Showing 9 posts from February 2024.
Chancery Denies Request for Mandatory Preliminary Injunction to Waive Advance Notice Bylaw and Permit Director Nominees to Stand for Election
Paragon Tech., Inc. v. Cryan, C.A. 2023-1013-LWW (Del. Ch. Nov. 30, 2023).
In Delaware, a preliminary injunction is granted “sparingly and only upon a persuasive showing that it is urgently necessary, that it will result in comparatively less harm to the adverse party, and that, in the end, it is unlikely to be shown to have been issued improvidently.” A party seeking a mandatory injunction must also show entitlement to the relief it seeks as a matter of law based on undisputed facts – akin to a summary judgment standard. In this case, “with some trepidation[,]” the Court of Chancery denied a request for preliminary mandatory injunctive relief due to factual disputes concerning whether a stockholder plaintiff complied with advance notice bylaws requiring disclosure of plans to change the corporation’s business and potential conflicts of interest. More ›
Bocock v. Innovate Corp., C.A. No. 2021-0224-PAF (Del. Ch. Dec. 6, 2023)
In this recent letter opinion, Vice Chancellor Fioravanti considered whether the plaintiffs’ failure to provide specific objections to discovery requests in a timely manner resulted in the waiver of those objections. More ›
Chancery Evaluates Supplemental Disclosures to Determine the Corporate Benefit and Awards Plaintiffs a Proportional Fee
Allen v. Harvey, C.A. No. 2022-0248-MTZ (Del. Ch. Oct. 30, 2023)
Delaware cases provide guidance on the standard for evaluating the “corporate benefit” from supplemental disclosures in advance of a stockholder vote – and the fees that should be awarded to plaintiffs for prompting such disclosures. This case involved supplemental disclosures of potential sources of conflicts held by a special committee’s chair and advisors in advance of a merger vote. The Court held that such disclosures were not extraordinary, but they still warranted a proportional fee award. More ›
Delaware Supreme Court Affirms Busted-Deal Decision and Attorneys’ Fees for Contingency Fee Based Representation
Energy Transfer LP v. The Williams Companies, Inc., No. 391, 2022 (Del. Oct. 10, 2023)
Busted-deal litigation is commonplace in Delaware and often requires Delaware courts to interpret provisions in merger agreements obligating parties to work towards closing and granting one party or the other fees in the event of a breach and failed deal, e.g., break-up fees or reimbursement fees. Here, in a decade-long busted deal suit, the Court of Chancery had found that the plaintiff had fulfilled its contractual obligations and the defendant, therefore, was not entitled to a break-up fee that would have exceeded $1.5 billion. The trial court also found that the defendant owed the plaintiffs approximately $410 million in reimbursement fees and $85 million in attorneys' fees under the merger agreement. On appeal, the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed each finding, examining the at-issue provisions and the trial court's determinations. Notably, on the attorneys' fees issue, the Supreme Court agreed with the trial court that the contingency fee nature of the plaintiff's representation did not warrant a finding of unreasonableness. While most decisions addressing the reasonableness of contractual fee awards have dealt with hourly fee representations, the Court found nothing inherently unreasonable about enforcing a contractual fee-shifting arrangement to cover a contingent fee award.
Greenlight Capital Offshore Partners, LTD., v. Brighthouse Financial Inc., C.A. No. 2022-1067-LWW (Del. Ch. Nov. 20, 2023)
Valuation is a well-established proper purpose to inspect corporate books and records. While each case turns on its own facts, in general the availability of public information to satisfy a valuation demand will result in a relatively narrow court-ordered inspection. Here, the plaintiff conceded the availability of public information for valuation purposes, but sought more to help it speculate regarding the company’s dividend potential, after recent extraordinary dividends at the subsidiary level caused the stock price to jump. While dividend capacity may be relevant to valuation, the Court of Chancery largely denied the inspection, finding the requested information too removed from the company’s current value and thus not necessary and essential to the plaintiff’s valuation purpose.
Assad v. Botha, et al., C.A. No. 2022-0691-LWW (Del. Ch. Oct. 30, 2023)
Here, Vice Chancellor Will awarded a $100,000 mootness fee for “material—and unremarkable—disclosures” following the recently heightened mootness fee standard announced in Anderson v. Magellan Health, Inc. (analyzed here), authored by Chancellor McCormick. Magellan announced that the Court would award mootness fees for supplemental disclosure only where such disclosures are “material,” not merely “helpful,” and such fees, if awarded, may be lower than those awarded historically. This opinion represents one of the first decisions applying Magellan, and awarded $100,000 where plaintiffs sought $850,000.
Ramco Asset Mgmt. LLC v. USA Rare Earth, LLC, C.A. No. 2022-0665-SG (Del. Ch. Oct. 20, 2023)
Plaintiffs brought claims alleging improper dilution of their equity interests when transferring their holdings in an Australian rare-earth mining company to a Delaware limited liability company. Their claims included breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, breach of contract, and conspiracy. All five defendants moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim and on forum non conveniens grounds, and four of the five moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. More ›
AECOM, et al. v. SCCI Nat’l Hldgs., Inc., C.A. No. 2022-0727-MTZ (Del. Ch. Sept. 27, 2023)
Although the Court of Chancery frequently resolves contractual disputes, it grants contractual reformation only when “intervention [is necessary] to ensure the deal is what the parties agreed upon.” This pleadings-stage decision provides insight into the Court’s approach to reformation because the Court found that one claim supported reformation but the other did not. More ›
Chancery Concludes Accountant Provision in Stock Purchase Agreement Calls for Expert Determination Rather than Arbitration
ArchKey Intermediate Holdings Inc. v. Mona, C.A. No. 2021-0383-JTL (Del. Ch. Oct. 3, 2023)
Parties to a stock purchase agreement disputed post-closing price adjustments. The agreement called for an independent accountant to resolve such disputes and referred to the accountant as an “arbitrator.” As the parties litigated in the Court of Chancery, the purchaser moved to compel arbitration so that an independent accountant could resolve all disputes the seller raised. The seller contended that the agreement’s accountant provision called for an expert determination rather than an arbitration. More ›