Shareholder Litigation

News & Analysis as of

Maryland Appellate Court Clarifies Applicability of Business Judgment Rule for Board Responding to Shareholder Demand

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals recently ruled in Oliveira v. Sugarman, -- A.3d --, 2016 WL 361055 (2016), that a Maryland board's rejection of a shareholder demand is subject to the presumption of the business judgment...more

Chancery Court Continues to Close the Door on Disclosure-Only Settlements and Fees (But Opens a Window for “Mootness Dismissals”)

As previously discussed here, in 2015, the Delaware Court of Chancery issued a number of decisions calling for enhanced scrutiny of “disclosure-only” M&A settlements that involve no monetary benefits to a shareholder class. ...more

How to Answer When an Activist Calls

The increasing activist stockholder demands upon boards of directors call for careful responses. The recent Delaware Court of Chancery decision In re Ebix Stockholder Litigation, C.A. No. 8526-VCN (Del. Ch. Jan. 15, 2016),...more

The Demise of Disclosure-Only Settlements?

On January 22, 2016, the Delaware Court of Chancery, in an opinion of Chancellor Bouchard, rejected a proposed disclosure-only settlement in the context of M&A litigation that offered no new helpful information to the...more

Minnesota Court of Appeals Articulates Test for Direct Shareholder Claims in In re Medtronic, Inc. Shareholder Litigation

On January 25, 2016, the Minnesota Court of Appeals decided In re Medtronic, Inc. Shareholder Litigation, holding that a shareholder’s claim is properly characterized as a direct claim, not a derivative claim, even where all...more

Delaware Chancery Court Rejects Disclosure-Only Settlement in Trulia/Zillow Merger Litigation, Making Clear Such Settlements Will...

On January 22, 2016, Delaware Chancellor Andre C. Bouchard rejected a proposed “disclosure-only” settlement in In re Trulia Stockholder Litigation. The decision confirms the Chancery Court’s growing skepticism for...more

In re Trulia, Inc. Stockholder Litigation, C.A. No. 10020-CB (Del. Ch. Jan. 22, 2016) (Bouchard, C.)

This opinion represents the Court of Chancery’s latest and most definitive move toward greater scrutiny of disclosure-based settlements of stockholder class actions challenging public company mergers and acquisitions. In...more

Court of Chancery Targets “Deal Tax” Litigation By Increasing its Scrutiny of “Disclosure-Only” Settlements

M&A lawsuits and so-called “disclosure-only” settlements – where stockholder plaintiffs drop their requests to enjoin a deal and grant defendants broad releases primarily in exchange for supplemental disclosures to...more

Court Of Chancery Requires Dismissal With Prejudice Of Withdrawn Derivative Suit

When, after full briefing, the plaintiff decides that he cannot meet the heightened pleading rules of the recent Cornerstone case, may he just walk away without prejudice to his right to sue again later or must the suit be...more

CLIENT ALERT: Delaware Court of Chancery Adopts Materiality Standard For Approval Of “Disclosure Only” Settlements Of Stockholder...

In re Trulia, Inc. Stockholder Litigation, Consolidated C.A. No. 10020-CB (Del. Chancery) - In this opinion, the Delaware Court of Chancery announced that it will not approve “disclosure only” settlements unless the...more

Delaware Court of Chancery Rejects Another Disclosure-Only M&A Settlement and Warns of “Increasingly Vigilant” Scrutiny

The Delaware Court of Chancery dealt another blow to disclosure-only settlements of merger litigation and refused to approve a proposed class-action settlement arising from Zillow, Inc.'s acquisition of Trulia, Inc. ...more

Delaware Court of Chancery Again Rejects Disclosure-Only Settlement

In continuance of its recent trend of skepticism towards “disclosure-only” settlements, the Court of Chancery in In re Trulia, Inc. Stockholder Litigation, C.A. No. 10020-CB (Del. Ch. Jan. 22, 2016), rejected a proposed...more

Court Of Chancery Explores The Effect Of Federal Settlements On A Delaware Action And Applies Unocal To Bylaw Amendments

First, the Court explores the effect settlement agreements in two federal court actions might have on claims in a Delaware action. The decision holds that the settlements did not release the Delaware plaintiffs’ derivative...more

US M&A Litigation: Will the Changing Landscape Shift to the UK?

Following nearly every announcement of a public-company acquisition in the US, including take-private acquisitions by private equity investors, plaintiffs’ law firms file class actions on behalf of shareholders. These...more

Merck Resolves Investors’ Class Action Lawsuit Related To Vioxx

In 2004, Merck pulled its painkiller, Vioxx, from the market after a study linked the drug to increased risks for heart attack and strokes. On Friday, January 15, 2016, Merck announced that it had agreed to pay $830 million...more

Second Circuit Seeks Guidance from Delaware on Direct Shareholder Lawsuits for Holding Stock Based on Alleged Misstatements

May former stockholders who allege they were damaged by holding stock of a company, because of fraudulent and negligent misrepresentations about the company’s financial status, sue the company directly versus in a derivative...more

5 Securities Litigation Issues to Watch in 2016

The coming year promises to be a pivotal one in the world of securities and corporate governance litigation. In particular, there are five developing issues we are watching that have the greatest potential to significantly...more

Chancery Court Confirms that the Removal of Directors Serving on Unclassified Boards and Elected by Plurality Voting Cannot Be...

In In re VAALCO Energy, Inc. Consolidated Stockholder Litigation, C.A. No. 11775 VCL (Del. Ch. Dec. 21, 2015) (Transcript), the Delaware Court of Chancery confirmed that the certificate of incorporation or bylaws of a...more

Forum Shopping No More? Oregon Joins Delaware in Upholding Exclusive Forum Bylaw Provision

On December 10, 2015, the Oregon Supreme Court held that an exclusive forum bylaw provision adopted unilaterally by a Delaware company’s board was a valid and enforceable contractual forum selection clause.  Importantly, the...more

District Court Explains Caremark Proof Requirements In Pleading

To meet the pleading requirements to state a Caremark claim it is necessary that you show either the board ignored signs of wrongdoing or at least took no steps to prevent such wrongdoing. This decision contains an excellent...more

But Everybody’s Doing It: Delaware Chancery Court Invalidates VAALCO’s “Wacky” Charter and Bylaws Provisions Despite Use by Other...

Ruling from the bench on dueling motions for summary judgment just days before a special meeting of shareholders was to be held, on December 21, 2015, Delaware Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster invalidated certain provisions...more

Supreme Court of Canada considers Limitation Period for Secondary Market Securities Class Actions

On December 4, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada released its highly anticipated decision in a trilogy of shareholder class actions under the secondary market liability provisions of the Ontario Securities Act (the “OSA”). At...more

Court Of Chancery Awards Fees To Unsuccessful Objector

In what is probably an unprecedented decision, the Court in this case awarded fees to an unsuccessful objector to a settlement of merger litigation. Note that the Court was very cautious in doing so and warns that this should...more

Delaware Supreme Court Issues Long-Awaited Decision in Rural/Metro Affirming Liability Against Financial Advisor

On November 30, 2015, the Delaware Supreme Court issued its long-anticipated opinion in the stockholder litigation over the sale of Rural/Metro Corporation (Rural). In a unanimous opinion, the court affirmed the Delaware...more

Business Litigation Alert: "Is Your Board of Directors Providing Sufficient Oversight for Cyber Attacks?"

Last month, we discussed the recent federal court decision that allows whistleblowers to sue board members directly for retaliation. Now, it seems as though board members are assuming a bigger role in managing another...more

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