Morris James Partner Jason C. Jowers recently authored an article published in the article in the American Bar Association publication Business Law Today entitled "Delaware Insider: Delaware Supreme Court Precludes Fraudulent Inducement of LLC Agreement and Employment Agreement as Defense in Advancement Proceeding."
Recognizing that Delaware LLCs should have the ability to encourage capable individuals to serve in management positions, the LLC Act provides that “a limited liability company may, and shall have the power to, indemnify and hold harmless any member or manager or other person from and against any and all claims and demands whatsoever.” 6 Del. C. § 18-108 (emphases added). The Court of Chancery has repeatedly interpreted this language as granting LLC agreement drafters complete discretion on the issues of whether to grant members or managers indemnification or advancement. This freedom of contract on the issue of advancement raises the question: are typical contractual defenses, such as fraudulent inducement, available in a summary proceeding seeking to enforce a party’s advancement rights? In the recent decision of Trascent Management Consulting, LLC v. Bouri, __A.3d __, 2016 WL 6947014 (Del. Nov. 28, 2016), the Delaware Supreme Court found that a defendant may not avoid advancing fees by arguing that the underlying LLC agreement was fraudulently induced.