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CALIFORNIA CORPORATE & SECURITIES LAW

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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Does Work Product Belong To The Lawyer Or The Law Firm?

California has codified the attorney work product doctrine in Section 2018.030 of the California Code of Civil Procedure.  That statute establishes two categories of protected work product.   Under subdivision (a), a “writing that reflects an attorney’s impressions, conclusions, opinions, or legal research or theories is not discoverable under any circumstances”.  Under subdivision (b), other work product of an…

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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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Pay-To-Play Meets The California Labor Code

In 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted a rule (17 CFR § 206-4(5)) prohibiting an investment adviser from providing advisory services for compensation to a government client for two years after the adviser or certain of its executives or employees make a contribution to certain elected officials or candidates.  The rule applies to any investment adviser…

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Three Considerations For Drafting A Code of Business Conduct

Although the Securities and Exchange Commission does not require that a company adopt a code of business conduct and ethics, I would be very surprised to hear of an SEC reporting company that has not adopted such a code.  Item 406 of Regulation S-K requires a reporting company to disclose whether it has “adopted a code of ethics…

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New Law Attempts To Clarify Legal Status Of LLC Employee Membership Purchase And Option Plans

California Labor Code Section 407 may be a bit of a surprise to many lawyers both in and outside of the state.  It provides: Investments and the sale of stock or an interest in a business in connection with the securing of a position are illegal as against the public policy of the State and…

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The SEC’s Unconvincing Case Against Indemnification

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s proposed rules take a hard line against issuers indemnifying executives against clawbacks: We believe that indemnification arrangements may not be used to avoid or nullify the recovery required by Section 10(D).  Section 10D’s listing standard requirement that “the issuer will recover” is inconsistent with indemnification because a listed issuer does not…

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What The SEC Pretermitted In Proposing A Clawback Policy Rule

The Securities and Exchange Commission began the month by issuing proposed rules that would direct national securities exchanges and associations to establish listing standards requiring companies to adopt policies that require executive officers to pay back incentive-based compensation that was awarded erroneously.  Five years ago, Congress ordered the SEC to adopt these rules in Section 954 of the…

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Does Former Officer Have An Obligation To Turn Over Whistleblower Award?

Yesterday, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced “a whistleblower award payout between $475,000 and $575,000 to a former company officer who reported original, high-quality information about a securities fraud that resulted in an SEC enforcement action with sanctions exceeding $1 million.”  This was the SEC’s first award to a former officer because officers, directors, trustees, or…

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California AG Declares Whistleblower Tally A State Secret

Since 2004, the California Attorney General has been required to maintain a whistleblower hotline to receive calls from persons who have information regarding possible violations of state or federal statutes, rules, or regulations, or violations of fiduciary responsibility by a corporation or limited liability company to its shareholders, investors, or employees.  Cal. Labor Code §…

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