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Showing 35 posts in LLCs.

Chancery Finds Amendment to LLC Agreement Invalid for Want of Manager’s Involvement

Posted In Chancery, LLCs


DiDonato v. Campus Eye Management, LLC, C.A. No. 2023-0671-LWW (Del. Ch. Jan. 31, 2024)
In governance disputes among LLC constituencies, the operating agreement is the beginning and often end point. This action involved a challenged amendment to an LLC agreement, which provided in relevant part: “[t]he Agreement may be amended, modified, waived or supplemented by the Manager with the written consent of all Members.” The Court found this language was unambiguous and expressly required the manager to be involved in any amendment. In doing so, the Court declined to read the provision – which was the only one in the contract addressing amendments – as permissive and allowing other forms of amendment. Considering the provision, the Court also declined to invoke Section 18-302(f) of the LLC Act, which allows amendments with approval of all members, finding that section applies only where the LLC agreement lacks a mechanism for amendments.

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Chancery Decides Scope of Expert’s Authority in Valuation Dispute Resolution Mechanism


Paul v. Rockpoint Group LLC, C.A. 2018-0907-JTL (Del. Ch. Jan. 9, 2024)
This dispute arose from a disagreement over the authority of an appraiser to include legal assertions and extrinsic evidence in his valuation. The underlying dispute stemmed from the departure of a co-founder from a limited liability company. The parties' LLC Agreement established a dispute resolution mechanism to determine the value of the co-founder's share if a subsequent qualifying transaction occurred. More ›

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Chancery Holds that LLC Agreement Did Not Confer Jurisdiction Over Contract and Tort Claims


Ramco Asset Mgmt. LLC v. USA Rare Earth, LLC, C.A. No. 2022-0665-SG (Del. Ch. Oct. 20, 2023)
Plaintiffs brought claims alleging improper dilution of their equity interests when transferring their holdings in an Australian rare-earth mining company to a Delaware limited liability company. Their claims included breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, breach of contract, and conspiracy. All five defendants moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim and on forum non conveniens grounds, and four of the five moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. More ›

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Supreme Court Upholds Contractual Voidness Provision in LLC Agreement

Posted In Delaware Supreme Court, LLCs


Holifield v. XRI Investment Holdings, LLC, No. 407, 2022 (Del. Sept. 7, 2023)
This decision concerned the disputed transfer of a member's LLC units. Below, the Court of Chancery held that the disputed transfer was invalid because it violated the LLC agreement's terms governing transfers. The trial court also held that, under CompoSecure II, the transfer was incurably void, and thus beyond affirmative defenses like acquiescence, because the LLC agreement's “void" language provided for that outcome. However, in dicta, the trial court invited the Supreme Court to revisit its ruling in CompoSecure II, which upheld contractual voidness provisions in the alternative entity context. On appeal, the Supreme Court declined the invitation and ruled that CompoSecure II was correctly decided citing, inter alia, contractual freedom in the LLC context and the doctrine of stare decisis

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Chancery Upholds Written Consent Based on Signer’s Sophistication and Opportunity to Inspect

Posted In Chancery, LLCs


REM OA Holdings LLC v. Northern Gold Holdings LLC, C.A. No. 2022-0582-LWW (Del. Ch. Sep. 20, 2023)
Delaware is a contractarian state and the presumption is that parties are bound by their agreements. That presumption applies with even greater force when the parties are sophisticated and engage in arms-length negotiations. In this case, the defendant, a 50% member of an LLC, challenged a $10 million financing agreement entered into by the LLC’s other 50% member. That arrangement allowed the lender to purchase an interest in the company. In challenging the agreement, the defendant member argued that the plaintiff did not provide him with the term sheet for the transaction. In this decision, the Court of Chancery upheld the transaction, reasoning that, while the defendant member did not receive the term sheet, the consent for the loan that he signed repeatedly referenced the term sheet, the defendant was a sophisticated party with counsel, and he had the opportunity to inspect the consent and inquire about the term sheet as a matter of basic diligence. The Court also rejected numerous other defenses to enforceability.

