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Summaries and analysis of recent Delaware court decisions concerning business-related litigation.

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Showing 15 posts from February 2006.

Court of Chancery Permits Third Complaint Amendment In Nigerian Judgment-Enforcement Action

Harry A. Akande v. Transamerica Airlines, Inc., et al., C.A. No. 1039-N, 2006 WL 587846 (Del. Ch. Feb. 28, 2006). This is a motion to amend the Complaint under Court of Chancery Rules 15(a) and 15(aaa) for the third time before the Court of Chancery, involving a foreign judgment enforcement action. Plaintiff sought to withdraw his petition for receivership and add factual predicates to various claims he made. In an earlier hearing, the Court of Chancery permitted plaintiff's motion for discovery and converted the defendants' motion for dismissal upon plaintiff's motion to one of summary judgment. More ›

Court of Chancery Denies Motion For Expedited Preliminary Injunction Hearing For Lack of "Colorable Claim" Demonstrating Imminent Irreparable Harm

Madison Real Estate Immobbilien-Anlagegesellschaft Beschrankt Haftende KG v. GENO One Financial Place L.P. and GENO Auslandsimmobilien GmbH, No. Civ.A. No. 1928-N, 2006 WL 456779 (Del. Ch. Feb. 22, 2006). The plaintiff is a German entity organized under that country's laws, as is the second named German limited liability defendant. The latter party is also a general partner in the first defendant entity. The plaintiff was one of two bidders that made an unregulated tender offer for a part of the first-named defendant's Delaware limited partnership interest. Plaintiff filed a motion in the Court of Chancery for expedited injunction proceedings, seeking to enjoin the defendant's general partner from approving any transfer agreements related to the tender offers. More ›

Court of Chancery Dismisses Caremark Claims But Retains Loyalty And Fraud Counts

Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension Plan v. Eric Alden, et al., C.A. No. 1184-N, 2006 WL 456786 (Del. Ch. Feb. 22, 2006). In this derivative action brought against four former directors and officers of Case Financial, Inc., the nominal defendant, the two remaining defendants moved to dismiss after two others settled. Plaintiff alleged breach of loyalty, breach of the Caremark duty of oversight, corporate waste and common law fraud. The Court of Chancery partly granted the motions. More ›

Court of Chancery Denies Dismissal Despite Three-Year Failure To Diligently Prosecute Class Action

In re Cencom Cable Income Partners, L.P., C.A. No. 14634-NC, 2006 WL 452775 (Del. Ch. Feb. 16, 2006). This Court of Chancery action arose out of a breach of fiduciary duty claim filed on Oct. 20, 1995. Defendants unsuccessfully moved to dismiss for failure to prosecute under Court of Chancery Rule 41. More ›

Court of Chancery Holds "Anti-Reliance" Contract Provisions Cannot Exclude Liability For Fraudulent Misrepresentations

Abry Partners V, L.P., et al. v. F&W Acquisitions LLC, et al., C.A. No. 1756-N, (Del. Ch. Feb. 14, 2006) (published at 891 A.2d 1032 (Del. Ch. 2006). This is plaintiffs' suit for rescission of a corporate acquisition contract. The seller moved to dismiss the case for failure to state a claim. The court focused on the law and policy of the unambiguous bar to recessionary relief and limitations in damage recovery for misrepresentations through the contract's exclusive indemnity-limiting provision. The court reconciled the power of privately ordered contracts allocating risk between the parties and Delaware's public policy disfavoring a bar on recessionary remedies and damages for willful misrepresentations. Additionally, the court examined the elective remedies available to the plaintiff-buyer. More ›

Failure To Plead Particularized Oversight Fiduciary Duty Failure Under R.23.1 Invites Dismissal in Court of Chancery

Posted In Case Summaries
David B. Shaev Profit Sharing Account v. C. Michael Armstrong, et al., C.A. No. 1449-N, 2006 WL 391931 (Del. Ch. Feb. 13, 2006). The facts here were litigated in In re Citigroup Inc. Shareholders Litigation, 2003 Del. Ch. LEXIS 61 (Del. Ch. June 05, 2003), aff'd, Rabinowitz v. Shapiro, 839 A.2d 666 (Del. 2003) (TABLE). That case involved alleged knowledge of fraudulent relationships between Citigroup and its former clients Enron and WorldCom and alleged breach of fiduciary duties. Both actions were dismissed under Rule 23.1 as conclusory. More ›

District Court Grants Motion to Strike Jury Demand in Breach of Fiduciary Duty Action

Cantor v. Perelman, C.A. No. 97-586-KAJ, 2006 WL 318666 (D. Del. Feb. 10, 2006). Plaintiffs alleged that defendants Perelman, Bevins and Drapkin, all of whom were directors of Marvel Entertainment Company ("Marvel") and were the only directors of each of Marvel's five holding companies, breached their fiduciary duties by causing Marvel and its holding companies to issue three tranches of notes, for which they received $553.3 million in proceeds and pledged all of their stock in Marvel as collateral. Plaintiffs alleged that none of the proceeds of the loan went to Marvel or were used for its benefit. Marvel was unable to repay the notes and subsequently filed for bankruptcy protection. Plaintiffs named Marvel's remaining directors as defendants and claimed that they aided and abetted Perelman, Bevins and Drapkin in breaching their fiduciary duties. Plaintiffs also alleged that the defendants artificially inflated Marvel's earnings by booking the fees resulting from various licensing agreements as income at the time the licensing agreements were executed, but never collecting the fees and writing them off. Plaintiffs sought a jury trial, which defendants opposed. More ›

