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Corporation's Ability to Take Advantage of Corporate Opportunity an Issue of Material Fact

Posted In Fiduciary Duty

Norman v. Elkin, C.A. No. 06-005-JJF (D. Del. Apr. 28, 2009)

The district court denied motions for summary judgment for claims of breach of contract, usurpation of corporate opportunities, breaches of fiduciary duty, breach of the duty of disclosure, conversion and misappropriation, and fraudulent representation.  In their motion, the defendants responded to the plaintiff’s usurpation of corporate opportunity and misappropriation claim by arguing that the claim failed as matter of law, because the defendant corporation did not have the financial capability to participate in an auction for certain licenses. The district court cited the Court of Chancery’s standard for establishing that a corporation is financially unable to take advantage of a corporate opportunity. “[S]uch financial inability must amount to insolvency to the point where the corporation is practically defunct.” The district court agreed with the plaintiff that a reasonable jury could find that the defendant was not practically defunct and could have raised funds necessary to participate in the auction.

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