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Chancery Upholds Claims Against LLC Officers and Others Arising from Squeeze-Out of Minority Unitholders


Cygnus Opportunity Fund, LLC v. Washington Prime Group, LLC, C.A. No. 2022-0718-JTL (Del. Ch. Aug. 9, 2023)
An Indiana corporation reorganized via bankruptcy into a Delaware LLC, and a senior note holder negotiated for nearly 90 percent of the equity. The LLC agreement required that at least one member of the five-member board of managers be independent. It prohibited the controller from acquiring additional shares or squeezing out the minority without approval of the majority of independent managers or a majority of votes cast by minority unitholders. It also required the controller to provide notice of a proposed squeeze-out so that minority unitholders would have the option to challenge the fairness of the transaction unless it had received approval from a majority of the minority or a minority-approved independent manager. More ›

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Chancery Finds Member Breached LLC Agreement in Unilaterally Dissolving the Company

Posted In Chancery, Dissolution, LLCs


VH5 Capital, LLC v. Jeremiah Rabe, C.A. No. 2020-0315-NAC (Del. Ch. June 30, 2023)
The at-issue LLC had two members – the defendant and the plaintiff, both of whom also constituted the company's board. The company never observed any corporate formalities, including never holding any meetings or appointing a third board member, as required by the company's LLC Agreement. After operating for mere months and never earning a profit or accumulating assets, the defendant unilaterally dissolved the company. More ›

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Chancery Orders an LLC to Provide Manager with Books and Records Comprising Informal Board Materials Related to Other Managers’ Actions


Bruckel v. TAUC Holdings, LLC, C.A. 2021-0579-MTZ (Del. Ch. Jan. 6, 2023)
Delaware law provides managers of an LLC with a right to inspect the company’s books and records for a purpose reasonably related to their management positions. In this Order, the Court emphasized that all managers of an LLC have equal access to the company's information. More ›

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Chancery Concludes Section 18-110 of the LLC Act Does Not Permit Standalone Books and Records Claims When Company Management Is Undisputed

Posted In Books and Records, Chancery, LLCs


Cardinale v. Feingold, 2023 WL 142510 (Del. Ch. Jan. 10, 2023)
In a dispute about the manager of a limited liability company, Section 18-110 of the LLC Act grants the Court of Chancery the statutory authority to order the production of books and records “relating to the issue.” Here, the plaintiff sought a declaration that he was the sole manager of six companies and also an order directing the defendants to turn over the companies’ books and records. The defendants, who had recently resigned as managers, confirmed that the plaintiff was the companies’ sole manager and asked the Court to dismiss the remainder of the action for lack of jurisdiction. The Court agreed. Because the identity of the companies’ manager was undisputed, the Court concluded it no longer had jurisdiction under Section 18-110 to order the production of books and records.

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Chancery Orders Stay of “Dr. J” Litigation Pending Arbitrator’s Decision on Arbitrability

Posted In Arbitration, Chancery, LLCs


Erving v. ABG Intermediate Holdings 2, LLC, C.A. No. 2021-0816-NAC (Del. Ch. Nov. 28, 2022)
Basketball legend Julius W. Erving II, also known as “Dr. J”, sold a majority interest in his trademark and other intellectual property to a brand development and marketing company. The transaction involved the creation of an LLC—in which Dr. J held a minority interest and the marketing company held a majority interest and promised to grow Dr. J’s brand. The LLC operating agreement contained a dispute resolution provision that included an exclusive arbitration clause. Several years later, Dr. J filed claims in the Court of Chancery, alleging that the defendants had wrongfully diverted funds and failed to devote reasonable efforts to grow Dr. J’s brand. Defendants moved to dismiss the action in favor of arbitration or, in the alternative, to stay the case pending an arbitrator’s decision regarding whether the dispute must be arbitrated. More ›

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Chancery Trims Contract Claims in Post-Merger Dispute


In Re P3 Health Group Holdings, LLC, Consol. C.A. 2021-0518-JTL (Del. Ch. Oct. 31, 2022)
Plaintiff Hudson Vegas Investment SPV, LLC asserted various claims after its minority interest in Defendant P3 Health Group Holdings, LLC was wiped out in a business combination between P3 and a SPAC. The Court of Chancery has issued several decisions in the case; this one dealt with Hudson’s various claims for breach of P3’s LLC agreement. More ›

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Chancery Denies Member Status to Individual Not Admitted By Members in Accordance With LLC Agreement

