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Court Of Chancery Explains When Directors Lack Independence To Consider Pre-Suit Demand

In Re Oracle Corporation Derivative Litigation, C.A. No. 2017-037-SG (Del. Ch. Mar. 19, 2018)

Delaware law requires a derivative plaintiff to make a pre-suit demand on the board unless excused as futile.  Because some level of social and business ties are common among the director-class and because such ties to an interested party is one potential path to successfully alleging a director lacks independence to impartially consider a pre-suit demand, such relationships are an oft litigated topic in the demand context.  Frequently, such connections even when considered collectively are found not to rise to a level negating a director’s ability to consider a demand.  But, as this decision explains, sometimes they are.  While each director-by-director assessment is a highly-factual question, this case is a worthwhile read to understand the type and magnitude of relationships that might call into doubt one’s independence.

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