Showing 7 posts in Corporate Benefit Doctrine.
Chancery Finds Stockholder Conferred a Substantial Corporate Benefit by Challenging the Joint Vote of Two Classes of Common Stock under Section 242(b)(2) of the DGCL
Garfield v. Boxed Inc., C.A. No. 2022-0132-MTZ (Del. Ch. Dec. 27, 2022).
Section 242(b)(2) of the DGCL requires the separate approval of different classes of stock for charter amendments that, inter alia, “increase or decrease the aggregate number of authorized shares of such class…” Section 242(b)(2) permits corporations to opt-out of this separate class approval requirement via a charter amendment – but any such amendment also must be approved by a separate class vote. This decision awards attorneys’ fees under the corporate benefit doctrine to a stockholder who questioned the validity of Class A and Class B common shares voting together on proposed amendments triggering these requirements, which then caused the corporation to provide separate class votes. More ›
Court of Chancery Awards Plaintiffs Attorneys’ Fees and Costs in Section 225 Action for Obtaining a Substantial Benefit for the Corporation and its Stockholders
Totta v. CCSB, LLC, C.A. No. 2021-0173-KSJM (Del. Ch. Nov. 3, 2022)
Delaware follows the “American Rule”: each party bears its own legal fees and expenses. However, there are certain exceptions. This includes the “corporate benefit exception,” where a party has obtained a substantial benefit for the corporation or its stockholders through prosecuting the lawsuit. In this recent decision from the Court of Chancery, the Court awarded attorneys’ fees and expenses to a plaintiff in a Section 225 action under the corporate benefit exception. More ›
Hollywood Firefighters Pension Fund v. Malone, C.A. 220-0880-SG (Nov. 8, 2021)
A plaintiff may be entitled to a mootness fee if it shows that its action had merit and produced a corporate benefit. This case outlines the Court of Chancery’s analysis in valuing non-monetary benefits and, in turn, the appropriate mootness fee. More ›
Morrison v. Berry, C.A. No. 12808-VCG (Del. Ch. July 12, 2021)
Delaware courts generally do not award special compensation to lead plaintiffs in class action litigation. Delaware courts typically limit awards to out-of-pocket costs and expenses, unless lead plaintiffs take on extra—essentially, exceptional—burdens in the litigation. Submitting a modest award request does not necessarily portend success that an applicant will receive an award. More ›
Chancery Awards Attorneys’ Fees for Monetary and Therapeutic Benefits from Goldman Sachs Director Compensation Settlement and Considers Objector’s Fee Request
Stein v. Blankfein, C.A. No. 2017-0354-SG (Del. Ch. Jul. 12, 2021)
This decision concerns fee applications under the “corporate benefit” doctrine for benefits achieved in derivative litigation. More ›
Chancery Awards $3 Million in Attorneys’ Fees Following Invalidation of Charters’ Forum-Selection Provisions for Securities Act Claims
In December 2018, the Court of Chancery held that forum-selection provisions in three corporate charters were ineffective. The provisions had required any claim under the Securities Act of 1933 to be filed in federal court (“Federal Forum Provisions”). The Court held them to be invalid, because federal securities claims were not “internal affairs” claims for which a Delaware corporation’s charter may choose a forum. Seven months later, the Court granted an application for an all-in award of attorneys’ fees and expenses in the amount of $3 million under the corporate benefit doctrine. Defendants had argued that the award should not exceed $364,723 plus expenses. Reasoning that “the plaintiff achieved a significant and substantive result by successfully invalidating the Federal Forum Provisions,” the Court turned to Delaware precedent to determine an appropriate fee for this kind of non-monetary relief. More ›Share
Under the “corporate benefit doctrine,” litigants whose efforts result in a substantial benefit to a Delaware corporation or its stockholders generally are entitled to an award of their attorneys’ fees and expenses. This opinion emphasizes that the doctrine is a flexible one based on the Court of Chancery’s prerogative to do equity in each case.
Here, the Court considers and denies a fee application by stockholder-plaintiffs who challenged a defective short-form merger. The basis for the plaintiffs’ claims included technical errors in the language of certain corporate instruments that resulted in a reverse stock split with a ratio much larger than intended (2,500 to 1, rather than 50 to 1). That, in turn, resulted in the merger receiving less than the required stockholder approval. When the corporation attempted to ratify the defective corporate acts under Section 204 of the DGCL and sought judicial validation under Section 205, the plaintiffs opposed it. Plaintiffs ultimately lost on the issue at trial. Although the end-result—removing a cloud over the merger’s validity—could be considered a “benefit” resulting from the plaintiffs’ litigation efforts, the Court denied their subsequent fee application. According to the Court, in particular, it would be inequitable to reward plaintiffs for conferring a benefit they opposed.Share