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CALIFORNIA CORPORATE & SECURITIES LAW

Delaware Special Litigation Committee Review “Could Stand A Good Tweaking”

UCLA Law School Professor Stephen Bainbridge recently critiqued the Nevada Supreme Court’s decision to follow Auerbach v. Bennett, 419 N.Y.S.2d 920 (1979) rather than Delaware’s Zapata Corp. v. Maldonado, 430 A.2d 779 (Del. 1981).  He concludes: To be sure, Delaware law in this area could stand a good tweaking. The Aronson/Zapata framework continues to rely unduly on…

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Nevada Favors New York Over Delaware Precedent For SLC Review

Nevada law endows a board of directors “full control over the affairs of the corporation”.  NRS 78.120(1).  This control is subject only to such limitations as may be provided by NRS chapter 7, or the articles of incorporation of the corporation.  Id.  This means the board controls decisions about whether the corporation should bring suit.  The ability…

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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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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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How To Confer A $6.9 Million Benefit For Less Than A Half Dollar

In March 2011, the three-member compensation committee of EchoStar Corporation awarded options to purchase 1.5 million shares of company stock to its Chairman, Charles W. Ergen.  According to EchoStar’s proxy statement for its 2012 annual meeting, the aggregate grant date fair value of the award was $21.6 million.  There was just one problem, the plan…

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Want To File A Derivative Suit? You May Soon Be Required To Read Statutes

I have been writing recently about SB 203, a bill that is now pending in the Nevada legislature.  As introduced, the bill would, among other things, require the following: In an action involving or relating to a domestic corporation that is subject to the provisions of NRS 41.520 or alleges a breach of a fiduciary duty by a director…

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U.S. District Court Finds Personal Jurisdiction In Derivative Suit

I think it is beyond peradventure that a state enjoys personal jurisdiction over corporations incorporated within that state.  What about the personal jurisdiction over the corporation’s directors and officers?  That was the question addressed by U.S. District Judge Jennifer A. Dorsey in Sonoro Invest, S.A. v. Miller, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9657 (D. Nev. Jan. 24,…

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How Does One Know When A Corporation Is Antagonistic?

When a shareholder files a derivative suit in state court, the defendants often will try to have the case removed to the federal district court. Federal courts, however, are courts of limited jurisdiction and not every plaintiff can make a “federal case” out of their complaint.  When federal court jurisdiction is based on diversity (28 U.S.C.…

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Court Addresses “Fair Value” Determination In Statutory Buyout Proceeding

When when a shareholder sues for involuntary dissolution, the corporation, or the holders of 50% or more of the voting power of the corporation, may avoid the dissolution by purchasing for cash the plaintiff’s shares at their “fair value.”  Cal. Corp. Code § 2000.  The statute establishes several parameters for determining “fair value”.  Thus, “fair value” must…

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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…

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