litigation., Consol. C.A. No. 9640-VCG—Vice Chancellor Glasscock was faced with a claim that the board of...more

Employment Law’s “Hulk”-Like Superhero — The Faithless Servant Doctrine — Just Got Stronger

One of the many joys of parenthood is the opportunity to relive one’s childhood. To a parent who grew up on the old-school comic books, the steady roll-out by Marvel Studios of big budget super-hero movies offers a unique...more

Disregard of Speculative Financial Projections Was Not Bad Faith

In a stockholder challenge to a sale of the company, a plaintiff may rebut the business judgment rule by pleading facts that support a reasonable inference that at least half of the directors, who approved the sale, were not...more

401(k) Plan Sponsors and Fiduciaries Face an Alarming Number of Stable Value Fund and Other Class Action Lawsuits

In the last several months, plaintiffs have filed multiple class action lawsuits against plan sponsors, plan fiduciaries and stable value fund providers. These lawsuits, which have involved 401(k) plans sponsored by large...more

Court Upholds Allegedly Unfair Master Limited Partnership Transaction

When alternative entities first came into prominence, questions arose concerning the applicability to them and their stakeholders of corporate law fiduciary duty jurisprudence. Eventually the Delaware General Assembly amended...more

Fifth Circuit Decision Includes Important Holdings for ESOP Fiduciaries

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed on May 3, 2016, the holdings of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi on numerous issues involving the sale of closely held stock from a...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

Question #272: Competing in California

Question: One of our company’s employees recently left to start a competing business. We think he started this process while he was still employed by us, and that he is probably using information he learned from us. ...more

Directors And Officers’ Ultimate Escape From Personal Liability

In the Ultimate Escapes bankruptcy case, the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware recently held that the “business judgment rule” may protect fiduciaries who negotiate and enter into unconventional financing...more

Court Of Chancery Explains When A Minority Stockholder May Have Actual Control Over A Deal

This is another in a series of decisions dealing with the allegation that a minority stockholder controlled a deal through its control of a majority of the board of directors....more

Court Of Chancery Applies Demand Analysis To Changed Board

This is an interesting decision because it applies the demand rules in a derivative case to an odd situation — when some but not all of the board members have changed between when the challenged conduct occurred and when the...more

Affirmed: New York’s Application of the In Pari Delicto Doctrine Bars Faithless Servant Claim and Bankruptcy Insider Exception

A recent decision of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (the “District Court”), affirming a decision of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York (the...more

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