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Showing 12 posts in Breach of Fiduciary Duty.

Chancery Dismisses Claims Alleging Directors Approved Spring-Loaded Stock Options Before Press Releases on COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Posted In Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Chancery, Disclosure Claims


In re Vaxart, Inc. S’holder Litig., Consol. C.A. No. 2020-0767-PAF (Del. Ch. June 3, 2022)
A small biotechnology company issued a press release that connected the company to the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed program and its efforts to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. The body of the press release provided more clarity than the headline—namely, that the company had been selected to participate in a primate research study, not selected as a final recipient of funds for vaccine development. Stockholders filed suit, alleging that the company’s selection was material information that should have been disclosed in advance of the stockholders’ vote on an amendment to the company’s equity incentive plan that enabled officers to issue themselves spring-loaded stock options prior to the press release. The defendants moved to dismiss. More ›

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Chancery Curtails Discovery in Appraisal Action Instituted as a Substitute for Books and Records Demand

Posted In Appraisal, Books and Records, Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Chancery, Discovery


Wei v. Zoox, Inc, C.A. No. 2020-1036-KSJM (Del. Ch. Jan. 31, 2022)
Often, stockholders who suspect corporate wrongdoing in connection with M&A transactions demand to inspect the company’s books and records under Section 220. But if, through no fault of the stockholder, the timing of a closing makes Section 220 relief more difficult to obtain, may the stockholder use Section 262, the appraisal statute, and its broader available discovery, to accomplish the same goal? In this case, the Court concludes that the answer is a qualified yes. That is, the stockholders are entitled to discovery in the appraisal proceeding. But if it appears the proceeding is just a means to investigate a potential class action for breach of fiduciary duties, the stockholder is entitled to discovery only to the limited extent it would have been available under Section 220, and not to the broader extent typically available under Section 262. 

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Chancery Examines Cornerstone Standard for Establishing Non-Exculpated Fiduciary Duty Claims

Posted In Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Chancery, Controlling Stockholder, Demand Futility, M&A


In Re BGC Partners, Inc. Derivative Litigation, Consol. C.A. No. 2018-0722-LWW (Del. Ch. Sep. 20, 2021)
A director protected by an exculpatory provision is entitled to dismissal in a breach of fiduciary duty action unless the plaintiff advances a non-exculpated claim. Under In re Cornerstone Therapeutics Inc. Shareholder Litigation, 115 A.3d 1173 (Del. 2015), to establish a non-exculpated claim plaintiff must show that a director: (1) “harbored self-interest adverse to the stockholders’ interests”; (2) “acted to advance the self-interest of an interested party from whom they could not be presumed to act independently”; or (3) “acted in bad faith.” This decision explains Cornerstone’s second prong. More ›

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Chancery Rejects MFW Defense Based on Failure to Disclose That a Conflicted Controller Participated in Arbitration Proceedings Potentially Impacting the Company’s Value

Posted In Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Chancery, M&A


Ligos v. Isramco, Inc., C.A. No. 2020-0435-SG (Del. Ch. Aug. 31, 2021)
Under MFW, a conflicted controller transaction may get the benefit of business judgment review when conditioned on two procedural protections involving: (i) approval by an independent special committee; and (ii) approval by a fully informed, uncoerced majority of the minority stockholders. At issue in Ligos was whether the shareholders were fully informed regarding the value of an arbitration concerning certain royalties when they approved a merger. More ›

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Chancery Rejects Inadequate Disclosure Contentions and Grants Corwin Dismissal

Posted In Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Chancery, Corwin Doctrine, M&A


Kihm v. Mott, C.A. No. 2020-0938-MTZ (Del. Ch. Aug. 31, 2021)

Under the Corwin doctrine, a fully informed and uncoerced approval of a board decision by the corporation’s disinterested stockholders can downgrade an otherwise heightened standard of review to deferential business judgment review and result in prompt dismissal of post-closing M&A litigation not involving a conflicted controlling stockholder. Kihm involved a merger breach of fiduciary duty challenge and an attempt to avoid Corwin cleansing based on alleged deficient disclosures in the target board’s recommendation statement to the stockholders. More ›

