Fiduciary Duty

News & Analysis as of

DOL 2014 Fall Regulatory Agenda

Introduction - The Department of Labor has released the 2014 Fall Regulatory Agenda. The updated agenda provides the anticipated publication dates for the next steps in the regulatory process for nearly a dozen ERISA...more

No Auction Required – Delaware Supreme Court Affirms Board Flexibility under Revlon

Ruling that an active solicitation process is not necessarily required for a target board of directors to satisfy its fiduciary duties in a change of control transaction, the Delaware Supreme Court overturned a preliminary...more

ERISA Fiduciaries Have a Duty to Inform

SUMMARY: In this case, the court found that the employer, serving as plan administrator of a group life insurance plan providing basic and supplemental coverage, may be liable for monetary damages for breach of its fiduciary...more

How to Settle an ERISA Breach of Fiduciary Duty Case and Sleep at Night: A Checklist for Plan Trustees to Consider

Plan trustees often look to settle ERISA fiduciary breach claims brought against them as a way to put the past behind them. Assuming there is enough fiduciary liability insurance coverage available to pay the proposed...more

Insurer Agrees to $140 Million Settlement in ERISA Case Challenging Revenue Sharing Practices

Nationwide Life Insurance Co. has agreed to settle ERISA fiduciary breach claims brought on behalf of a class of retirement plan trustees that purchased annuity contracts and/or services from Nationwide for their plans....more

Ninth Circuit Breathes Life Into Participant’s Claim for Surcharge

A panel of the Ninth Circuit withdrew its earlier opinion and has now joined other circuits in finding that the equitable remedy of surcharge is available for participants seeking recovery of personal losses as opposed to...more

In re Novell, Inc. S’holder Litig., C.A. No. 6032 (Del. Ch. Nov. 25, 2014) (Noble, V.C.)

In this memorandum opinion, the Court of Chancery granted summary judgment in favor of defendants on claims alleging that directors acted in bad faith by favoring a bidder in a sale process for reasons other than the pursuit...more

Developing Issues in Utah Construction Defect Litigation

Following the Utah Supreme Court’s decision in Davencourt at Pilgrim’s Landing Homeowners’ Association v. Davencourt at Pilgrim’s Landing, which clarified the law regarding the claims for which homeowner’s associations (HOAs)...more

Second Circuit Clarifies Elements of Tippee Liability for Insider Trading

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently clarified the elements required to hold a tippee liable for insider trading: a tippee cannot be held liable unless the Government proves that the tippee knew both (i)...more

Lee v. Pincus et al., C.A. No. 8458-CB (Del. Ch. Nov. 14, 2014) (Bouchard, C.)

In this memorandum opinion, the Court of Chancery partially granted defendants’ motion to dismiss, holding that (i) plaintiff had stated a claim for breach of fiduciary duty against the Director Defendants because it was...more

Delaware Court Provides Guidance on Acceptable Deal Protection Mechanisms and Scope of Third Party Aiding and Abetting Liability...

On November 25, 2014, the Delaware Court of Chancery issued a decision in In Re Comverge, Inc. Shareholders Litigation, which: (1) dismissed claims that the Comverge board of directors conducted a flawed sales process and...more

In re Sanchez Energy Deriv. Litig., C.A. No. 9132-VCG (Del. Ch. Nov. 25, 2014) (Glasscock, V.C.)

In this memorandum opinion, the Court of Chancery held that plaintiff stockholders failed to plead particularized facts sufficient to demonstrate demand futility and dismissed the plaintiffs’ fiduciary duty, aiding and...more

Tenth Circuit Finds Plan Administrator Has No Duty to Inquire into Authenticity of Participant’s Beneficiary Designation

Plaintiff Kristopher Towles, the son of a deceased participant of a life insurance plan, challenged the plan’s decision to pay the life insurance proceeds to the deceased’s husband, contending that the beneficiary form...more

Professional Liability and Attorney-Client Privilege Bulletin: Intra-Law Firm Communications

In a case of first impression in California, Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP v. Superior Court (No. B255182 - filed November 25, 2014), Division Three of the Second District Court of Appeal addressed the question of whether the...more

Waivers of IPO Lock-up

We have previously commented on the lock-up requirement in connection with IPOs and noted that it has become somewhat more frequent for underwriters to release issuers and/or their shareholders (including directors and...more

Considerations for Employee Benefit Programs That Benefit Employers and Employees

Employers must compete in the marketplace for talented employees at every level—both in recruitment and retention. It is thus in employers’ best interests to provide employee benefit plans that are attractive to employees and...more

NCUA Sues National Bank

On November 10, the NCUA announced the filing of a complaint against a large national bank for its alleged failure to fulfill its duties as a trustee for 121 residential mortgage-backed securities trusts. The NCUA claimed...more

CFO’s Thirst for Wine Club Invitation Costs Hospital Millions

You can’t make this stuff up. Last Monday a federal court in Rhode Island ordered two insurance companies to pay a $30 million claim by hospital management company Lifespan Corp. Lifespan filed the claim after being ordered...more

Inside The Courts - November 2014 | Volume 6 | Issue 4

In This Issue: CLASS CERTIFICATION: Fort Worth Emps. Ret. Fund v. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., No. 09-cv-3701 (JPO) (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 30, 2014) Discovery: ..Freedman v. Weatherford Int’l Ltd., No. 12...more

Accountant’s Fiduciary Duty as Independent Auditor

In North Carolina, an accounting firm now owes a fiduciary duty to its audit client, both as a matter of law and as a matter of fact. On November 4, 2014, a North Carolina appellate court held — for the first time —...more

Watch For A New Wave Of ERISA Stock Drop Cases

Plan fiduciaries may create a fiduciary duty in stock drop cases by incorporating filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission into the Summary Plan Description. We have been waiting for the Ninth Circuit to...more

Delaware Court of Chancery Rejects Entire Fairness Review in Absence of Conflicted Transaction

On October 24, the Delaware Court of Chancery dismissed a lawsuit filed by certain minority stockholders of Crimson Exploration, Inc. in In re: Crimson Exploration Inc. Stockholder Litigation, C.A. No. 8541-VCP (Del. Ch. Oct...more

Delaware Court Establishes "Taxonomy" For Controlling Stockholder Claims

In a recent decision, the Delaware Court of Chancery (Parsons, V.C.) dismissed a shareholder class action complaint alleging that a target company’s board of directors and private equity firm controlling stockholder breached...more

DOL Issues Guidance on Missing Participants in Terminated Plans - The Guidance Focuses on How to Search for Missing Participants...

The Department of Labor (DOL) Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) 2014-01 provides guidance on (1) how fiduciaries should go about searching for missing participants or beneficiaries in terminated defined contribution plans; and...more

2014 Autumn Review – M&A Legal Developments

We set out below a number of interesting English and European court decisions which have taken place and their impact on M&A transactions. This Insight looks at these developments and gives practical guidance on their...more

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