Fiduciary Duty Conflicts of Interest

News & Analysis as of

M&A Team News - January 2016

Here is a look back at the top M&A developments that affected deal-making last year and a look forward to our expectations for 2016....more

DOL Sends Fiduciary Rule to OMB for Review

DOL has indicated that the final rule will be released in the first half of the year. The US Department of Labor (DOL) sent its final Conflict of Interest Rule—Investment Advice (with related exemptions and amendments to...more

Client Agreement and Failure to Terminate Representation Under the Terms of Client Agreement Results in Firm's Disqualification...

Brief Summary - In 2013, three shareholders sued: (1) each other for breach of fiduciary duties; and (2) their company for involuntary dissolution. The law firm that represented one of the shareholders had been retained...more

Avoiding the Upsurge in Trust, Probate and Estate Planning Malpractice

The number of lawsuits against trust, probate and estate planning attorneys has significantly increased over the last several years. Today, trust, probate and estate planing attorneys are charged with legal malpractice and...more

Court Affirmed Summary Judgment For Defendant/Attorney Regarding A Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Claim Arising From A Conflict of...

In Macias v. Gomez, a client sued his attorney for breach of fiduciary duty arising from the attorney’s trust later suing the client. No. 13-14-00017-CV, 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 12967 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi December 29, 2015,...more

Court Disqualified Attorney Where Attorney Would Testify As Witness

In Matthews v. Stolier, litigation arose regarding several transactions, including a power of attorney document. No. 13-6638, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171752 (D.C. La. December 23, 2015). Some of the parties retained an attorney...more

Delaware Supreme Court Upholds Rural/Metro Decision

The Delaware Supreme Court recently affirmed the 2014 decisions of the Delaware Court of Chancery finding the lead financial advisor for Rural/Metro Corporation (“Rural”) liable to a class of Rural stockholders for aiding...more

The Importance of Oversight: Recent Trends in Delaware Financial Advisor Liability

The Delaware Court of Chancery recently made a series of rulings that underscore the importance of oversight by directors in performing their fiduciary duty of care, particularly as it pertains to financial advisors and their...more

A Compilation of Enforcement and Non-Enforcement Actions

Non-Enforcement - SEC Decides Against Mounting an Appeal in Koch Ruling - The July 2015 ruling by the D.C. Circuit Court in Koch v. SEC will apparently not be challenged by the SEC. The Court ruled in that...more

Inside M&A - October 2015

Overview of SPACs and Latest Trends - A number of recent successful business combination transactions involving special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) led by prominent sponsors have driven a resurgence in the SPAC...more

Delaware Court of Chancery Cautions Directors: Be Vigilant in Recognizing Advisor’s Conflict of Interests

Shareholders challenged the merger of Zale Corporation with Signet Jewelers Ltd. In a decision dated October 1, 2015, the Delaware Court of Chancery credited allegations that the board of directors of Zale breached its...more

Chancery Court Provides Lessons on Conflicts of Interest in a Sales Process – Holds Only Financial Advisor Open to Liability

In an October 1st decision (In re Zale Corporation), the Delaware Chancery Court dismissed claims that Zale Corporation’s directors breached their fiduciary duties in connection with Zale’s agreement to merge with Signet. ...more

Portfolio Monitoring and Legal Fees Subject to SEC Enforcement Action Against Private Equity Group

The SEC announced that three private equity fund advisers within The Blackstone Group have agreed to pay nearly $39 million to settle charges that they failed to fully inform investors about benefits that the advisers...more

Chancery Dismisses Complaint for Failure to Allege Noncompliance

A principal difference between alternative entities and corporations under Delaware law is the ability in the former to modify or eliminate fiduciary duties. A Delaware court is required by statute to give effect to the...more

Delaware Court Holds Interested Directors Liable for "Fairer Price" In Going Private Transaction

In one of the largest ever M&A-related recoveries for shareholders, Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster ordered Dole Food Company, Inc.’s Chairman and CEO, David Murdock, and Dole’s former President, COO and General Counsel, C....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

Show Us the Money: FINRA Initiates Sweep Relating to Compensation Practices

FINRA has made no secret of its interest in broker compensation, and the potential conflicts of interest that can be generated by some types of compensation practices. FINRA discussed these issues in its 2015 annual...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

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

SEC Fines Adviser $20 Million Based on Conflicts

Failure to disclose conflicts of interest and/or to comply with firm procedures are the predicates for a series of SEC enforcement actions involving regulated entities. The most recent example of these trends is an action...more

Recent Cases of Interest to Fiduciaries

In re Estate of House, 2014 Wash. App. LEXIS 3006 (Wash. Ct. App. 2014) - A release waiving any and all claims that the parties may have or may acquire, bars recovery for unknown claims existing at the time the release...more

Dead Hand Proxy Puts Create Litigation Risk for Lenders

Why it matters - In a noteworthy decision, the Delaware Court of Chancery ruled that a lender could be held liable for aiding and abetting a breach of fiduciary duty by directors of a public company borrower by including...more

SEC Regulation of Private Equity Funds

What you need to know: The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations recently issued its examination priorities for 2015, many of which impact the private equity...more

Analysis: The Impact of the DOL’s Fiduciary Proposal on Sales of Insurance Products

This paper explains the basis for our conclusions about the impact of the Department of Labor (DOL) proposal to amend the fiduciary investment advice regulation and the prohibited transaction (PT) exemptions for sales of...more

Corporate Investigations & White Collar Defense - May 2015

It’s an Absolute Privilege to Meet You! Texas Supreme Court Rules That Internal Investigation Report Provided by Shell Oil to DOJ Enjoys “Absolute Privilege” - Why it matters: On May 15, 2015, the Texas Supreme Court...more

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