10th Circuit Highlights Difference Between Delaware And Nevada Exculpatory Statutes

Because the power to manage a corporation’s affairs rests with the board of directors, it is normally up to the board to decide whether the corporation will pursue a claim.  A shareholder who believes that the corporation should sue must therefore make a demand on the board.  If the board decides against suing, then the

Court Finds Plaintiffs Are Not Privies

Yesterday’s post noted that the plaintiff in a derivative suit is bringing claims on behalf of the corporation.  Thus, when a derivative suit is dismissed, does that dismissal have any effect on other pending or subsequently filed derivative suits?  This is a topic that I first discussed a few years back in Delaware Court of Chancery “Overrules” Federal Court.  That post was critical of

Compromising and Settling of Derivative Suits In California

When a shareholder sues derivatively, the shareholder is seeking relief not for itself, but for the corporation.  Therefore, it should be expected that the shareholder is not free to compromise or dismiss the suit absent court oversight.  For example, Rule 23.1 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides: A derivative action may be settled, voluntarily

Court of Appeal Says Same Counsel Can’t Represent Corporation And Individual Defendants in Derivative Suit

Derivative suits put the corporation in the odd position of simultaneously occupying the position of a defendant and plaintiff.  When the suit is initiated, the corporation is named as a nominal defendant.  If, however, the suit is allowed to proceed, then the corporation is the “real” plaintiff.   What does this mean for attorneys who seek

Why Is California’s Derivative Suit Statute Stuck In 1977?

California Corporations Code Section 800 governs derivative suits brought by both domestic and foreign corporations.  The statute provides a modicum of protection to defendants by establishing a procedure by which either the corporation or an individual defendant may move the court to require the plaintiff, as a condition to maintaining the action, to supply a

The Most Important Principles of Delaware Corporate Law Can’t Be Found In the DGCL

I have often observed that you can read every section of the Delaware General Corporation Law and learn almost nothing about Delaware corporate law.  Here are three of the most fundamental principles of Delaware corporate law that you won’t find in the DGCL: The business judgment rule.  This venerable presumption is derived from, but not stated

Failure To Follow Up Demand Dooms Derivative Suit

Shareholders wanting to pursue a derivative suit all come to the same fork in the road.  One fork is to make a demand.  The other is to file a lawsuit and allege that demand would have been futile.  Most plaintiffs choose the latter because the act of making the demand terminates their ability to pursue

Professor Bainbridge Takes On S.B. 75 And The Delaware Bar

UCLA Law Professor Stephen Bainbridge recently posted an article calling Delaware’s recently enacted S.B. 75 a “self-inflicted wound”.   SB 75, which was signed into law late last month, limits the ability of Delaware stock corporations to adopt so-called “fee shifting” bylaw provisions. What I find particularly interesting is Professor Bainbridge’s thesis that the Delaware legislature

No Pay Bylaws Fall Short Of Ending Forced Subsidization

In this post published yesterday on The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, Delaware lawyer A. Thompson Bayliss and Mark Mixon write that no pay provisions “could transform stockholder litigation without the effects that make ‘loser pays’ provisions unpalatable to many”.  According to the authors, a no pay provision requires that each side pay

Doing The Math On Delaware Derivative Settlements

Last Friday, Delaware lawyer Francis G.X. Pileggi wrote about Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster’s recent decision to award more than $72 million in attorneys fees in costs in connection with the settlement of a derivative action challenging the divestiture Vivendi S.A.’s controlling equity position in Activision Blizzard, Inc.  In Re Activision Blizzard, Inc. Stockholder Litigation, Cons. C.A. No.