Court of Chancery Accepts Fiduciary Status Through Partnership Interest-Assignment And Appraises Interest's Value

Ramunno v. Capano, et al., C.A. No. 18798-NC, 2006 WL 375541 (Del. Ch. Feb. 10, 2006). This is a fiduciary claim based action to appraise the fair value of real property brought by the trustee of four trusts that held a 12.1% interest in that property held by the defendant entity and its two majority interest holders, after that entity's merger into a new Delaware limited partnership. More ›

Court of Chancery Denies Defendants' Demand For Intercontinental Depositions Approving Videoconferencing Under R.30(b) And Limits Number Of Deponents

Unisuper Ltd., et al. v. News Corporation, et al., C.A. No. 1699-N, 2006 WL 375433 (Del. Ch. Feb. 09, 2006). Defendants filed cross-motions requiring depositions of thirteen named plaintiffs' under Ch. Ct. R. 30(b)(6) in either Delaware or New York. Plaintiffs filed motions for protective orders, to limit the numbers of deponents and contended depositions could occur outside the United States via videoconferencing. The plaintiffs' Australian company had reincorporated in Delaware. Plaintiff sought equitable relief requesting its shareholders to be permitted to vote on a poison pill's extension. The court treated this matter as a representative one, rather than an individual shareholder suit. More ›

Court of Chancery Grants Expedited Injunction Proceedings In Interested Merger's Disclosure Claim

In re Serena Software, Inc. S'holders Litig., C.A. No. 1777-N, 2006 WL 375599 (Del. Ch. Feb. 09, 2006). This is a motion for expedited proceedings for a preliminary injunction pertaining to certain disclosure claims not made public in SEC-filed proxy statements soliciting shareholder vote for an agreement for sale of the corporation at $24 per share. Class actions were earlier filed in the Delaware Court of Chancery and California's Superior Court challenging the sale transaction as a director-interested one. More ›

District Court Grants Individual Director's Motion to Dismiss Securities Class Action

In re AstroPower Inc. Securities Litig., C.A. No. 03-260-JJF, 2006 WL 288120 (D. Del. Feb. 7, 2006). Plaintiffs alleged that defendants violated Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the "Exchange Act") and Rule 10b-5 by fraudulently overstating AstroPower's revenue in press releases and in SEC filings, and that, as a result, they had purchased their AstroPower stock at artifically inflated prices. Plaintiffs also alleged that the defendants qualified as "controlling persons", as that term is defined in Section 20 of the Exchange Act, of AstroPower and therefore liable to plaintiffs. Defendant Thomas J. Stiner, a Chief Financial Officer, Senior Vice President and director of AstroPower, moved to dismiss the complaint as to him. More ›

District Court Allows Plaintiff in Illinois Securities Class Action to Intervene in Delaware Action and Stays Delaware Action in Favor of First-Filed Illinois Action

Hyland v. Harrison, C.A. No. 05-162-JJF, 2006 WL 288247 (D. Del. Feb. 7, 2006). Dr. Stephen Blau, the lead plaintiff in a securities class action pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (the "Illinois Action"), moved to intervene in the later-filed present action in Delaware that alleged similar claims against the defendants by the Delaware plaintiffs, after he learned that the Delaware plaintiffs had filed several amici curai briefs seeking to have the Illinois court vacate its order appointing Dr. Blau as lead plaintiff and to transfer the Illinois Action sua sponte to Delaware. Dr. Blau also sought to have the Delaware district court stay the Delaware action in order to allow the first-filed Illinois Action to proceed. More ›

Court of Chancery Partially Grants Plaintiffs' Motion For A Preliminary Injunction Enforcing A Non-Competition Agreement

Deloitte & Touche USA LLP v. Lamela, C.A. No. 1542-N, 2005 WL 2810719 (Del. Ch. Oct. 21, 2005). Plaintiffs sought a preliminary injunction against Defendant to prevent him from soliciting any current, former or prospective clients that he had contact with while employed by Plaintiffs. More ›

District Court Dismisses Proposed Insurance Class Action But Grants Leave to Amend Complaint

Eames v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., C.A. No. 04-1324-KAJ, 412 F. Supp. 431 (D. Del. 2006). Plaintiffs filed a proposed class action alleging that defendant Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company ("Nationwide") misrepresented to class members the limits of liability of the Personal Injury Protection ("PIP") coverage that was included in Nationwide's automobile policies. Nationwide moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim. More ›

Court of Chancery Holds For Defendant-Corporation On Untimely Stock-Options Claim

Richard W. Vague v. Bank One Corporation, et al., C.A. No. 18741, 2006 WL 290299 (Del. Ch. Feb. 01, 2006). In this post-trial opinion, the court examines an untimely claim on stock-options against employer-corporation after expiration of contractually agreed limitations period and the corporation's claim against another employee for violation of duties related to the claim of options. More ›