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

Posted In Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Chancery, Derivative Claims, Special Committees


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 Confirms Operation of Savings Statute and Tortious Interference Framework in Dispute Involving Fiduciaries with Competing Creditor Interests

Posted In Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Business Torts, Chancery, Laches, Statute of Limitations


Skye Mineral Invs., LLC v. DXS Capital (U.S.) Ltd., C.A. No. 2018-0059-JRS (Del. Ch. July 28, 2021)
Delaware’s savings statute—10 Del. C. § 8118(a)—protects claims from being time-barred where they were timely brought in an incorrect forum. Here, the Court of Chancery applied the savings statute in the context of claims alleging that, in a course of conduct dating back to 2013, majority LLC members managed the company to protect their affiliate’s status as a senior secured creditor and drive the company into bankruptcy, all to eliminate the minority members’ interests. More ›

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Chancery Finds Breach of Fiduciary Duty Where Defendant Resorted to Extra-Contractual Self-Help

Posted In Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Bylaws, Chancery


Macrophage Therapeutics, Inc. v. Goldberg, C.A. No. 2019-0137-JRS (Del. Ch. Jun. 23, 2021) (Post-trial Memorandum Opinion)

Macrophage Therapeutics, Inc. v. Goldberg, C.A. No. 2019-0137-JRS (Del. Ch. Jun. 23, 2021) (Letter Opinion)
Delaware law provides several remedies for a party who believes that a contractual breach has occurred. But extra-contractual self-help is usually not one. As this case demonstrates, the choice to seek direct retribution, rather than legal recourse, may constitute a breach of a director’s duty of loyalty. A related decision also considered and rejected the argument that formal board authorization was needed for a corporation to commence litigation.  More ›

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Chancery Dismisses Conclusory Allegations of Gross Negligence and Disloyalty Against Oracle Officers and Directors Related to Alleged Controlled, Self-Dealing NetSuite Acquisition

Posted In Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Chancery


In re Oracle Corp. Derv. Litig., C.A. No. 2017-0337-SG (Del. Ch. June 21, 2021)
While Delaware maintains a notice pleading standard, this decision reflects that conclusory allegations of breach of fiduciary duty leveled against officers and directors of a Delaware corporation may be found insufficient to state a claim. More ›

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Chancery Dismisses Caremark Claims Against Metlife Board

Posted In Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Caremark, Chancery

In re Metlife Inc. Derivative Litigation, Consol. C.A. No. 2019-0452-SG (Del. Ch. Aug. 17, 2020)

Shareholders seeking relief for alleged harm to a Delaware corporation must comply with Delaware’s pre-suit demand requirement by either making a demand on the board of directors to take action respecting the potential claims, or initiating suit themselves and adequately pleading facts excusing pre-suit demand as futile. More ›

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Chancery Rejects Bid to Jettison USACafes and its Holding That, Absent Agreement to the Contrary, the Controllers of a Corporate General Partner Owe Fiduciary Duties

Posted In Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Chancery, Limited Partnerships

Fannin v. UMTH Land Development, L.P. (In re: United Development Funding III, L.P.), C.A. No. 12541-VCF (Del. Ch. Jul. 31, 2020).

The Court of Chancery has concluded that in certain situations, equity will, by default, impose fiduciary duties upon a corporate relationship. This decision rejects on stare decisis grounds an attempt to overturn longstanding precedent in this area. More ›

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Chancery Dismisses Complaint Challenging Dilution for Lack of Standing and Failure to State a Claim

Posted In Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Chancery, Derivative Standing, LLC Agreements

Hindlin v Gottwald, C.A. No. 2019-0586-JRS (Del. Ch. July 22, 2020)

The plaintiff, a minority investor (“Plaintiff”) in a Delaware limited liability company, Core Nutrition, LLC (the “Company”), brought an action for breach of fiduciary duties and certain provisions of the Company’s LLC agreement (the “LLC Agreement”). The defendants in the action were three individual members of the Company’s board of managers (“Defendants”). Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiff’s complaint under, inter alia, Court of Chancery Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim, and 6 Del. C. §§ 18-1001–03 for lack of standing. More ›

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