Posted In Chancery, LLCs


Riverside Risk Advisors LLC v. Chao, C.A. No. 2019-0789-KSJM (Del. Ch. Oct. 26, 2022)
The LLC Act generally provides that someone is admitted as an LLC member as provided in the LLC agreement. Here, the plaintiff sued seeking declaratory relief that the defendant, a former employee, was not a member of the LLC and that a 2015 agreement was the LLC’s governing document, rather than an earlier agreement. The Court of Chancery ruled in the plaintiff’s favor, finding that the defendant was not a member because, under the LLC agreement, written consent of all members was required for admission, and the defendant needed to agree to be bound by the agreement in writing. But neither of these steps occurred. The Court also held that the 2015 agreement was the current operative agreement for the LLC despite not being approved by the defendant, because, as required by the previous LLC agreement, it was approved by all members, which the defendant was not.

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Chancery Applies Implied Consent to Service Provision of Delaware LLC Act to Individual Without Any Formal Role at the LLC


In Re P3 Health Grp. Hldgs., LLC, Consol. C.A. No. 2021-0518-JTL (Del. Ch. Oct. 26, 2022)
The implied consent provision of Section 18-109 of Delaware’s LLC Act provides that “managers” of Delaware LLCs consent to the service of process in Delaware. The statute defines “managers” as both (1) those formally designated as managers, and (2) those who “participate [] materially” in management. Disputes over whether an individual not falling in the first category falls in the second often focus on individuals with some formal role at the LLC.  As this decision illustrates, however, an individual without any formal role at the LLC, but who otherwise participates materially in the LLC’s management, may also be found to be a manager, and thus have consented to service and jurisdiction in Delaware. Facts relevant to the Court of Chancery’s finding of an adequately alleged acting management, in this case, included the defendant’s direction of the company’s managers, control of the company’s advisors, involvement in legal decisions, and access to information.

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Chancery Applies Implied Consent to Service Provision of Delaware LLC Act to LLC’s General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer


In re P3 Health Group Holdings, LLC, Consol. C.A. No. 2021-0518-JTL (Del. Ch. Sept. 12, 2022)
The plaintiff, a large unit holder in a Delaware LLC, sued several defendants, including the general counsel and chief legal officer of the LLC, for allegedly breaching her fiduciary duties to the LLC and its members for her role in facilitating a challenged de-SPAC merger. The implied consent provision of Section 18-109 of Delaware’s LLC Act provides that “managers” of Delaware LLCs consent to the service of process in Delaware. The statute defines “managers” as both (1) those formally designated as managers, and (2) those who “participate [] materially” in management. Defendant moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction arguing that Section 18-109 did not apply to her in her role as an officer of the LLC because (1) she was not a designated manager, and (2) she was not acting in a managerial capacity. Plaintiff argued that because the defendant voluntarily assumed the role of a senior officer of the LLC and because, as alleged in the complaint, she acted in a significant managerial capacity with respect to the LLC, the implied consent provision did, in fact, apply. The Court of Chancery agreed with the plaintiff and its decision provides a thorough discussion of the acting manager prong of Section 18-109. The Court reasoned that, at the pleading stage, the customary responsibilities of a general counsel and chief legal officer provided a basis for asserting personal jurisdiction. The specific allegations, in this case, supported a reasonable inference that the defendant acted in a significant managerial capacity in connection with the challenged conduct. 

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Implied Covenant of Good Faith Covers Contractual Conditions “Too Obvious” to State Expressly in Indemnification Dispute


Baldwin v. New Wood Resources, LLC, App. No. 303, 2021 (Del. Aug. 16, 2022)
This appeal involved an underlying claim that Baldwin had improperly refused to repay litigation expenses advanced to him under New Wood Resource’s limited liability company agreement. The agreement provided Baldwin with indemnification so long as he acted in good faith, and it also specified a process for determining whether Baldwin had done so. One narrow issue on appeal was whether the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing required the good faith determination itself to be conducted in good faith. Reversing the Superior Court, an en banc panel of the Supreme Court ruled that the implied covenant did apply. The Court relied upon its earlier decision in Dieckman v. Regency GP LP to restate the principle that one function of the implied covenant is to cover those contractual conditions that are "too obvious" to include expressly. That "too obvious" category included the condition that the good faith determination be made in good faith. Because New World Resources conceded this point at argument and did not make a persuasive alternative argument, the Court remanded the case.

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