Shareholder Litigation

News & Analysis as of

Merger Price and Process Win the Day Yet Again In Delaware Appraisal Action

On June 30, 2015, the Delaware Court of Chancery issued a post-trial opinion in which it yet again rejected a dissenting shareholder’s attempt to extract consideration for its shares above the merger price through appraisal...more

Delaware Supreme Court Holds Tooley Direct vs. Derivative Rule Is No Bar to Parent Corporation’s Contract Claim

As previously reported, in NAF Holdings, LLC v. Li & Fung (Trading) Limited, 772 F.3d 740 (2d Cir. 2014), the Second Circuit certified to the Delaware Supreme Court an unusual question regarding whether the direct vs....more

Delaware Governor Signs Bill Prohibiting Bylaws on Fee-Shifting

Last week, Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed Senate Bill 75, which amends the Delaware General Corporation Law to prohibit Delaware stock corporations from adopting bylaws that force shareholders to pay legal fees if they...more

Executive Compensation Paid to Controlling Shareholders Subject to Business Judgment Review When Approved by an Independent...

Members of the Dolan family hold 73% of the voting power of Cablevision Systems Corporation’s stock. A shareholder commenced a derivative action regarding the executive compensation paid to Dolan family members serving as...more

Eleventh Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment for Insurer Based on "Other Capacity" Exclusion

On June 22, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of National Union Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., in an action where the insured sought $10 million in coverage under a D&O policy. The...more

Delaware General Corporation Law Amended Regarding Fee-Shifting and Forum Selection Clauses

On June 24, 2015, the governor of Delaware signed into law legislation that amends the Delaware General Corporation Law (Title 8 of the Delaware Code) (“DGCL”) to effectively prohibit fee-shifting bylaw provisions in the...more

"The New Mutual Fund Exception: Ninth Circuit Allows Direct Claims to Redress Derivative Injury"

Courts have sought to simplify their approach to determining whether an action is derivative or direct — a determination that the Delaware Supreme Court has acknowledged “is sometimes difficult.” Tooley v. Donaldson, Lufkin &...more

Delaware Supreme Court Rejects Presumption of Disloyalty for Independent Directors

Public companies incorporated in Delaware frequently adopt a charter provision, pursuant to 8 Del. C. § 102(b)(7), that insulates their directors from monetary damages for breaches of the fiduciary duty of care. Those...more

Blog: Delaware Chancery Court Applies Entire Fairness Standard Of Review To Director Compensation

What is the judicial standard of review applicable to an award of compensation by directors to directors under an equity incentive compensation plan that has been approved by the shareholders? That was the question before...more

Shareholder Disputes: When is Just and Equitable Liquidation Appropriate?

Unfair prejudice claims are commonplace in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) following the introduction of bespoke provisions in the BVI Business Companies Act 2004 and have all but replaced old fashioned just and equitable...more

Closely-Held Shareholder Derivative Actions are Alive and Well in Texas

After 30 years of running his family-owned business, Hillbilly Oil Co., Jed Clampett decided to retire in 2013. The board of directors elects Jethro Bodine as Hillbilly’s President and Elly May as Vice President. Both Jethro...more

Meritas Capability Webinar - Controlling Where to Fight and Who Pays for it?

To address the continued problem of duplicitous stockholder strike suits, corporations have started to experiment with forum selection bylaws (which limit the jurisdictions in which stockholders may bring such suits) and fee...more

Meritas Capability Webinar - Controlling Where to Fight and Who Pays for it? [Video]

To address the continued problem of duplicitous stockholder strike suits, corporations have started to experiment with forum selection bylaws (which limit the jurisdictions in which stockholders may bring such suits) and fee...more

Locke Lord QuickStudy: Litigation Threat Means Public Companies Should Review Director Compensation Process

Corporate directors are permitted to, and regularly do, set their own compensation. This has not been controversial because boards have typically taken seriously their responsibility to set compensation that is reasonable and...more

Delaware House Passes Bill Prohibiting Bylaws on Fee-Shifting

On June 11th, the Delaware House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill prohibiting publicly traded corporations from adopting bylaws that force shareholders to pay legal fees if they do not prevail in lawsuits...more

'Cornerstone' Decision Reinforces Del. Corporate Law Bedrock Principles

Delaware law has long provided that the decisions of disinterested and independent directors who receive no special benefit from a transaction ought not be the basis of personal liability in monetary damages. To subject...more

“Dead Hand Proxy Puts” Garner Increased Stockholder Scrutiny In Delaware

A ruling last fall by the Delaware Chancery Court has prompted a wave of 8 Del. C. § 220 books and records inspection demands on (and threatened litigation against) Delaware corporations that have entered into credit...more

Court Of Chancery Explains Recent Fee Award Ranges

First, it explains the reasoning behind the percentages awarded in fees of the recovery won by a successful plaintiff firm. Second, it instructs counsel on how to present their fee request, particularly with respect to the...more

Ironworkers Dist. Council of Phila. & Vicinity Ret. & Pension Plan v. Andreotti, C.A. No. 9714-VCG (Del. Ch. May 8, 2015)...

In this memorandum opinion, the Court of Chancery granted a motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s derivative complaint under Court of Chancery Rule 23.1, and in doing so, confirmed that there is a heavy burden confronting derivative...more

Dead Hand Proxy Puts Face Continued Scrutiny

"Dead hand proxy puts’’ have emerged as the target du jour for entrepreneurial plaintiffs counsel litigating corporate governance claims. Since last fall, at least seven separate actions have been filed in the Delaware Court...more

Fannie and Freddie Shareholders Sue FHFA and Treasury Department Over Payment of Profits to U.S. Government

On May 28, 2015, three Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the “Companies”) shareholders filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa against the Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”), its...more

Delaware Supreme Court Holds That Plaintiffs Must Specifically Plead Non-Exculpated Claims Against Disinterested Directors in...

In In re Cornerstone Therapeutics Inc. Stockholder Litigation/Leal v. Meeks, the Delaware Supreme Court reversed decisions of the Delaware Chancery Court denying director-defendants’ motions to dismiss breach of fiduciary...more

No Pay Bylaws Fall Short Of Ending Forced Subsidization

In a post published yesterday on The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, Delaware lawyer A. Thompson Bayliss and Mark Mixon write that no pay provisions “could transform stockholder...more

Court of Chancery Upholds Right To Secondary Offering

When investors bargain for the right to have their stock sold in a secondary offering after the company goes public, fiduciary duties normally do not operate to restrict that right. Hence, it is not possible to object...more

How Collateral Estoppel Can Be Your Best Friend in Stockholder Litigation

Two recent decisions from the Delaware Court of Chancery have dusted off the venerable doctrine of collateral estoppel to dismiss stockholder claims. Of course, this issue is not new in Delaware. In 2013, the Delaware Supreme...more

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