Justia Delaware Court of Chancery Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Commercial Law
CelestialRX Investments, LLC.v. Krivulka
A 16-count complaint alleged conspiracy to funnel valuable pharmaceutical interests away from an entity in which the Plaintiff, CelestialRX, LLC, is a member. The claims include allegedly improper self-dealing by two members of a three-member LLC. On motions to dismiss and for summary judgment, the Delaware Chancery Court rejected a claim that plaintiffs had contractually released certain claims and analyzed the LLC agreement to conclude that good faith—a subjective standard, applies separately to both the transaction and to the conflicted party’s analysis of whether it is “fair and reasonable,” but must be read consistently with the purpose of specific standards, which is to permit conflicted transactions in certain circumstances. The court urged the parties to mediate the dispute. View "CelestialRX Investments, LLC.v. Krivulka" on Justia Law
The Sequoia Presidential Yacht Group LLC v. FE Partners LLC
This lawsuit involved a loan agreement between Lender and Borrowers. The agreement gave Lender an option to purchase the collateral for the loan - the famous ex-Presidential Yacht Sequoia. A valuation of the Sequoia for purposes of securing the loan was established via fraud on the part of Borrowers. The claims and counterclaims arising out of the loan agreement were eventually resolved by a settlement entered as a court order. The only issue remaining for the Court of Chancery was to oversee the computation of the amount due Borrowers from Lender should Lender elect to acquire the Sequoia. Lender agreed to a minimum option price of zero dollars. The Court of Chancery found the option price to be zero dollars. View "The Sequoia Presidential Yacht Group LLC v. FE Partners LLC" on Justia Law
Edgewater Growth Capital Partners LP v. H.I.G. Capital, Inc.
Edgewater Growth Capital Partners (Edgewater), a private equity firm, invested in several businesses and put them together in one company called Pendum. Soon after the merger, Pendum began to fail to comply with the covenants it made to its creditors. Eventually, a majority of the senior debt was purchased by affiliates of H.I.G. Capital (collectively, HIG). By this time, Pendum was insolvent. Pendum was eventually sold at an open auction by HIG. Edgewater filed suit, claiming that the sale process was commercially unreasonable and thus a violation of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). The Court of Chancery rejected Edgewater's UCC claim and its other attacks on the sale process and, because Edgewater's claims were primarily motivated by its desire to avoid its $4 million guaranty, held that Edgewater was contractually obligated to pay HIG's attorneys' fees in defending against Edgewater's claims. View "Edgewater Growth Capital Partners LP v. H.I.G. Capital, Inc." on Justia Law
Zucker v. Andreessen
In a derivative action on behalf of Hewlett-Packard Company, plaintiff accused certain HP directors of committing waste and breaching the duty of care in connection with the August 2010 termination of then-CEO, Hurd. Plaintiff contends that Hurd was not entitled to, and did not deserve, any severance upon his termination but that the directors granted Hurd a severance package estimated to be worth $40 million or more. Plaintiff also challenged the lack of a long term CEO succession plan as a breach of the directors’ duty of care. The chancellor dismissed. Under Rule 23.1, a stockholder must either make a demand on the board to instigate the legal action that the stockholder seeks to bring on the corporation’s behalf or allege with particularity why such a demand is excused. Plaintiff did not to make a presuit demand and did not adequately allege a basis to excuse presuit demand.View "Zucker v. Andreessen" on Justia Law
GRT, Inc. v. Marathon GTF Tech., Ltd.
