Justia Delaware Court of Chancery Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Delaware Court of Chancery
IQ Holdings, Inc. v. Am. Commercial Lines Inc.
IQ Holdings, Inc. (IQ Holdings) filed a petition seeking appraisal of its shares in American Commercial Lines Inc. (American). Both of the parties engaged financial experts. IQ Holdings retained David Fuller, and American retained Melissa Knoll. Believing that IQ Holdings improperly revised and supplemented its expert report after the discovery cutoff, American moved to strike the revised portions and to preclude Fuller from testifying about them. The Court of Chancery concluded that Fuller's revised portion of his report was excluded and he was precluded from testifying about it, and ordered that IQ Holdings serve a revised expert report showing how returning the analysis to the original version changed Fuller's valuation. View "IQ Holdings, Inc. v. Am. Commercial Lines Inc." on Justia Law
Travelers Casualty and Surety Co. v. Sequa Corp., et al.
Travelers, an insurer, was being sued for insurance benefits in a New Jersey court. Plaintiff there was a subsidiary of a defendant here, Sequa. Travelers sought specific performance of, and a declaratory judgment arising from, a release of claims by Sequa in favor of Travelers, made in connection with the settlement of coverage litigation in the Delaware Superior Court in 1997. The relief sought by Travelers here would relieve it from, or indemnify it for, liability in the coverage litigation being undertaken in New Jersey. Because the explicit language of the release excluded the sites for which plaintiff in the New Jersey action sought coverage, as a matter of contract law Travelers was not entitled to the specific performance or declaratory judgment it sought here. Accordingly, the court dismissed the matter. View "Travelers Casualty and Surety Co. v. Sequa Corp., et al." on Justia Law
Forsythe, et al. v. ESC Fund Management Co. (U.S.), Inc., et al.
In this derivative action, the parties sought judicial approval of a settlement. Defendants agreed to pay the Fund, on whose behalf the derivative claims were brought, and agreed not to pursue claims for indemnification against the Fund. Certain limited partners in the Fund, including the named plaintiffs, objected to the settlement consideration as inadequate. The court held that the settlement consideration fell within a range of fairness, albeit at the low end. Because the consideration fell within the range of fairness, the court will approve the settlement unless the objectors make the equivalent of a topping bid. View "Forsythe, et al. v. ESC Fund Management Co. (U.S.), Inc., et al." on Justia Law
Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. v. Vulcan Materials Co.
This case arose when Martin Marietta sought to purchase all of Vulcan's outstanding shares (Exchange Offer). At issue was the meaning of confidentiality agreements entered into by both parties. The court found in favor of Vulcan on its counterclaims for breach of the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) (Count I), and the joint defense and confidentiality agreement (JDA)(Count II), and against Martin Marietta on its claim that it did not breach the NDA (Count I). Martin Marietta shall be enjoined for a period of four months from prosecuting a proxy contest, making an exchange or tender offer, or otherwise taking steps to acquire control of Vulcan shares or assets. During that period, it is also enjoined from any further violations of the NDA and JDA. Vulcan shall submit a conforming final judgment within five days, upon approval as to form by Martin Marietta. View "Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. v. Vulcan Materials Co." on Justia Law
Posted in: Business Law, Contracts, Corporate Compliance, Delaware Court of Chancery, Mergers & Acquisitions
JPMorgan Chase & Co. v. American Century Co.
Plaintiffs brought their Verified Complaint asserting claims for breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing against defendant. J.P.Morgan also asserted a claim for attorneys' fees and costs under an option agreement that J.P. Morgan and defendant entered into, which was the contract central to the dispute. Defendant moved to dismiss pursuant to Court of Chancery Rule 12(b)(6). The court held that J.P. Morgan has failed to state a claim that defendant breached the express terms of the Option Agreement and therefore, defendant's motion to dismiss was granted as to Count I. Defendant's motion to dismiss was denied as to Count II because J.P. Morgan's allegations, taken together, were sufficient to state a claim of the implied covenant. Finally, defendant's motion to dismiss was denied as to Count III where J.P. Morgan could eventually be the prevailing party in this action. View "JPMorgan Chase & Co. v. American Century Co." on Justia Law
Posted in: Business Law, Contracts, Corporate Compliance, Delaware Court of Chancery, Mergers & Acquisitions, Securities Law
Microsoft Corp. v. Vadem, Ltd., et al.
