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CALIFORNIA CORPORATE & SECURITIES LAW

Something Appears To Be Awry With California’s Insider Trading Statute

I trust that by now most quotidian readers of this blog should be familiar with Corporations Code Section 25402 which declares insider trading to be unlawful.  Although the statute has been on the books since the enactment of the Corporate Securities Law of 1968, it doesn’t make a great deal of sense.  Here’s the unabridged text of the statute: It is…

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Scienter In The News Again

In May, I wrote about Judge Gonzolo P. Curiel’s  decision to grant the defendants’ motion to dismiss federal and state securities law claims in Mueller v. San Diego Entm’t Partners, LLC, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77643 (S.D. Cal. May 22, 2017).  I pointed out that Judge Curiel had ruled that scienter is required under Corporations Code Section 25401 but…

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“Lead Independent Director” Or “Presiding Director”?

Neither California nor Nevada require that a corporation have either a “lead independent director” or “presiding director” and yet many corporations state that they have such a position.  Why? Item 407(h) of Regulation S-K requires that if one person serves as both principal executive officer and chairman of the board, a company must disclose whether it has a “lead…

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Bylaws And Supermajority Board Voting Requirements

Yesterday’s post concerned various provisions that, although not required to be included in the articles of incorporation, must be included if they are to be effective.  One of these provisions relates to supermajority voting requirements: A provision requiring, for any or all corporate actions (except as provided in Section 303 [removal of directors without cause],…

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Putting These Provisions In Bylaws Won’t Be Sufficient

Section 202 of the California Corporations Code lists those provisions that must be included in a California corporation’s articles of incorporation in order for them the be accepted by the Secretary of State for filing.  There are a number of other provisions that although not required to be included in the articles won’t be effective…

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Still More On Suing The CEO For Social Activism

Last week, I devoted several posts to the question of suing the CEO for social activism.  The catalyst for the discussion was an August 17, 2017 Op-Ed piece by Jon L. Pritchett and Ed Tiryakian in The Wall Street Journal.  That piece cited recent CEO resignations from the White House’s Council on Manufacturing and Target’s adoption…

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Shareholder Derivative Suit Or Derivative Action?

I have long puzzled over the question of which is correct – “derivative suit” or “derivative action”?  Historically, the term “suit” was used for proceedings in equity.  California courts have generally regarded shareholder derivative claims as equitable.   Nelson v. Anderson, 72 Cal. App. 4th 111, 127, 84 Cal. Rptr. 2d 753, 763 (1999).  Thus, one might…

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More On Suing The CEO For Social Activism

The last few days, I’ve been writing about the legal issues raised by Jon L. Pritchett and Ed Tiryakian in a recent opinion piece published by The Wall Street Journal.  To sum up the discussion so far, Professor Stephen Bainbridge responded to Messrs. Pritchett and Tiryakian by arguing that the business judgment rule should bar…

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Suing The CEO For Social Activism Is Likely To Be Challenging Under Nevada Law

Yesterday’s post concerned asked the question whether shareholders can sue CEOs for social activism.  The answer is of course, yes.  The more interesting question is whether shareholders will win the suit.  To answer that question, one must first decide on what law applies.  Although many may assume that the law of the state of incorporation should govern,…

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Can Shareholders Sue CEOs For Corporate Social Activism?

In an August 17, 2017 opinion piece published in The Wall Street Journal, Jon L. Pritchett and Ed Tiryakian had the following message for shareholders: Our message to small shareholders of companies like Starbucks, Merck and Target: You can sue when a CEO decides to institute a corporate social-responsibility program that has no benefit to the business.…

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