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CALIFORNIA CORPORATE & SECURITIES LAW

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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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…

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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…

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The Proper Purpose Of Discovery In Derivative Suits

A plaintiff holding less than 2000 shares files a derivative suit against a corporation’s current or former directors and officers.  The trial court finds the complaint to be internally inconsistent and that regulatory filings disproved allegations of false or misleading statements.  More importantly, the trial court finds that the complaint fails to allege particularized facts…

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Vice Chancellor’s Order Sparks A Wortwechsel In The Blogosphere

Two weeks ago, Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster denied a proposed stipulated consolidation and scheduling order.  The proposed order directed that the consolidated cases be captioned “In re Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Shareholders Litigation”.  What could be wrong with that?  The cases, after all were class action lawsuits against Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. I don’t know why the…

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Delaware Court of Chancery “Overrules” Federal Court

I’ve often heard the claim that one reason to incorporate in Delaware is that the courts won’t surprise you.  When I hear this, I recall the surprise, and even outrage, in the aftermath of Smith v. Van Gorkom, 488 A.2d 858 (Del. 1985) .  See, e.g., Fischel, The Business Judgment Rule and the Trans Union Case, 40…

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Court Applies California Demand Requirement To Scottish Company (Again)

Last December, I wrote about U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel’s decision in Johnson v. Myers, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112897 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 30, 2011).  The case involved an attempt by some of the stockholders of a liquidated Scottish corporation to maintain a breach of contract action derivatively.  The contract at issue included a California…

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