Microsoft asserted a total of eight claims, derivatively or directly, against defendants for breach of fiduciary duty, usurpation of corporate opportunity, rescission, conspiracy, and aiding and abetting. Defendants, various companies and an individual associated with the restructuring of Vadem, a computer technology company formed under the laws of the British Virgin Islands, contended that Microsoft lacked standing to bring derivative claims on behalf of Vadem. Defendants also argued, among other things, that the court lacked personal jurisdiction over defendants and that Microsoft's claims were untimely. The court concluded that Microsoft was required to, but did not, seek leave from the High Court of the British Virgin Islands before bringing a derivative suit on behalf of Vadem. As a result, Microsoft lacked standing as to the six derivative claims it asserted. The court also found that, as to the two remaining counts in the complaint, those claims were time-barred. Therefore, the court granted the motion to dismiss. View "Microsoft Corp. v. Vadem, Ltd., et al." on Justia Law
Gearreald v. Just Care, Inc.
This was an appraisal proceeding brought pursuant to 8 Del. C. 262. Petitioners, former shareholders and managers of a prison healthcare detention company, sought appraisal of their shares following an all cash acquisition of the company for $40 million. The court found that the fair value of Just Care as of September 30, 2009 was $34,244,570. The parties shall cooperate to determine the amount of the interest award in accordance with the rulings in the opinion and petitioners shall present, on notice, an appropriate proposed order of final judgment specifying, among other things, the corresponding fair value per common share and per Series A preferred share within 10 days. View "Gearreald v. Just Care, Inc." on Justia Law
Dawson v. Pittco Capital Partners, L.P.
This dispute arose from the merger between plaintiff's start-up company, LaneScan, and VSAC. Plaintiffs complained that the Merger improperly deprived them of their Notes and that a return of capital provision was inappropriately excised from LaneScan's Amended and Restated Limited Liability Company Operating Agreement in conjunction with the merger. For damages, plaintiffs requested a return of their original investment in LaneScan with pre- and post-judgment interest, attorneys' fees and expenses. The court granted plaintiffs' request for a declaratory judgment with respect to the Notes and the Security Agreement, and it reserved decision on plaintiffs' request for an award of legal fees and expenses related to the Notes Claims, to the extent such request was based upon section 2.3 of the Notes and plaintiffs' successful showing on the declaratory judgment claim. The court ruled in favor of defendants with respect to all of plaintiffs' other claims. View "Dawson v. Pittco Capital Partners, L.P." on Justia Law
Protas v. Cavanagh, et al.
This matter involved allegations of breach of duty made by a common stockholder of a Delaware statutory trust against the trustee of that trust, as well as claims by the stockholder against those entities she alleged aided and abetted the breach. Plaintiff failed to make a pre-suit demand against defendant trustees, who she conceded were independent and disinterested when they took the actions complained of. The court found that plaintiff's claims were derivative and not direct. To survive a motion to dismiss in these circumstances under Section 3816 of the Delaware Statutory Trust Act (DSTA), 12 Del. C. 3816, a plaintiff must plead particularized facts raising a reasonable doubt that the actions of the trustees were taken honestly and in good faith. Because a careful reading of the complaint disclosed that plaintiff failed to so plead, her complaint must be dismissed. View "Protas v. Cavanagh, et al." on Justia Law
Posted in: Business Law, Contracts, Corporate Compliance, Delaware Court of Chancery, Trusts & Estates
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
Posted in: Business Law, Class Action, Corporate Compliance, Delaware Court of Chancery, Mergers & Acquisitions