Fiduciary Duty

News & Analysis as of

Inside The Courts - September 2014 | Volume 6 | Issue 3

In This Issue: - CLASS CERTIFICATION: ..Goodman v. Genworth Fin. Wealth Mgmt. Inc., No. 09-CV-5603, 2014 WL 1452048 (JFB) (GRB) (E.D.N.Y. Apr. 15, 2014) - DEMAND FUTILITY: ..Rosenbloom v. Pyott,...more

The Delaware Court of Chancery Finds Two Transactions Were Not Entirely Fair, but Awards No Damages Where the Prices of the...

On September 4, 2014, the Delaware Court of Chancery issued two lengthy post-trial opinions, both authored by Vice Chancellor John W. Noble, finding that recapitalization or restructuring transactions did not satisfy the...more

The Ambushed Fiduciary: Does Authority over a Corporate Account Cross the Line?

Corporate officers can wear two hats under ERISA: the corporate officer hat or the ERISA fiduciary hat. Actions taken wearing the corporate officer hat are traditionally not fiduciary functions. The courts recognize...more

Forum Selection Bylaws–More Good News

Fending off merger-related shareholder lawsuits keeps getting easier. Just a week ago, the Delaware Chancery Court upheld the enforceability of the bylaw of a Delaware corporation headquartered in North Carolina that selected...more

Plan Prospecting Tools only show you part of a Plan’s problem

As a retirement plan provider, tools like Brightscope, fi360, Fiduciary Benchmarks, and FRA Plan Tools among others, are great resources to prospect prospective clients....more

A Good Plan Sponsor is the key to a Good Retirement Plan

I was a fit at my old law firm sort of like how my son’s toddler clothes fit him at age 7. I wasn’t a good fit because I didn’t take myself too seriously, I tried to push for flat fee billing, and I tried to break down...more

ERISA Fiduciary Obligations: More on Application to Life Insurance Coverage

This article examines the case of Biller v. Prudential Insurance, in which the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia denied a motion to dismiss a claim brought against an employer by the beneficiaries of a...more

The Delaware Court Of Chancery Can See Forever On A Clear Day (Even To North Carolina)

I don't usually write about decisions from the Delaware Court of Chancery because it's rare for that Court to even mention North Carolina. But a decision by that Court this week -- in City of Providence v. First Citizens...more

Breaking: Chancery Court Issues Decision on Claims Against Independent Directors in Controlling Stockholder Transactions

Delaware decisional law on entire fairness review of controlling shareholder transactions has been complicated in part by the subtle distinction between facially disinterested directors (who are liable only where a specific,...more

First Circuit Confirms No Fiduciary Breach in Use of a Retained Asset Account

For the second time this summer, the First Circuit Court of Appeals addressed whether an ERISA fiduciary’s use of a retained asset account (“RAA”) to pay death benefits is a breach of fiduciary duty. In Merrimon v. Unum Life...more

Courts Differ on Enforceability of Unilaterally Adopted Forum Selection Bylaws

While forum selection bylaws have become increasingly popular with US public companies, courts in Delaware and Oregon recently came to opposite conclusions on whether such bylaws, when unilaterally adopted by a board of...more

Delaware Supreme Court Rules That Privileged Documents Must Be Produced To Shareholders Investigating Corporate Misconduct

The Delaware Supreme Court recently held that, in certain circumstances, shareholders may be able to obtain access to privileged, internal documents in order to investigate potential breaches of fiduciary duty. In Wal-Mart...more

Buttonwood Tree Value Partners, L.P. v. R.L Polk & Co., Inc., C.A. No. 9250-VCG (Del. Ch. Aug. 7, 2014) (Glasscock, V.C.)

In this letter opinion, the Court of Chancery dismissed disclosure and aiding and abetting claims brought against a corporation in connection with a self-tender. In granting the defendant-corporation’s motion to dismiss, the...more

Delaware Court of Chancery Upholds North Carolina Forum Selection Bylaw for Delaware Corporation

Yesterday, in City of Providence v. First Citizens BancShares, Inc., Chancellor Andre Bouchard of the Delaware Court of Chancery held in a case of first impression that the board of a Delaware corporation may validly adopt a...more

The Woodward Case: Guidance to Trustees on Their Duties Under the Massachusetts Prudent Investor Act

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently ruled that, with few exceptions, trustees have a duty to invest with inflation in mind. While not required to follow an investment advisor’s guidance, they can’t ignore the...more

DOL Guidance Regarding Locating Missing Participants Requires Plan Fiduciaries To Make Reasonable Attempts To Locate The...

Locating and distributing the account balances of missing or unresponsive participants invokes ERISA’s fiduciary duty rules. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) had previously issued guidance outlining the expectations and...more

LLC Managers Beware: Get Involved With Member Distributions By an Insolvent LLC and You May Be Personally Liable

A chapter 7 trustee sued a manager of three limited liability company (LLC) debtors for breach of fiduciary duty and to hold the manager personally liable for distributions made to members, including himself....more

Fiduciary Duties in the Context of Dent v. Ramtron Int’l Corp.

The Delaware Court of Chancery recently addressed a number of claims commonly made in the “ubiquitous” stockholder litigation that follows announcement of a public merger or acquisition transaction. In Dent v. Ramtron Int’l...more

When Winding Up A Corporation Don't Do This

I don't know any lawyers who specialize in winding up corporations, but if any of you are out there, you should read this post. It is important to remember, when winding up a corporation, that "principals and directors...more

Corporations Don't Independently Owe Fiduciary Duties to Stockholders

On Aug. 7, Vice Chancellor Sam Glasscock III issued a letter opinion in the matter Buttonwood Tree Value Partners LP v. R.L. Polk & Co., C.A. No. 9250-VCL, that is not attention-grabbing because it wrestles with some nuanced...more

The fiduciary exception to the attorney-client privilege: A recent development

In a suit by the beneficiary against the trustee, is the trustee entitled to assert the attorney-client privilege against the beneficiary, or is there a fiduciary exception to the attorney-client privilege? As to...more

Proactive Steps Retirement Plan Sponsors Should Take

Retirement plan sponsors have a lot of headaches and liability because of their role as plan fiduciaries. They can sit back and do nothing, thereby increasing their potential liability. They can also be proactive and take...more

DOL Requests Information Regarding Use of Brokerage Windows and Similar Arrangements in Participant-Directed Defined Contribution...

The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) published a request for information (the “RFI”) regarding the use of brokerage windows, self-directed brokerage accounts, and similar arrangements (collectively referred to in this article...more

What Does a Fiduciary Do When Advised of an Offshore Account?

On June 18, 2014 the IRS announced changes to the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP). The changes include the following...more

Court Rules LLC Form Provided No Fiduciary Shield To Personal Jurisdiction

Last Friday’s post concerned whether a plaintiff could establish jurisdiction by tagging a corporate officer attending a conference in California. The question was whether a corporation is present wherever its officers are...more

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