Fiduciary Duty

News & Analysis as of

UPDATE: The U.S. Supreme Court Decides ERISA Statute of Limitations Case – Implications for Plan Fiduciaries

Last November, we reported that the Supreme Court had granted certiorari in Tibble v. Edison International, a Ninth Circuit decision holding that a claim that a plan fiduciary breached its duty of prudence in selecting plan...more

Delaware Chancery’s In re Dole Food Co., Inc. Decision Provides Lessons For Corporations Considering Going Private Transactions

On Thursday, August 27, 2015, Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster found Dole Food Co., Inc. (“Dole”) Chief Executive Officer, David Murdock, and General Counsel, C. Michael Carter, liable to investors for $148 million in fraud...more

DOL Clarifies Fiduciary Duties for Defined Contribution Plan Sponsors Offering Annuity Contracts

The availability of annuity options under defined contribution plans has increased in recent years due to the shift from defined benefit to defined contribution plans. Fiduciaries, however, are often concerned with potential...more

Bernstein Shur Business and Commercial Litigation Newsletter #54

We are pleased to present the 54th edition of the Bernstein Shur Business and Commercial Litigation Newsletter. This month, we highlight recent cases that address management-led buyouts, copyright protections, and other news...more

Employee Benefits Developments August 2015

Certain Closely Held For-Profit Employers Need Not Provide Women’s Contraceptive Services. Under the ACA, non-grandfathered group health plans must cover specified preventive services, including certain women’s preventive...more

A Compilation of Enforcement and Non-Enforcement Actions

Non-Enforcement - Form PF — What Purpose? SEC registered investment advisers with at least $150 million of assets under management in private funds are required to periodically file Form PF with the SEC. The...more

Texas Hospital Strikes Back at Aetna

On February 23, 2015, Aetna filed suit in Texas federal court against Robert A. Behar, M.D. and North Cypress Medical Center (North Cypress), alleging that Dr. Behar, the CEO of North Cypress, offered impermissible ownership...more

M&A Update: Delaware Court Finds Dole Executives Personally Liable for Millions in Damages for Defrauding Stockholders in Buy-Out...

In its August 27th post-trial opinion, In re Dole Food Co., Inc. Stockholder Litigation, the Delaware Chancery Court held Dole executives David Murdock and Michael Carter personally liable for $148 million in damages for...more

Court of Chancery Affirms Director Primacy in Delaware Corporate Law

The Court of Chancery recently affirmed the primacy of the board of directors in Delaware corporate law in a case that involved an attempt by the majority stockholder of a Delaware corporation to amend the corporation’s...more

Texas Anti-SLAPP Law: The Expanding Scope of the Texas Citizen’s Participation Act – Part 4 – A decision in Schlumberger, sort of

Since we published Part 3 that discussed the details of an interesting case here in Houston, Schlumberger v. Rutherford, the First Court of Appeals issued its opinion on Tuesday. The best description of the decision is a...more

Legal Insights on the Ashley Madison Hack: Part I

Internet commenters and legal analysts alike are buzzing about the Ashley Madison hack. The website -- which billed itself as a networking site for anyone who wanted to discretely arrange an extramarital affair -- has already...more

Eleventh Circuit Addresses Statutory Penalty Claims under ERISA

The ERISA statute authorizes a court to award a penalty of up to $110 per day based on the failure of an Administrator to respond to a participant’s or a beneficiary’s request for plan documents. The term “Administrator” is...more

Courts Impose Breach of Fiduciary Duty Penalties on Officers, Directors

Officers and directors of companies can face substantial financial liability for breaching their fiduciary duties to the companies they manage, regardless of their ability to pay such damages, and sometimes regardless of the...more

Seventh Circuit Affirms District Court on Remand in Jones v. Harris Associates

In Jones v. Harris Associates L.P., the Supreme Court adopted the Gartenberg standard for cases brought under Section 36(b) of the Investment Company Act of 1940: “[T]o face liability... an investment adviser must charge a...more

Court Of Chancery Explains Scope Of Fiduciary Duty Waiver

In Re Kinder Morgan Inc. Corporate Reorganization Litigation, C.A. 10093-VCL (August 20, 2015) - This is a great explanation of the scope of the waiver of a general partner or other fiduciary’s duties under the terms...more

Court Poised To Decide Whether Directors Are Agents

Not quite four years ago, I wrote about whether directors are agents. The post was prompted by then Chancellor William B. Chandler III’s assertion...more

New Delaware Decision Strikes Bylaw Empowering Stockholders to Remove Officers

In a case of first impression, the Delaware Court of Chancery recently struck down a provision contained in the bylaws of a Delaware corporation authorizing the corporation’s stockholders to remove a corporate officer (in the...more

Business Court Awards Rule 11 Sanctions For Baseless Fiduciary Duty Claim

It is probably a good idea for a corporation to avoid making fiduciary duty claims against its employees (unless they are also officers and directors). Clients (or their lawyers) who insist on making such claims are liable...more

Court Of Chancery Upholds Stockholder Consents

Given the sanctity of the stockholder vote in Delaware law, it would be surprising if the Court of Chancery would ever reverse such a vote or the use of stockholder consents to take corporate action....more

Mergers & Acquisitions Glossary

This Glossary contains many of the important terms and definitions used in the M&A world. The Glossary is not exhaustive, however. Like most areas of the law, M&A is a highly complex subject that involves several legal and...more

Minority Shareholder Owed No Fiduciary Duty To Other Shareholders In Merger Transaction

Judge Gale's decision earlier this month in Corwin v. British American Tobacco PLC, 2015 NCBC 74 dismissed all of the claims of the Plaintiff class. If the name Corwin is ringing a bell with you, his case is the shareholder...more

RMBS Investors Sue U.S. Bank for Trust Losses

On August 5, 2015, RMBS investors filed a putative class action against U.S. Bank, N.A. in the Supreme Court for the State of New York. The investors assert that U.S. Bank, as trustee for the MASTR Adjustable Rate Mortgage...more

Commenters React to DOL’s Proposed Expansion of Fiduciary-Duty Rules

Four months after proposing a significantly expanded definition specifying when “investment advice” to employee plans and IRAs would give rise to fiduciary status under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, the...more

Why Argentina's Petition to Vacate an Award in AWG Group Ltd v. Republic of Argentina Matters for Future Arbitrations

On 6 July 2015, Argentina filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia a petition to vacate an UNCITRAL arbitration award of approximately $20 million rendered in favour of AWG Group Ltd (No. 15-cv-01057, 6...more

A Firewall for the Boardroom: Best Practices to Insulate Directors and Officers From Derivative Lawsuits and Related Regulatory...

Shortly after the massive 2013 Target data breach, shareholders filed four derivative lawsuits against the company’s directors and some of its officers (13 CARE 624, 3/20/15). The shareholders alleged that the defendants had...more

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