Justia Delaware Court of Chancery Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Securities 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
Winshall v. Viacom Int’l, Inc., et al.
This case involved a dispute over earn-out payments related to a merger between Viacom and Harmonix where plaintiff was one of the selling stockholders of Harmonix. Plaintiff sued on behalf of the selling stockholders, alleging that Viacom and Harmonix purposefully renegotiated the distribution contract with EA so as to reduce the earn-out payments payable to the Harmonix stockholders, and thus breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing implied in the Merger Agreement. The court dismissed plaintiff's claim and held that it would be inequitable for the court to imply a duty on Viacom and Harmonix's part to share with the selling stockholders the benefits of a renegotiated contract addressing EA's right to distribute Harmonix products after the expiration of the earn-out period. View "Winshall v. Viacom Int'l, Inc., et al." on Justia Law
Coughlan v. NXP B.V.
This case involved the interpretation of two provisions in a merger agreement between defendant corporation and a company whose former stockholders were represented by plaintiff. The two provisions at issue dealt with contingent payments due in certain circumstances from defendant to those stockholders. The court found that the language of the merger agreement was unambiguous, and that per its provisions, defendant's obligations under the merger agreement were assumed by the acquiring company, thus avoiding the acceleration of the remaining revenue contingent payments. Therefore, the court denied plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and granted summary judgment in favor of defendant. View "Coughlan v. NXP B.V." on Justia Law
Krieger v. Wesco Financial Corp., et al.
Plaintiff contended that holders of common stock of Wesco were entitled to appraisal rights under Section 262 of the General Corporation Law, 8 Del. 262, in connection with a forward triangular merger among Wesco, its parent, and an acquisition subsidiary. The parties cross-moved for partial summary judgment on the availability of appraisal rights. The court held that because Wesco common stockholders were not required to accept consideration other than stock listed on a national securities exchange and cash in lieu of fractional shares, they were not entitled to appraisal rights. Accordingly, summary judgment on this issue was entered in favor of defendants. View "Krieger v. Wesco Financial Corp., et al." on Justia Law
Paige Capital Mgmt., LLC, et al. v. Lerner Master Fund, LLC et al.
This case stemmed from a dispute between a hedge fund manager and the hedge fund's seed investor. The central issue was contractual and involved whether the hedge fund manager could use the Gate Provision in the Partnership Agreement to lock up the seed investor. The court held that the hedge fund manager's refusal to honor the withdrawal request and return the seed investor's capital in full was a violation of the Seeder Agreement and a breach of contract. The court held that, in the alternative, even if the Gates were potentially applicable, it was a breach of fiduciary duty for the hedge fund manager to use the Gates solely for a selfish reason. Therefore, the court ordered the immediate return to the seed investor of all of its capital and awarded interest to compensate it for the delay. The court also disposed of several other claims raised by the hedge fund manager and the seed investor. View "Paige Capital Mgmt., LLC, et al. v. Lerner Master Fund, LLC 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
Hartsel, et al. v. The Vanguard Group, Inc., et al.
This case involved a stockholder challenge to the decision of two funds within the Vanguard mutual fund complex to purchase shares of allegedly illegal foreign online gambling businesses that were publicly traded in overseas capital markets. Plaintiffs' complaint asserted both derivative and direct claims based on their allegations that defendants' actions constituted a violation of their fiduciary duties, negligence, and waste. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that the court could not assert personal jurisdiction over the individual defendants named in the complaint; all plaintiffs' claims were derivative in nature and therefore, the complaint must be dismissed for plaintiffs' failure to make demand on the board of trustees or demonstrate why a demand would be futile; and the complaint failed to state a claim. The court granted defendants' motions and dismissed with prejudice all of the claims in the complaint based on the first two grounds. Consequently, the court did not address defendants' additional argument that the complaint failed to state a claim. View "Hartsel, et al. v. The Vanguard Group, Inc., et al." on Justia Law