Showing 9 posts in DGCL.
Delaware Supreme Court Enforces Class Vote Requirement, Reasons There Is No Insolvency Exception to Section 271 Of The Delaware General Corporation Law
Stream TV Networks, Inc. v. SeeCubic, Inc., No. 360, 2021 (Del. June 15, 2022)
Section 271 of the Delaware General Corporation Law provides, among other things, that a majority vote of stockholders is required to sell all or substantially all of a corporation’s assets. As an issue of first impression, the Delaware Supreme Court reasoned that there is no insolvency exception to Section 271’s requirement of a stockholder majority vote. More ›
In re Matter of Global Safety Labs, Inc., C.A. No. 2022-0309-JTL (Del. Ch. May 12, 2022)
This case concerned the dissolution procedures of the DGCL, specifically Section 280, which with Section 281 establishes an optional, court-supervised wind-up process that provides a safe harbor from post-dissolution liability. In this decision, the Court of Chancery faults the paucity of information the Court regularly sees in such actions, which often proceed ex parte. The Court explained that it requires more information to grant relief, including “about the entity, its history, the path that led to the relief being sought, and the parties who could be affected by the relief.” The Court cited first-day declarations in a bankruptcy proceeding as a helpful model.
Samuels v. CCUR Holdings, Inc., C.A. No. 2021-0358-PAF (Del. Ch. May 31, 2022)
Under Section 155 of the DGCL, corporations may elect either to issue stockholders fractional shares or to pay a stockholder the fair value of the fractional interest. The plaintiff-stockholder alleged that the corporation failed to pay him fair value for his fractional interest after a reverse stock split. In allowing a standalone claim under the statute to proceed, the Court reasoned that stockholders generally are permitted to assert direct statutory claims, and previous decisions addressing Section 155 did not foreclose the plaintiff’s statutory cause of action.
Chancery Declines to Grant Equitable Standing When Other Stockholders Had Standing to Enforce Corporate Rights
SDF Funding LLC v. Fry, C.A. No. 2017-0732-KSJM (Del. Ch. May 13, 2022)
Under Section 327 of the DGCL, a stockholder must hold stock at the time of the alleged wrong to have standing to pursue a derivative claim. Under the equitable standing doctrine, however, standing may be recognized in equity to prevent a “complete failure of justice.” Here, the plaintiffs acquired the stock after some of the alleged wrongs in their complaint took place but argued that the equitable standing doctrine allowed one of them to raise these claims. The Court of Chancery observed that the doctrine has applied when alternative avenues of remedying the harm were foreclosed. Importantly, however, the Delaware courts generally have declined to invoke it when other avenues theoretically exist, such as the existence of other potential plaintiffs with standing to pursue the claims at issue. Applying that reasoning here, the Court ruled that it would not grant equitable standing because other non-party stockholders would have standing to pursue these claims.
Chancery Finds it Lacks Discretion to Decline Jurisdiction Over a Case Where Jurisdiction Exists Under Section 111 of the DGCL
S’holders Rep. Serv. LLC v. DC Capital Partners Fund II, L.P., C.A. No. 2021-0465-KSJM (Del. Ch. Feb. 14, 2022)
While the Court of Chancery has exclusive subject matter jurisdiction over claims and remedies sounding in equity, Section 111 of the DGCL grants the Court concurrent, non-exclusive jurisdiction in cases involving the interpretation of certain corporate instruments—regardless of whether those claims or the relief sought are equitable in nature. In DC Capital Partners, the plaintiff elected to bring legal (rather than equitable) claims involving the interpretation of stock purchase agreements in the Court of Chancery pursuant to Section 111’s concurrent subject matter jurisdiction. The defendants argued that because the claims did not otherwise fall within the Court’s subject matter jurisdiction, and because Section 111 provides for concurrent rather than exclusive jurisdiction, the Court had the discretion to decline to hear the case. Specifically, the defendants noted that Section 111 provides that certain claims “may” be brought in the Court of Chancery and argued that this permissive language provided the Court with the discretion not to hear such claims. The Court rejected the defendants’ contention, finding that the discretion to bring a claim in the Court of Chancery pursuant to Section 111 belongs to the plaintiff, not the Court. Therefore, the Court held that once a plaintiff elects to bring a claim in Chancery authorized under Section 111, the Court lacks the discretion to decline to hear the case based on subject matter jurisdiction.
Chancery Sustains Claims for Controlling Stockholders’ Breach of Fiduciary Duties, But Dismisses Claim to Void Transaction under DGCL Section 205
Amgine Techs. (US), Inc. v. Miller, C.A. No. 2020-0537-JRS (Del. Ch. Nov. 29, 2021)
This case involves the Court of Chancery’s consideration of various Rule 12 arguments for dismissal advanced by defendants – alleged controlling stockholders who assigned certain of the corporation’s intellectual property to another entity they owned, and who allegedly caused the corporation to enter into a stockholders’ agreement that gave them preferential terms. More ›
Chancery Dismisses Derivative Action Based On Alleged Liability Under DGCL § 174 For Stock Repurchases and Dividends
In re The Chemours Co. Deriv. Litig., C.A. 2020-0786-SG (Del. Ch. Nov. 1, 2021)
Broadly speaking, Sections 160 and 173 of the DGCL prohibit a corporation from repurchasing stock or issuing dividends if doing so would exceed the corporation’s surplus. Both Sections 160 and 173 are enforceable under Section 174, which provides that directors “under whose administration” a “willful or negligent” violation of Section 160 or 173 occurs are “jointly and severally liable” to the corporation. Here, the Court of Chancery rejected a challenge to dividend and stock repurchases premised upon directors’ alleged incorrect assessment of potential environmental liabilities. More ›
Chancery Declines to Apply Stockholder Approval Requirement of DGCL § 271 to Agreement to Transfer All Assets in Lieu of Foreclosure
In this decision, the Delaware Court of Chancery reviews the history of requirements to approve transfers of all assets both at common law and under the Delaware General Corporation Law, and concludes that Delaware law does not require majority stockholder approval for an insolvent corporation’s transfer of assets to a secured creditor in lieu of a foreclosure. The Court thus rejected an attempt by the corporation’s founders, who owned a majority of its stock, to invalidate the corporation’s agreement in that regard. More ›Share
Delaware Supreme Court Affirms Decision Declining to Order Stockholder Meeting Under Section 211 of the DGCL
Spanakos v. Pate, C.A. No. 532, 2019 (Del. July 31, 2020)
The Court of Chancery may summarily order a stockholder meeting to be held to elect directors of a Delaware corporation, if one has not been held for more than thirteen months. 8 Del. C. § 211. The rule’s purpose is to ameliorate situations in which a Delaware corporation’s normal democratic functions are impaired, for example, if “by reason of death or resignation or other cause, a corporation should have no directors in office ….” 8 Del. C. § 223. The stockholder meeting to elect directors is a cornerstone of Delaware corporate law, and “stockholders’ entitlement to such a meeting is paramount.” Newcastle P’rs, L.P. v. Vesta Ins. Gp., Inc., 887 A.2d 975, 979 (Del. Ch. 2005). More ›