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SLC Formed After Demand Excused is Not "Too Late"

In re infoUSA, Inc. Shareholders Litigation, Consol. C.A. No. 1956-CC (March 17, 2008).

A special litigation committee was formed by the board of infoUSA, Inc. at the end of December, after a motion to dismiss derivative litigation had been denied and after a finding had been made by the Court of Chancery that demand was excused.   The SLC moved to stay the ongoing derivative litigation in January, seeking a period of 150 days in which it could investigate the substance of the claims in the action.  The plaintiffs opposed such a stay, asserting that the SLC was formed "too late" and should not be allowed to derail the ongoing litigation.

The Court of Chancery rejected this position:  "The fact that I have already determined that demand is excused demonstrates why the board must act by means of a special committee; it does not in any way explain why it cannot act through an SLC."  Consequently, the requested stay was granted.  The Court also rejected as premature any challenge to the independence of the SLC, finding it serves the purposes of judicial economy to do so after the SLC issues its report.  The letter opinion can be viewed here.

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