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CALIFORNIA CORPORATE & SECURITIES LAW

Nevada Legislature Ponders Rejection Of Unocal And Revlon Standards

Thirty years ago, the Delaware Supreme Court issued two seminal opinions concerning how courts ought to review director decisionmaking in merger and acquisition transactions.  In the first case, Unocal Corporation v. Mesa Petroleum Co., 493 A.2d 946 (Del. 1985), the Supreme Court imposed a heightened standard to board responses to hostile takeover attempts.  In the second case, Revlon, Inc. v.…

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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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Officers And The Business Judgment Rule

Last weekend, I attended a symposium at the UCLA School of Law entitled “Can Delaware Be Dethroned? Evaluating Delaware’s Dominance of Corporate Law”.  The event, organized by ever erudite Professor Stephen Bainbridge, featured presentations by leading scholars and practitioners from around the country.  I was therefore surprised when the discussion turned to whether Delaware applies the business…

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Officers: Got Business Judgment Rule? Nevada Says Yes, Delaware Maybe Not

Francis Pileggi writes about a recent ruling by U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson in which she refused to consider whether the business judgment rule applied to officers of a Delaware corporation: Defendants have cited to no cases where a Delaware court has held that the business judgment rule applies to corporate officers; therefore, the court…

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Does The Business Judgment Rule Protect Directors Who Violate Governing Documents?

Under the business judgment rule, a director will not be liable for a mistake in business judgment provided that certain conditions are met.  In the case of a California nonprofit mutual benefit corporation, a director who performs her duties in accordance with Corporations Code Section 7231(a) and (b) has no liability based on any failure…

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Who Decides Whether A Shareholder Has Complied With An Advance Notice Bylaw?

UCLA Professor Stephen Bainbridge asked the following question concerning advance notice bylaw provisions in “The Professor is Stumped: Today’s Corporate Law Question“: When an incumbent board of directors claims that a potential proxy insurgent has failed to comply with an advance notice bylaw, who decides whether the bylaw has been satisfied? The board (subject to…

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The California Political Contribution Case That 19 Law Professors Missed

Earlier this week, I wrote about an amicus curiae brief submitted by 19 law school professors Friedrichs v. Cal. Teachers Ass’n, a case now pending before the United States Supreme Court.  In particular, I questioned whether these academics properly described the holding Finley v. Superior Court, 80 Cal. App. 4th 1152 (2000).  The professors claimed that the case represented a “rare example” of a…

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Did 19 Law Professors Get The Business Judgment Rule Wrong?

In yesterday’s post, I wrote about the amicus curiae brief filed by 19 law school professors in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Ass’n, a case now pending before the United States Supreme Court.  Being a California corporate lawyer, I was interested in the following description of a California Court of Appeal case: A rare example, in which the…

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Nevada’s Business Judgment Rule: FDIC – 4; Management – 0

In recent weeks, the U.S. District Court has issued four separate rulings in cases brought by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) against former bank managers for breach of fiduciary duty.  Here is a brief recap of these decisions: In FDIC v. Delaney, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90147 (July 2, 2014), the FDIC asserted claims against two former directors…

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Nevada’s Duty Of Care Standard Fails To Win Summary Judgment For Director

NRS 78.138(1) imposes two explicit duties on directors in the exercise of their powers: they must act in good faith and with a view to the interests of the corporation.  This contrasts with Delaware case law which speaks of a triad of duties comprised of care, loyalty and good faith, with good faith standing a bit…

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