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Matthew F. Lintner

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Showing 66 posts by Matthew F. Lintner.

Chancery Grants Anti-Suit Injunction, Holds Non-Signatory Subsidiary is Bound by Stock Purchase Agreement’s Forum Selection Clause


Fla. Chem. Co., LLC v. Flotek Indus., Inc., C.A. No. 2021-0288-JTL (Del. Ch. Aug. 17, 2021).
Under Delaware law, a forum selection clause may be enforceable against a non-signatory if the non-signatory has a significantly close relationship to the agreement, either as an intended third-party beneficiary or under a theory of estoppel, and the claim subject to the forum selection provision arises from the non-signatory’s standing relating to the agreement. In regard to the last element, some Delaware cases have suggested what the court here called a “same agreement rule” – requiring that claims against the non-signatory arise from the same agreement that contains the forum selection provision. This case rejects the “same agreement” rule and holds a non-signatory may be bound even though its claims were not brought under the agreement containing the forum selection clause, provided that they are otherwise within the clause’s reach. More ›

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Chancery Explains Standards of Review for Receiver Determinations and Shifts Fees and Expenses in Dissolution


In re Dissolution of Jeffco Management, LLC, C.A. No. 2018-0027-PAF (Del. Ch. Aug. 16, 2021)
When the Court of Chancery appoints a receiver to effectuate a company’s dissolution, certain determinations are subject to de novo review and others are given a more deferential review depending on the nature of each determination. Here, the Court appointed a receiver to effectuate the relevant LLC’s dissolution based on a deadlock between the two members. Upon review of the record, the receiver found that one of the members had a negative capital account balance and decided to distribute the company’s assets in-kind to the other member with a positive capital account balance. The member with the negative account balance challenged that decision based on various objections.  More ›

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Chancery Grants Special Litigation Committee’s Zapata Motion, Finds Committee Was Sufficiently Independent and Reasonable


Diep v. Sather, C.A. No. 12760-CM (Del. Ch. July 30, 2021)
Under Zapata, when analyzing a motion to dismiss by a special litigation committee, the court evaluates whether the committee was independent, acted in good faith, and had a reasonable basis for its conclusions. The court then applies its own independent business judgment to determine whether dismissal is in the best interest of the corporation. Here, the plaintiff challenged the independence of the special litigation committee and the reasonableness of its investigation and findings. More ›

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Chancery Addresses Whether LLC Agreement Modified or Eliminated Fiduciary Duties


In Re Cadira Group Holdings, LLC Litigation, Consolidated C.A. No. 2018-0616-JRS (Del. Ch. July 12, 2021)
The Delaware Limited Liability Company Act provides that “the fiduciary duties of a member, manager, or other person that is a party to or bound by a limited liability company agreement may be expanded or restricted or eliminated by provisions in the limited liability company agreement.” Yet to eliminate fiduciary duties, Delaware law requires that the intent to do so must be “plain and unambiguous.” More ›

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Chancery Finds Change in Product’s Medicare Reimbursement Rate Was Not A Material Adverse Effect Excusing Buyer From Closing

Posted In Chancery, MAEs


Bardy Diagnostics, Inc. v. Hill-Rom, Inc. C.A. No. 2021-0175-JRS (Del. Ch. Jul. 9, 2021)
Bardy manufactures a patch that measures heart rate. Its reimbursement rate for the patch had for years been set around $365 per patch. When Hill-Rom acquired Bardy in early January 2021, the parties understood that this reimbursement rate might change, and prior to closing had built an earnout provision into their merger agreement to address this risk. The parties also included a Material Adverse Effect clause, giving Hill-Rom the ability to walk from the deal for any development that could “reasonably be expected to have a material adverse effect on … the Business of [Bardy] taken as a whole.” Yet any industry-wide change in the industries or markets in which Bardy operated, or any change in any “Health Care Law” would not constitute an MAE, unless such development had a “materially disproportionate impact on [Bardy] as compared to other similarly situated companies ….” More ›

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Chancery Finds That the Standard of Review for the Conduct of a Shareholders’ Representative Turns Upon the Merger Agreement’s Language

Posted In Chancery, M&A


Houseman v. Sagerman, C.A. No. 8897-VCG (Del. Ch. July 20, 2021)

A merger agreement between a subsidiary of Healthport Technologies, LLC and Universata, Inc., gave the owners of 72 percent of Universata’s stock (the “Owners”) the power to appoint a Shareholders’ Representative. Among other responsibilities, the Shareholders’ Representative was charged with “disbursing among the Shareholders the cash portion of the Purchase Price and any other payments paid to Shareholders under this Agreement.”  More ›

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Section 225 Action Filed Eight Months After Removal Barred by Laches


Simple Global, Inc. v. Banasik, C.A. No. 2018-0809-PAF (Del. Ch. June 24, 2021)
Under Delaware law, a director or officer who disputes her removal as such may be subject to equitable defenses if she does not proceed promptly to contest it.  Here, plaintiff Simple Global was owned by three stockholders, one of which, defendant Banasik, was removed as a director and officer by the others in June 2018.  In November 2018, Simple Global sued Banasik for breach of fiduciary duty, to which Banasik responded in April 2019 by, among other things, filing a counterclaim under Section 225 of the DGCL asserting he was not properly removed as a director.  More ›

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Superior Court Examines Choice of Law Principles For Mixed Contractual and Non-Contractual Claims


