Fiduciary Duty

News & Analysis as of

Investment Management Update - October 2016

Investment Adviser AXA Wins Excessive Fee Trial - A federal judge in New Jersey has ruled in favor of AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company (AXA Equitable) and its wholly owned subsidiary, AXA Equitable Funds Management...more

The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - October 2016

Editor's Overview - This month, we look at the implications of the two federal district court cases from California that applied the ban on discretionary clauses typically found in ERISA plans to self-insured plans. The...more

SEC and DOJ Charge Board Member with Trading on Inside Information . . . During a Board Meeting

On Friday, the SEC filed a complaint against James C. Cope, a former member of the Executive Committee of Pinnacle Financial Partners’ (“PFP”) board of directors, alleging that he engaged in insider trading. The same day,...more

Financial Services Quarterly Report - Third Quarter 2016: The Evolving DOL Fiduciary Rule: Impact on Mutual Fund Distribution and...

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued the final version of its “fiduciary investment advice” regulation (Final Rule) on April 6, 2016, following a lengthy proposal and re-proposal process. Although the Final Rule reflects...more

Owner/Trustee of 401(k) Plan Accused of Having Eyes Wide Shut on Fiduciary Duties

Last June I blogged about the trend of participant fee class actions moving down to smaller 401(k) Plans. Occasionally, class actions are brought based on other breaches of fiduciary duties, particularly those involving...more

AXA Prevails at First Post-Jones v. Harris Excessive Fee Trial

In its 2010 opinion in Jones v. Harris, L.P., the United States Supreme Court embraced the so-called Gartenberg standard for assessing an investment adviser’s fiduciary liability for excessive mutual fund fees under Section...more

Avoiding Lender Liability for Credit-Related Actions in California

Aside from general statutory prohibitions on lender discrimination, there are certain circumstances under California law in which lenders may be held liable for credit-related actions, such as negotiating or denying credit....more

A Trustee's Duty To Disclose In Texas

David F. Johnson, lead writer for the Texas Fiduciary Litigator blog, presented his speech on a “Trustees’ Duty To Disclose In Texas” to the Tarrant County Bar Association’s Business and Estate Section’s membership lunch in...more

Fund Restructurings: How to Navigate a Conflict-Rich Environment

The number of private equity fund restructurings is likely to rise in the coming years. The current economic expansion will inevitably come to an end (at 87 months and counting, this expansion is already the third longest...more

When The Power To Amend Doesn’t Actually Mean You Can Amend

Circumstances, laws, and taxes all change. And, when they do, many settlors don’t want their beneficiaries to have to go into court to get permission to roll with the changes. That’s why you often find a trust provision...more

Some Brokers Will Leave, But Not Like What They’re Saying

Experts saying how many brokers are going to leave the retirement plan business reminds me of the radio report that Henry Hill heard in the shower about the Lufthansa heist, in Goodfellas. Like the loot stolen in the heist,...more

Stinson Leonard Street's Emerging Trends Newsletter - Q3

We are thrilled to bring you the third installment of Stinson Leonard Street's Emerging Trends newsletter. We are proud of the depth and breadth of experience and knowledge across our firm's 13 offices nationwide and are...more

Commercial Restructuring & Bankruptcy Alert - October 2016

Welcome to the October 2016 issue of the CR&B Alert, the newsletter produced by Reed Smith's Commercial Restructuring & Bankruptcy Group. Excerpt from newsletter: DELAWARE AND NEW YORK AT ODDS OVER RECLAMATION...more

$300,000 401(k) Plan Sued* (Note Asterisk)

A Florida optometry practice with a 401(k) plan with only $300,000 in assets is the latest plan to be sued for 401(k) mismanagement, with a newly filed lawsuit accusing the practice of over-investing in alleged “patent troll”...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

Court Applies 'Corwin' and Upholds Board's Adoption of Dissolution Plan

Contract and fiduciary duty law intersect when how a board acts, including the vote required, is affected by a shareholder agreement. Such agreements are common to enable investors to protect their investment, either through...more

Seventh Circuit Eases ERISA Plaintiffs’ Pleading Burden Against Private Company Plan Fiduciaries

On August 25, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in Allen v. GreatBanc Trust Co., No. 15-3569, 2016 WL 4474730 (7th Cir. 2016), held that (1) the defendant in an ERISA case, rather than the plaintiff,...more

Court Of Chancery Details Application of M&F Worldwide Criteria

A merger approved in accordance with the criteria set out in the M&F Worldwide decision is subject to the business judgment standard of review, and vulnerable to attack only if its terms are so extreme as to constitute waste....more

Texas Fiduciary Litigation Update 2015-2016

David F. Johnson, lead writer for the Texas Fiduciary Litigator blog, spoke at the Tarrant County Probate Bar’s Litigation Seminar and presented “Fiduciary Litigation Update 2015-2016.” David discussed recent Texas precedent...more

Court Of Chancery Awards Fee In Mootness Case

Now that disclosure-only settlements seem almost a thing of the past, so-called “mootness” fee awards or settlements may become more common. These occur when the corporation moots the claim by doing what the plaintiff says...more

Dealing with Long-Winded Out-of-Network Provider Nuisance Letters

Over the past couple years, more and more of my clients with self-funded plans have received letters from out-of-network providers appealing denied claims. The letters are usually 20 to 30 pages long, not very specific, and...more

Washington’s New Trustee Delegation Law: Allowing Fiduciaries to More Easily Keep Businesses in the Family

If you are a family business owner in Washington who wants to place control of your business in the hands of a trustee until your beneficiaries are ready to assume control, or for other reasons, a recent change in Washington...more

Court Of Chancery Holds Revlon Does Not Apply In Dissolution

This decision holds that Revlon duties are not implicated by a decision to liquidate a company. Hence, the Court will not scrutinize whether the board sought to get the best possible deal for company assets....more

In Data Breach Suit, Federal Court Holds Banks To Higher Standard Than Customers

On Wednesday, September 28, 2016, an Illinois federal district judge dismissed data breach-related claims brought by numerous banks against a grocer citing the sophistication of the business relationship between the banks and...more

Vague Pleading Causes Data Privacy Class Action Against Grocer to Fail at the Check-out

Particularity and plausibility are recurring themes from Judge Reagan’s order last week in the most recent round of litigation stemming from a 2012-2013 data breach at Schnucks grocery. See Community Bank, et al. v. Schnuck...more

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