GRT and Marathon are engaged in attempting to convert methane gas into fuel. They entered into interrelated agreements, including a Securities Purchase Agreement (Marathon purchased $25 million of GRT’s stock), mutual licensing agreements, and a Cooperative Development Agreement, governing collaboration to develop gas-to-fuels technology. Marathon built a multi-million dollar “Demonstration Facility” to test the technology on a large scale and a smaller research facility (Pilot Unit). Under the Development Agreement, GRT obtained access the Demonstration Facility and the ability to modify the Facility, to expire on December 31, 2012. The Facility began operations in 2008. Marathon executed a run campaign and shared data with GRT. In November 2009, Marathon decided to permanently close the Facility because of operational difficulties. Marathon followed procedures prescribed by the Agreement, gave notice, and extended GRT the right to acquire the Facility. GRT did not exercise that right. Although the Facility is currently closed, the Pilot Unit is operational, and both parties continue to test there. GRT claimed breach of contract. The chancellor found that the Development Agreement is not ambiguous and does not impose an affirmative duty on Marathon to operate the Facility through December, 2012, but provides GRT protection in other ways that would be internally inconsistent with such an affirmative duty.View "GRT, Inc. v. Marathon GTF Tech., Ltd." on Justia Law
Smith v. Donald L. Mattia, Inc.
Plaintiffs, David and Barbara Smith, asserted various claims arising out of the construction of their home against Defendants, Donald L. Mattia, Inc. (DLM), Donald Mattia, and Barbara Joseph (Barbara). The Chancery Court (1) granted Defendants' motion for summary judgment on (i) Plaintiffs' breach of contract claim and (ii) Plaintiffs' civil conspiracy claim; (2) denied Defendant's motion for summary judgment on (i) Plaintiffs' claim for misappropriation of Plaintiffs' backfill and money paid to DLM that was not applied to their project and (ii) Plaintiffs' claim that Defendants fraudulently induced Plaintiffs to purchase excess lumber and misappropriated $8,836 in connection with the purchase of excess lumber; (2) granted Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment, as Defendants did not articulate a viable cause of action in their counterclaim; and (3) denied Barbara's motion for Chan. Ct. R. 11 sanctions where there was no evidence that Plaintiffs' attorney did not have a good faith belief in the legitimacy of the claims asserted against Barbara. View "Smith v. Donald L. Mattia, Inc." on Justia Law
Posted in: Commercial Law, Construction Law, Consumer Law, Contracts, Delaware Court of Chancery, Injury Law, Legal Ethics
RBC Capital Markets, LLC v. Education Loan Trust IV, et al.
This case involved a suit by a holder of auction rate notes issued under an Indenture of Trust and certain "Supplemental Indentures" thereto, against the issuer of the notes, and the trust. Plaintiff claimed that the issuer caused the trust to pay millions of dollars in excessive fees to the issuer and an affiliate of the issuer in breach of limits on those fees set forth in the Supplemental Indentures. The court held that because plaintiff had not pled that it had met any of the conditions precedent to suit required by the no-action clause, the court dismissed plaintiff's claims. View "RBC Capital Markets, LLC v. Education Loan Trust IV, et al." on Justia Law
The Bank of New York Mellon v. Commerzbank Capital Funding Trust II, et al.
This case arose when Commerzbank agreed to acquire Dresdner Bank in September 2008. As part of the deal, Commerzbank also acquired Dresdner Bank's trust preferred structures, and holders of Dresdner's trust preferred securities received distributions in both 2009 and 2010. Plaintiff claimed that paying those distributions "pushed," or required Commerzbank to make distributions on, a class of its owned preferred securities in which plaintiff had an interest, and, by the complaint, plaintiff asked the court to enforce that alleged obligation. Plaintiff also sought specific performance of a support agreement that was argued to require the elevation of the liquidation preference of Commerzbank's trust preferred securities in response to a restructuring of one class of the Dresdner securities. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. The court held, among other things, that because the DresCap Trust Certificates did not qualify as either Parity Securities, defendants were entitled to judgment in their favor as a matter of law regarding plaintiff's claim under the Pusher Provision. The court also held that because DresCap Trust Certificates did not qualify as either Parity Securities or Junior Securities, Section 6 of the Support Undertaking was not triggered by amendment of the DresCap Trust IV Certificates. Accordingly, defendants were entitled to judgment in their favor as a matter of law regarding plaintiff's claim that the amendment of the DresCap Trust IV Certificates required defendants to amend the Trusted Preferred Securities. View "The Bank of New York Mellon v. Commerzbank Capital Funding Trust II, et al." on Justia Law
Posted in: Banking, Business Law, Commercial Law, Corporate Compliance, Delaware Court of Chancery, Mergers & Acquisitions, Securities Law