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Court of Chancery Upholds Corporate Documentation

Tanyous v. Happy Child World, Inc., C.A. 2947-VCN (Del. Ch. July 18, 2008)

This decision holds that when the corporate internal documents say the plaintiff is a stockholder, an alleged oral agreement that he was really just a lender with the stock as security is not to be believed. What is striking about this case is the extraordinary patience the Court gave to what seems to be a pretty far-fetched story that documents do not mean what they say.

The plaintiff contended that he was a stockholder entitled to inspection rights. The defense was that despite all the corporate documentation, including tax returns, that said the plaintiff was a stockholder, there really was a side deal that he was only a lender with a security interest in stock. Not surprisingly, that story did not wash.



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