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CALIFORNIA CORPORATE & SECURITIES LAW

Can Usury Ever Be Waived?

California courts have defined “usury” as “the exacting, taking or receiving of a greater rate than is allowed by law, for the use or loan of money.” Ross v. Wheeler 140 Cal. App. 217, 222 (1934).  The California Constitution sets the maximum rate of interest for the loan or forbearance of money not primarily for personal, family…

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Enforceability Of Exclusive Forum Bylaw May Hinge On The Meaning Of “May”

No California appellate court has yet addressed the validity of forum selection bylaws in a published decision.  When the question comes before a California appellate court, the outcome may turn on the meaning of “may” in California Corporations Code Section 2116.  The statute in its entirety provides: The directors of a foreign corporation transacting intrastate…

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How Much Is A Whistleblower Waiver Really Worth?

The Securities and Exchange Commission is aggressively interpreting and enforcing its rule against impeding whistleblowers.  Rule 21F-17(a) provides: No person may take any action to impede an individual from communicating directly with the Commission staff about a possible securities law violation, including enforcing, or threatening to enforce, a confidentiality agreement (other than agreements dealing with…

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A Whistleblower Isn’t Impeded By The Want Of A Reward

Quite some time ago, I fabulated that airline delays might constitute a violation of Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 21F-17.  That rule provides that no person “may take any action to impede an individual from communicating directly with the Commission staff about a possible securities law violation”.  My theory, albeit fanciful, was that a delayed…

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Drafting Bylaws – Four Things To Consider

Four points to consider when drafting these often crucially important, but tiresome, documents: Distinguish among Shall/Will/Must. I often cite Bylaws as an example of how “shall” may sometimes mean “must” while other times may mean “may”.  See When Shall/Will/Must/May We Meet Again? Remember the Articles!  Occasionally, I come across bylaw provisions that are inconsistent with the articles of incorporation. …

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Are Consultant’s Employees Functionally Equivalent To Client’s Employees?

As a general matter, the attorney-client privilege is waived by disclosing a communication to a third party.  When a corporation hires an investment banker, the corporation’s attorneys will frequently communicate with employees of the investment banker.  Are those communications protected by the attorney-client privilege or do those communications waive the privilege?  U.S. Magistrate Judge George…

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No Directors, No Officers, No Employees And No Agents – Now What?

Occasionally, a corporation may find itself with no directors and no management.  Yet, the corporation does not cease to exist. One might wonder what use can there be in a corporation deprived of head and limb.  In Melendrez v. Superior Court, 2013 Cal. App. LEXIS 343 (April 30, 2013), the corporation was maintained as a…

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Law Firm Uses Attorney-Client Privilege As Shield In Derivative Suit

Nancy Wojtas at Cooley LLP recently brought an interesting ruling to my attention that involves the interplay between derivative litigation and the attorney-client privilege, IP Telesis Inc. v. Velocity Networks Inc., C.D. Cal. Case No.CV 11-09950 RGK (AJWx) (Nov. 5, 2012).  The case involved a derivative suit against a law firm.   The plaintiff charged the law firm with aiding,…

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