Fiduciary Liability

News & Analysis as of

A Summary of Predicted Litigation Under the DOL’s Proposed Fiduciary Rule

The Department of Labor’s recent Proposed Rule, which defines the term "fiduciary" as it applies to persons who provide "investment advice" to ERISA plans and IRAs, will impact the likelihood and severity of fiduciary...more

North Dakota Supreme Court Addresses What Creates a Fiduciary Relationship with a Land Broker

On September 21, 2015, the North Dakota Supreme Court found that a fiduciary relationship between an oil company and its landman could exist depending upon the existence of a confidential relationship. Irish Oil...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

Court Of Chancery Explains Unfair Dealing Law In Cash-Out Case

Aside from the very large damage award, this decision should be noted for its thorough analysis of the duties of a controlling stockholder and his aides in the way they act to carry out a going private transaction....more

Court Of Chancery Outlines Discovery In Books and Records Case

First, the discovery cannot be of the very records the plaintiff seeks to obtain, for that will give him the relief he seeks before he proves his case. Second, it is often the case that the records are being sought for use in...more

Friedman v. Dolan, C.A. No. 9425-VCN (Del. Ch. June 30, 2015) (Noble, V.C.)

In this letter opinion, the Court of Chancery dismissed claims for breach of fiduciary duty and waste under Chancery Rule 12(b)(6), holding that the business judgment rule, rather than entire fairness review, applied to...more

SEC's Warning — Fund Trustees Are Fair Game

In a cease-and-desist order entered on June 17, 2015, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission found that a fund adviser, two independent trustees and an inside trustee willfully violated Section 15(c) of the Investment...more

Trustee Duties are Not for the Faint of Heart

One of the most important and farthest-reaching decisions involved in the creation of a trust is the naming of a trustee. It may seem simple enough at the outset to choose either oneself or a family member in place of a...more

Breach Of Fiduciary Duties Can Be Costly

The term fiduciary is an important one in the business world, and refers to relationships in which trust is place in one party to manage and protect the assets of another. The relationship entails what is commonly referred to...more

DOL Proposes Broader ERISA Fiduciary Definition

In April, the Department of Labor (the “DOL”) issued controversial proposed regulations that would broaden the category of service providers who become fiduciaries under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974...more

Advisors Advantage - July 2015

In This Issue: - How Retirement Plan Advisors Can Benefit From Any New DOL Fiduciary Rule - Avoid Other Providers Who Are The Sticks in the Wheels of Progress - Sometimes It's Just Words - Never...more

My Bias against self directed brokerage accounts in 401(k) plan

Just like the thought of traveling to Dubai with a passport that says “Ary Rosenbaum”, I have a general uneasy feeling about the use of self directed brokerage accounts within 401(k) plans. While it’s still allowed, I have...more

Fiduciary Risks Involved in Transferring Assets from a Seller’s 401(k) Plan to the Buyer’s Plan

In many transactions, particularly those where the buyer is a portfolio company of a private equity fund, the buyer agrees to cause its 401(k) plan to accept a transfer of assets from the seller’s 401(k) plan. The asset...more

Less Is More? Not when it comes to director compensation plans and effective shareholder ratification

Companies cannot merely rely upon shareholder approval to obtain protection under the business judgment rule. While the courts in Delaware do frequently apply the standard of waste to claims of breach of fiduciary duty and...more

Northstar v. Schwab: The Ninth Circuit’s End Run Around Derivative Lawsuits in the Mutual Fund Context

It is well recognized that only investors have standing to sue a mutual fund on behalf of a class of investors and that a fiduciary duty claim accusing fund trustees of mismanagement is the property of the fund, and not of...more

General partner to pay $171 million for special committee’s failure to act in good faith: 2 key takeaways

In In re El Paso Pipeline Partners, L.P. Derivative Litigation, 2015 WL 1815846 (Del. Ch. Apr. 20, 2015), the Delaware Court of Chancery (Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster) issued a post-trial opinion finding that the general...more

DOL Files Complaint Against Plan Fiduciaries for Using 401(k) Contributions and Loan Repayments to Fund Plan Sponsor’s General...

On April 10, 2015, the DOL filed a complaint against Enterworks, Inc., the Enterworks, Incorporated Shared Savings Plan, and two individual fiduciaries of the Savings Plan (the Defendants). In the complaint, the DOL alleges...more

U.S. Department of Labor Re-Proposes Rules Governing the Definition of “Fiduciary”—Part 2: The “Best Interest Contract” Exemption

In Part 1 of this series, we reported on recently proposed regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Labor amending the definition of the term “fiduciary” under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) and the...more

Court Of Chancery Explains Creditor’s Right To File Fiduciary Duty Claims

While it is generally known that creditors may only file derivative suits when the company is insolvent, there have been many open issues about what exactly that means. This decision answers many of those questions by...more

DOL: Proposed Expanded Definition of “Fiduciary”

Background - Section 3(21) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA’) includes in the definition of a fiduciary someone who provides investment advice for a fee or other compensation, direct or indirect. ...more

DOL Releases Controversial Proposal, Signifying Regulatory Intent to Expand Fiduciary Standard

On April 14, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") released a controversial proposal that would require financial advisors to put their clients' interests ahead of their own when recommending retirement investments....more

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Proposed Fiduciary Rules

Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Labor issued its highly anticipated re-proposed regulation addressing when a person providing investment advice with respect to an employee benefit plan is considered a fiduciary under ERISA....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

Court Rejects Fiduciary Duty Breach by Claims Administrator Acting on Behalf of Plan Sponsor

In the recently decided matter of Van Loo, et al. v. Cajun Operating Company, et al., No. 2:2014cv10604 (E.D. Mich. 2014), the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan rejected allegations of a fiduciary duty...more

District Courts Continue to Reject the Ninth Circuit’s Limitation on Surcharge

We previously reported that the Ninth Circuit stands alone in expressly limiting the availability of surcharge to cases involving loss to, or unjust enrichment at the expense of, the plan (as opposed to being available to a...more

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