Justia Delaware Court of Chancery Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Class Action
Burkhart v. Genworth Financial, Inc.
In this class action complaint brought under the Delaware Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (DUFTA) alleging that Genworth Life Insurance Company (GLIC) engaged in both actual and constructive fraudulent transfers the Court of Chancery granted in part and denied in part GLIC's motion to dismiss, holding that Plaintiffs' attempts to reverse some of GLIC's dividends were time barred. Plaintiffs, a class of insureds who held long-term care insurance policies and insurance agents who alleged that they were entitled to commission payments for selling such payments, alleged that on the brink of its failure, GLIC's owners engaged in an intentional plan to syphon off GLIC's assets. In their class action complaint Plaintiffs asked the Court of Chancery to restore to GLIC the value of the assets that were syphoned away from 2012 to 2014. In response, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss. The Court of Chancery granted the motion in part and denied it in part, holding (1) any challenge to the $395 million in dividends GLIC paid from 2012 to 2014 was untimely under 6 Del. C. 1309; and (2) Plaintiffs had standing to bring this lawsuit. View "Burkhart v. Genworth Financial, Inc." on Justia Law
In re Trulia, Inc. Stockholder Litig.
Four stockholders of Trulia, Inc. filed class action complaints alleging that Trulia’s directors had breached their fiduciary duties in approving the Zillow Inc.’s acquisition of Trulia in a stock-for-stock merger at what Plaintiffs alleged was an unfair exchange ratio. The parties eventually reached an agreement-in-principle to settle under which Trulia agreed to supplement materials provided to its stockholders that would include additional information that theoretically would allow the stockholders to be better informed in exercising their franchise rights. The Court of Chancery declined to approve the proposed settlement, holding that the terms of this proposed settlement were not fair or reasonable because the proposed settlement did not afford Trulia’s stockholders any meaningful consideration to warrant providing a release of claims to the defendants. View "In re Trulia, Inc. Stockholder Litig." on Justia Law
In re McMoRan Exploration Co. Stockholder Litig.
Plaintiffs in this case were former shareholders of McMoRan Exploration Company (MMR). Plaintiffs challenged MMR’s acquisition by Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, Inc. The case settled, and the only remaining issue was an award to Plaintiff of their attorneys’ fees and expenses upon the Court of Chancery’s discretion. After a consideration of numerous factors, the most important of which was the benefits achieved by Plaintiffs for the shareholder class, the Court of Chancery concluded that the appropriate award of fees and expenses for the efforts of Plaintiffs’ attorneys was $2.4 million. View "In re McMoRan Exploration Co. Stockholder Litig." on Justia Law
In re Answers Corp. Shareholders Litigation
This action arose out of the merger of Answers with A-Team, a wholly-owned subsidiary of AFCV, which in turn, was a portfolio company of the private equity firm Summit (collectively, with A-Team and AFCV, the Buyout Group). Plaintiffs, owners of Answers' stock, filed a purported class action on behalf of themselves and all other similarly situated public stockholders of Answers. The court concluded that the complaint adequately alleged that all of the members of the Board breached their fiduciary duties. Therefore, the motions to dismiss the First Cause of Action were denied, except as to the disclosure claim that plaintiffs have abandoned. The court also concluded that plaintiffs have adequately pled that the Buyout Group aided and abetted a breach of the Board's fiduciary duty. Therefore, the motions to dismiss the Second Cause of Action were denied. View "In re Answers Corp. Shareholders Litigation" on Justia Law
In re K-Sea Transportation Partners L.P. Unitholders Litigation
This was a class action brought on behalf of the common unit holders of a publicly-traded Delaware limited partnership. In March 2011, the partnership agreed to be acquired by an unaffiliated third party at a premium to its common units' trading price. The merger agreement, which governed the transaction, also provided for a separate payment to the general partner to acquire certain partnership interests it held exclusively. The court concluded that defendants' approval of the merger agreement could not constitute a breach of any contractual or fiduciary duty, regardless of whether the conflict committee's approval was effective. The court also found that the disclosures authorized by defendants were not materially misleading. Therefore, plaintiffs could not succeed on their claims under any reasonable conceivable set of circumstances and defendants' motion to dismiss was granted. View "In re K-Sea Transportation Partners L.P. Unitholders Litigation" on Justia Law
In re Celera Corp. Shareholder Litigation
This putative class action was before the court on an application for the approval of settlement of the class's claims for, among other things, breaches of fiduciary duty in connection with a merger of two publicly traded Delaware corporations. The target's largest stockholder, which acquired the vast majority of its shares after the challenged transaction was announced, objected to the proposed settlement. In addition, defendants' and plaintiffs' counsel disagreed about the appropriate level of attorneys' fees that should be awarded. The court certified the class under Rules 23(a), (b)(1), and (b)(2) with NOERS as class representative; denied BVF's request to certify the class on only an opt out basis; approved the settlement as fair and reasonable; and awarded attorneys' fees to plaintiffs' counsel in the amount of $1,350,000, inclusive of expenses. View "In re Celera Corp. Shareholder Litigation" on Justia Law
Steinhardt, et al. v. Howard-Anderson, et al.
Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit on behalf of a class of stockholders of Occam. Defendants moved for sanctions against all plaintiffs other than Derek Sheeler for trading on the basis of confidential information obtained in this litigation. With respect to Michael Steinhardt and the funds, the motion was granted. Consistent with prior rulings by this court when confronted with representative plaintiffs who have traded while serving in a fiduciary capacity, Steinhardt and the funds were dismissed from the case with prejudice, barred from receiving any recovery from the litigation, required to self-report to the SEC, directed to disclose their improper trading in any future application to serve as lead plaintiff, and ordered to disgorge profits. With respect to Herbert Chen, the motion was denied. View "Steinhardt, et al. v. Howard-Anderson, et al." on Justia Law
Gerber v. Enterprise Products Holdings, LLC, et al.
Plaintiff challenged two transactions in this purported class action brought on behalf of the former public holders of LP units of EPE. On behalf of the first of the two purported classes, plaintiff challenged EPE's sale of Teppco GP to Enterprise Products (the 2009 Sale). On behalf of the second purported class, plaintiff challenged the merger of EPE into a wholly-owned subsidiary of Enterprise Products (the Merger). Defendants moved to dismiss all claims, or in the alternative, to stay this action pending the resolution of a related case. The court held that plaintiff had standing to bring the claims asserted in Counts I, III, and V on behalf of the public holders of EPE LP units who continuously held their units from the date of the 2009 Sale through the effective date of the Merger. However, all six counts were dismissed for failure to state a claim. Accordingly, defendants' motion to dismiss was granted. View "Gerber v. Enterprise Products Holdings, LLC, et al." on Justia Law
In re OPENLANE, Inc. Shareholders Litigation
This action arose out of the proposed open merger of OPENLANE with Riley, wholly-owned subsidiary of ADESA which in turn, was a wholly-owned subsidiary of KAR (KAR and, together with Riley and ADESA, collectively, the "Purchasing Entities" or "KAR"). Plaintiff brought a class action on behalf of himself and all other public shareholders of OPENLANE and sought to enjoin preliminarily the merger. The court held that a balancing of the equities did not tilt toward enjoining the transaction. Accordingly, the motion for a preliminary injunction was denied. View "In re OPENLANE, Inc. Shareholders Litigation" on Justia Law
New Jersey Carpenters Pension Fund v. InfoGroup, Inc., et al.
Plaintiff, a former shareholder of infoGroup, Inc., brought its Second Amended Class Action complaint asserting, on behalf of themselves and their fellow former shareholders, that the merger of infoGroup into a subsidiary of CCMP Capital Advisors, pursuant to an agreement entered on March 8, 2010, was the product of breaches by the then-directors of infoGroup of the fiduciary duty of loyalty. The court held that the claim which plaintiff sought to assert was individual in nature and that plaintiff had alleged sufficiently that the merger was not approved by a disinterested and independent majority of the directors. The court also held that, although plaintiff acknowledged that it was not asserting certain claims the dismissal of which had been sought by defendants, for purposes of avoiding confusion, those claims were dismissed. Accordingly, with that limited exception, the court denied defendants' motions to dismiss. View "New Jersey Carpenters Pension Fund v. InfoGroup, Inc., et al." on Justia Law