Arkray America, Inc. v. Navigator Business Solutions, Inc., C.A. No. N20C-12-012 MMJ [CCLD] (Del. Super. June 9, 2021)
Arkray, a Delaware corporation based in Minnesota, manufactures diabetes testing and management supplies. Arkray brought claims against Navigator, a provider of Enterprise Resource Planning software solutions based in Utah, and N’Ware, a provider of custom “add-on” software for warehouse management based in New Hampshire. Arkray had contracted with Navigator under a software and consulting services agreement (the “Agreement”), which provided that it “shall be governed by and construed under the laws of the State of Utah without reference to its conflicts of law principles.” Arkray contracted with N’Ware under a similar “License Agreement,” which provided that it “shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Delaware, United States of America, without reference to its conflicts of laws principles.”  More ›

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Chancery Upholds Fiduciary Duty Claims Arising Out Of Deal Involving an Alleged Control Group That Included Non-Stockholders and a Sale Process Managed By a Disinterested and Independent Special Committee


In re Pattern Energy Grp. Inc. Stockholders Litig., C.A. No. 2020-0357-MTZ (Del. Ch. May 6, 2021)
This decision mostly denying a motion to dismiss examines several important issues in post-closing M&A fiduciary duty litigation relevant to stating a claim and overcoming an otherwise claim-cleansing stockholder vote under the Corwin doctrine. These include what it takes to adequately plead the existence of a control group, a fraud-on-the-board theory, a bad faith breach of fiduciary duty by admittedly disinterested and independent directors charged with managing a sale process and overseeing potential conflicts, and claims against individual officers. Core to the plaintiff’s well-pled complaint in this action were allegations that the committee and certain officers favored a buyer preferred by a private equity fund, which, among other things, formed the company, controlled its upstream supplier, and held significant contractual consent rights.  More ›

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Chancery Finds No Transaction-Specific Control Where Plaintiffs Failed to Allege that a Majority of the Members of a Special Committee Were Under the Sway of a Would-Be Controller


In re GGP Inc. Stockholder Litig., C.A. No. 2018-0267-JRS (Del. Ch. May 25, 2021).
Under MFW and its progeny, if there is a conflicted controlling stockholder, then in order to receive the benefits of the business judgment rule, the transaction must be negotiated and approved by independent and disinterested directors and conditioned on an informed and uncoerced vote of a majority of the minority stockholders. A stockholder that owns less than 50% of the voting power of the corporation may be a controller if it exercises control over the business affairs of the corporation either generally or with respect to the transaction at-issue. More ›

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Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing Saves Employee’s Claim for Improper Termination Under Company’s LLC Agreement


Smith v. Scott, C.A. No. 2020-0263-JRS (Del. Ch. Apr. 23, 2021)
The Delaware LLC Act provides that fiduciary duties may be expanded or limited by the provisions of an LLC agreement. If the agreement is silent, then traditional corporate fiduciary duties apply. However, if the agreement unambiguously disclaims fiduciary duties, then the only duties that exist are those specified contractually in the LLC agreement and the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.  More ›

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Chancery Shifts Attorneys’ Fees, Reasoning Perjury Is Bad Faith Per Se


Lyons Ins. Agency Inc. v. Wilson, C.A. No. 2017-0092-SG (Del. Ch. Apr. 29, 2021).
In this action, the Court of Chancery noted that it heard “perhaps the most cogent, and certainly the briefest, argument for fee shifting under the bad faith exception I have been privileged to hear: ‘perjury is bad faith.’” Plaintiff Lyons Insurance Agency Inc. (“Lyons”) sued its former employee Howard Wilson, an insurance broker, for breach of the non-compete in his employment contract. At a hearing for a preliminary injunction, Wilson testified that he needed to follow his clients to another firm because he could not entice them to stay at Lyons. Throughout the litigation, he maintained that he had not intended to rob Lyons of business. But, before a damages hearing, Wilson submitted an affidavit repudiating his earlier testimony. At the damages hearing, he testified that he conspired with the other firm to breach his employment agreement, recanting his earlier testimony. More ›

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Chancery Lacks Jurisdiction to Grant Injunction While Superior Court Appeal Is Pending


Vama F.Z. Co. v. WS02, Inc., C.A. No. 2020-0141-JRS (Del. Ch. Mar. 29, 2021)
This case illustrates that the Court of Chancery lacks subject matter jurisdiction to issue an injunction pending appeal of another court’s rulings, and where the plaintiff has adequate remedies at law.  More ›

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Chancery Finds SEC’s Filing of an Enforcement Action Did Not Trigger Redemption Right

Tetragon Fin. Grp. Ltd. v. Ripple Labs Inc., C.A. No. 2021-0007-MTZ (Del. Ch. Mar. 19, 2021)

Plaintiff Tetragon Financial Group Limited is a shareholder of Ripple Labs, Inc., a blockchain company that uses a cryptocurrency called XRP. Tetragon had a right under a Stockholders’ Agreement to require Ripple to redeem its shares if the SEC or another government agency “determine[s] on an official basis” that XRP is a security “on a current and going forward basis.” Here, Tetragon sought a declaration that the SEC’s decisions to file an enforcement action in federal District Court, and issue a Wells Notice, each triggered the redemption right. More ›

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Chancery Confirms that the Implied Covenant Imposes a “Good Faith” Component to an Agreement to Negotiate

DG BF, LLC v. Ray, C.A. No. 2020-0459-MTZ (Del. Ch. Mar. 1, 2021)

The Operating Agreement for an LLC involved in the cannabis industry provided for a five-member board of managers, with one Independent Manager appointed by a process of negotiation between two other managers (the plaintiff in the action and one of the defendants). Under the process set forth in the Operating Agreement, either side could present various candidates until there was agreement, which was supposed to happen within a 180-day period. The parties could also mutually agree to extend the deadline. More ›

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mlintner@morrisjames.com
T 302.888.6828
Matt Lintner has extensive experience litigating complex corporate, commercial, and fiduciary matters. Matt represents corporations, directors and officers, and investors in …
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