Archives: Director and Officer Liability

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How Will the Trump Administration Affect D&O Claims?

A recurring question – one that I am getting now on just about a daily basis – arises from concerns about the Trump administration’s possible impact on the world of directors’ and officers’ liability. Implicit in the question is the assumption that the new administration’s policies and actions will indeed affect D&O claims. While I agree … Continue Reading

Guest Post: Pitfalls of Sharing Privileged Information During Due Diligence

One of the interesting recurring issues arising in M&A transactions is the question of the extension of attorney client privilege to information shared during transactional due diligence. In the following guest post, Joseph B. Crace, Jr. and Britt K. Latham take a look a recent New York Court of Appeals decision examining the question of … Continue Reading

Guest Post: The Importance of the Business Judgment Rule

The business judgment rule is one of the important principles involved when questions of board and director liability are raised. In the following guest post, Bernard Sharfman, an associate fellow of the R Street Institute and a member of the Journal of Corporation Law’s editorial advisory board, takes a look at the way that the … Continue Reading

Del. Court Pans Fee-Shifting Portion of Forum Selection Bylaw

Many readers will recall that just a short time ago companies were actively experimenting to try to incorporate litigation management measures into their corporate bylaws. These efforts led to decisions by Delaware courts upholding both forum selection bylaws (about which refer here) and fee-shifting bylaws (refer here). Delaware’s legislature ultimately addressed these bylaw experimentation efforts … Continue Reading

The Top Ten D&O Stories of 2016

While the world of directors’ and officers’ liability is always dynamic, the D&O liability arena was particularly eventful during 2016, with significant implications for what may lie ahead in 2017 – and possibly for years to come.  With full awareness that a complete inventory of key 2016 events could actually be much longer, here is … Continue Reading

Will the DOJ Priorities in the Yates Memo Continue in the New Administration?

Among the many questions surrounding the new incoming Presidential administration is the question of what direction the Trump administration will go with criminal and regulatory enforcement. And among the many specific questions under that topic heading is the question of whether or not the Department of Justice will continue the current agency policy of giving … Continue Reading

The Yates Memo and Civil Liability for Corporate Directors and Officers

It has now been over a year since the U.S. Department of Justice released the so-called Yates Memo, in which the agency stated its policy focused on individual accountability for corporate wrongdoing. As attorneys from the McDermott, Will & Emery firm noted in an October 11, 2016 post on the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate … Continue Reading

Book Review: An Updated Global Guide to Directors’ Liability and Indemnification

In an increasingly global economy, questions arising from cross-border activities are an increasingly common part of day-to-day business activities. Among other things, these circumstances mean that companies frequently must contend with the legal requirements in multiple jurisdictions and deal with the associated legal exposures as well. The potential liability issues in turn raise sometimes difficult … Continue Reading

Heavy Use of Non-GAAP Financial Metrics Represents an Accounting “Red Flag”

Investors, analysts, D&O insurance underwriters, and others responsible for identifying risks among public companies may want to pay close attention to the ways that companies report their financial results. According to a recent analysis, companies that make heavy use of non-GAAP reporting – such as tailored figures like “adjusted net income” and “adjusted operating income” … Continue Reading

Cornerstone Research: Since Trulia, Merger Objection Lawsuit Filings Have Plunged

One of the most distinctive recent developments in the litigation environment has been the rise of merger objection litigation, in which nearly every merger attracted at least one lawsuit challenging the transaction. Many of these cases settled quickly based on the defendants’ agreement to make additional transaction-related disclosures and to pay the plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees. … Continue Reading

Will the Yates Memo’s Emphasis on Individual Prosecution Have A Counterproductive Impact?

In a September 9, 2015 memo from Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, the U.S. Department of Justice described a new policy focused on individual accountability for corporate wrongdoing. The keystone of the policy embodied in the Yates memo is that for companies to receive any cooperation credit, they must completely disclosure “all relevant facts about individual misconduct.”  According … Continue Reading

Social Activist CEOs and Their Duties to Shareholders

I am sure many readers saw Monica Langley’s front page Wall Street Journal article earlier this week about Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and how he uses his position to advance social causes he favors, including most recently, his efforts to combat state legislation concerning transgender bathroom use. The Journal article suggests that Benioff has launched … Continue Reading

The Yates Memo and the Potential Liabilities of Corporate Directors

Last September, amidst considerable fanfare, the U.S. Department of Justice released a new directive – now universally known as the Yates Memo – in which it restated and reinforced the agency’s commitment to targeting corporate executives in cases of corporate wrongdoing. The cornerstone of the agency’s new policies is the specification that in order for … Continue Reading

Guest Post: Seven Lessons Learned from D&O Litigation During the Financial Crisis  

The financial crisis generated a great deal of litigation, much involving the directors and officers of companies affected by the crisis. As the crisis recedes further into the past and as the litigation it generated winds down, it is worth taking a look at what happened to determine what can be learned from the litigation. … Continue Reading

PLUS Webinar This Thursday: “The Top Ten D&O Stories of 2015”

On Thursday, January 21, 2016, I will be participating as the speaker in a Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS) webinar to discuss this past year’s top stories in the world of directors and officers’ liability and insurance. The webinar will be based on my recent blog post, The Top Ten D&O Stories of 2015. This webinar, … Continue Reading

Delaware Courts’ Rejection of Disclosure-Only Settlements Results in Fewer Merger Objection Lawsuit Filings

In my recent survey of the top stories in 2015 in the world of D&O, I noted that one of last year’s most important developments was the signal that several of the judges on the Delaware Court of Chancery sent in a series of rulings that they would not longer routinely approve the kind of … Continue Reading

The Top Ten D&O Stories of 2015

It was an eventful year in the world of directors’ and officers’ liability in 2015. Many of the year’s key events significantly changed the D&O liability environment, while other developments during the year could alter the D&O insurance marketplace itself. Many of 2015’s developments have important implications for 2016 – and possibly for years to … Continue Reading

A Trio of Delaware Decisions Reaffirms Corporate Director Protections

Because the vast majority of U.S. publicly traded companies are incorporated in Delaware, legal developments in Delaware have a particularly important impact on legal standards governing corporate conduct in the U.S. Delaware law is particularly influential with respect to the responsibilities and potential liability exposures of corporate directors. In a series of recent opinions written … Continue Reading

The “Myth” of Outside Director Liability and the Critical Importance of D&O Insurance

In the world of corporate governance, there are a number of common presumptions about board structure and practices. However, according to a recent paper, many of these presumptions may in fact represent corporate governance “myths.” In their September 30, 2015 paper entitled “Seven Myths of Boards of Directors” (here) Stanford Business School Professor David Larcker … Continue Reading
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