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Showing 7 posts in Derivative Standing.

Delaware Court of Chancery Applies Direct/Derivative Distinction In Voting Context

Posted In Chancery, Derivative Standing, LLCs


Clifford Paper, Inc. v. WPP Investors, LLC, 2021 WL 2211694 (Del. Ch. Jun. 1, 2021)
The disenfranchisement of an investor with voting or consent rights often is considered to be a direct harm, thus permitting the investor to bring direct claims. Sometimes, however, the alleged harm from the violation of voting rights is to the company, and it does not directly affect the investor. The Court of Chancery’s recent decision in Clifford Paper, Inc. v. WPP Investors, LLC, 2021 WL 2211694 (Del. Ch. Jun. 1, 2021), illustrates that, in such instances, a court applying Delaware law may treat those claims as derivative. More ›

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Stockholders Lack Derivative Standing to Challenge Transactions Whose Terms Were Set Before They Became Stockholders

Posted In Chancery, Derivative Standing


In re SmileDirectClub, Inc., 2021 WL 2182827 (Del. Ch. May 28, 2021)
Under the “contemporaneous ownership rule,” to have standing to bring derivative claims, stockholders in a Delaware corporation must own stock at the time of a challenged transaction. The general rule is that the time of the transaction is when the terms were established, but there are narrow exceptions, such as where the terms were modified and not disclosed, in which case a court may look to when the transaction was consummated. In In re SmileDirectClub, Inc., 2021 WL 2182827 (Del. Ch. May 28, 2021), the Delaware Court of Chancery found that the general rule applied where plaintiffs challenged the terms of a transaction related to an IPO through which they became stockholders. More ›

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Delaware Supreme Court Adopts Post-Merger Derivative Standing Framework From In re Primedia, Inc. Shareholders Litigation

Posted In Delaware Supreme Court, Derivative Standing, M&A

Morris v. Spectra Energy Partners (DE) GP, LP, No. 489, 2019 (Del. Jan. 22, 2021)

In Delaware corporate law, “the standing inquiry has assumed special significance,” especially in the post-merger context. The Delaware Supreme Court in Morris v. Spectra Energy holds that a plaintiff has post-merger standing if she brings a claim disputing the fairness of a merger and satisfies the three-part framework set forth in In re Primedia, Inc. Shareholders Litigation, 67 A.3d 455 (Del. Ch. 2013), even if the underlying claim seems unlikely to succeed on the merits. More ›

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Chancery Reaffirms Narrowed Application of Gentile

Posted In Chancery, Derivative Standing

In re Terraform Power, Inc. Stockholders Litigation, C.A. No. 2019-0757-SG (Del. Ch. Oct. 30, 2020)
In Terraform Power, the Court of Chancery declined the defendants’ invitation to disregard the rationale of Gentile v. Rossette—the seminal decision on dual-natured direct and derivative stockholder claims under Delaware law. On a motion to dismiss, the Court concluded that the plaintiffs adequately plead a direct claim for relief under Gentile against a controlling stockholder for executing a private placement that increased the controller’s voting power for an allegedly inadequate price and correspondingly decreased the minority ownership stake and voting power. In doing so, the Court reaffirmed the Gentile’s continued, albeit narrow, application, unless and until the Delaware Supreme Court holds otherwise.  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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Chancery Dismisses Challenge to Top Executives’ Stock Awards in Disney-Fox Merger, Finds Plaintiff Lacks Standing to Pursue Derivative Claim

Posted In Chancery, Derivative Standing, M&A

Brokerage Jamie Goldenberg Komen Rev TRU U/A 06/10/08 Jamie L Komen Trustee for the Benefit of Jamie Goldenberg Komen v. Breyer, C.A. No. 2018-0773-AGB (Del. Ch. June 26, 2020)

Following a merger that alters a stockholder’s ownership status, the stockholder may be able to challenge the entirety of the merger as a direct claim, but the stockholder will typically lack standing to challenge the individual aspects of the merger as derivative claims. The instant case, involving the Disney-Fox merger, shows the difficulties a stockholder faces in attempting to mount such a challenge. More ›

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Chancery Sustains Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claim Against Long-Time Friend and Financial Advisor, and Addresses Double-Derivative Standing for Alternative Entities

Posted In Derivative Standing, Fiduciary Duty

Bamford v. Penfold, L.P., C.A. No. 2019-0005-JTL (Del. Ch. Feb. 28, 2019).

After realizing that a 2016 reorganization stripped them of their voting and other governance rights in a highly profitable limited liability company, the plaintiffs brought direct and derivative claims against their former business partner and the entities he controlled. The defendant and his entities moved to dismiss, which the Court largely denied. Of particular note were the Court’s rulings about one of the breach of fiduciary duty claims and the plaintiffs’ standing to bring double-derivative claims challenging pre-organization conduct.     More ›

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