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Court of Chancery Clarifies Statutory Trust Law

Posted In Fiduciary Duty

Cargill, Incorporated v. JWH Special Circumstance LLC, C.A. 3234-VCP (Del. Ch. Nov. 7, 2008)


In this major opinion, the Court of Chancery held that a manager of a Delaware Statutory Trust has a fiduciary duty to the Trust absent a clear exclusion of that duty in the trust instrument. This conclusion has broad implications including that the owners of the manager may also have such duties in connection with transactions that arguably benefit the owner. That is consistent with a long line of Delaware case law in other contexts, such as for corporations and limited partnerships.


This once again illustrates the need for very careful drafting in these alternative entities where the governing instrument may set the rules of the game. Failure to do so means that principles of corporate law, or in this case, trust law, will control by default. That will defeat the whole purpose of using an alternative to the traditional corporate form to gain the right to draft rules for that particular transaction.




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