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CALIFORNIA CORPORATE & SECURITIES LAW

Can It Be That California, “The Biggest Loser” Is Also Number One?

In February, I published a post entitled Is California “The Biggest Loser”.  My reference was to Professor Lynn LoPucki’s finding that “California, home to 1,210 [public] companies but state of incorporation for only 112, is the biggest loser”.  However, California is not last in all things.  SEC economists Drs. Vladimir I. Ivanov and Anzhela Knyazeva recently issued a…

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Exactly What Part Of “To The Commission” Is Ambiguous?

The Dodd-Frank Act gave us many things, including Section 21F of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  Section 21F, prohibits employers from retaliating against a “whistleblower”.  15 U.S.C. § 78u-6(h)(1)(A).  We need not guess about the definition of “whistleblower” because Congress conveniently provided the following definition: . . . any individual who provides, or 2 or more…

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Does Whistleblower Protection Extend To Disclosures To Your Mom Or The Press?

California and federal law establish ample protections for whistleblowers.  These protections can be found in numerous laws, including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Dodd-Frank Act, and Section 1102.5 of the California Labor Code.  Whistleblowing typically involves the disclosure of someone else’s confidential information and that disclosure may constitute the breach of a confidentiality agreement.  Thus, a…

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Professor Bainbridge On My “Beef” With Gantler v. Stephens

Professor Stephen Bainbridge yesterday provided a well considered assessment of my “beef” with the Delaware Supreme Court’s holding in Gantler v. Stephens, 965 A.2d 695, 709 (Del. 2009) that “the fiduciary duties of officers are the same as those of directors”.  To the extent that Professor Bainbridge is saying that officers are not agents “pure and simple”. …

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Finance Lenders Annual Report Deadline Is Nigh

Lenders and brokers licensed under the California Finance Lenders Law must file an annual report by the Ides of March (i.e., March 15) of each year.  Cal. Fin. Code § 22159.  This is a hard deadline and the Department of Business Oversight does not grant extensions.  The consequences of failure to the file the report can…

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Why An Understanding Of Officers As Agents May Be Important

In several recent posts, I have noted that officers, unlike directors, are agents of the corporation.  Recognizing the agency status of officers can affect the legal analysis in a number of significant ways, including: Choice of law.  California Corporations Code Section 2116 explicitly provides that the law of the jurisdiction of incorporation applies to the…

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Can The Board Remove A Director?

Can a board of directors remove one of its own?  In the case of a California corporation, the answer is no.  The power to remove directors is vested in the shareholders and the superior court pursuant to Corporations Code Section 303 and 304.  While technically not a removal, one option may be available to a…

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What The Delaware Supreme Court Overlooked In Gantler v. Stephens

I have never been reconciled to the Delaware Supreme Court’s pronouncement in Gantler v. Stephens, 965 A.2d 695, 709 (Del. 2009) that “the fiduciary duties of officers are the same as those of directors”.  Officers are, as I’ve previously noted, agents of the corporation while directors are not.  This means that an officer’s duties are…

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Should Corporate Law Preserve The Honor Of Salmon Or Fairness To Meinhard?

Should corporate law be concerned with the sinner or the sinned against?  In the venerable case of Meinhard v. Salmon, 249 N.Y. 458, 464 (1928), Benjamin Cardozo penned these now famous lines: A trustee is held to something stricter than the morals of the market place.  Not honesty alone, but the punctilio of an honor the…

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Why Some Delaware Corporations May Be Concerned With California’s Supermajority Vote Requirements

Section 710(b) of the California Corporations Code defines a “supermajority vote” as a requirement set forth in a corporation’s articles of incorporation (or certificate of determination) that specified actions be approved by a larger proportion of the outstanding shares than a majority, or by a larger proportion of the outstanding shares of a class or series than…

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