On January 4, 2023, Delaware Vice Chancellor Lori Will denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss in the breach of fiduciary duty case a shareholder of the SPAC, Gig Capital3 Inc. (Gig3), against the SPAC’s sponsor and its board of directors in connection with the SPAC’s May 6, 2021, merger with Lightening eMotors. Essentially, the plaintiff alleged that the defendants withheld information about the dilutive impact of the transaction on the cash value of the investors’ shares, depriving the investors of the information they need to decide whether or not to redeem their shares.

In a ruling substantiating well-publicized contentions of Stanford Law Professor Michael Klausner about SPACs’ structural flaws (doubly noteworthy because Klausner acted as co-counsel for the plaintiff in the Gig3 case), Vice Chancellor Will denied the defendants’ dismissal motion, raising questions about whether similar allegations could be raised against a host of other SPACs, as discussed below. A copy of Vice Chancellor Will’s opinion can be found here.

Continue Reading Will Del. Court’s Ruling Mean a SPAC Lawsuit “Gold Rush”?

In the latest SPAC-related federal court securities class action lawsuit to be filed, a plaintiff shareholder has filed a securities suit against a building management technology company – which merged with a SPAC in 2021 — that recently restated its financial statements for the reporting periods after the company became publicly traded. The complaint in the new lawsuit filed against Latch, Inc. can be found here. As also noted below, in a separate development, a different plaintiff shareholder has filed a separate SPAC-related Delaware Chancery Court action against former directors and officers of a SPAC and the SPAC’s sponsor.
Continue Reading SPAC-Related Securities Suit Filed Against Building Technology Company

In a recent post in which I reviewed recent legal developments in Australia, I discussed the growing possibilities for future climate change-related D&O claims. A recent paper highlights the extent of these D&O claim risks in the United States. The October 2021 paper, published by the Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative and entitled “Fiduciary Duties and Climate and entitled “Fiduciary Duties and Climate Change in the United States,” discusses how evolving understandings of climate change has “changed the relevance of climate change to the governance of corporations,” with important implications for the fiduciary duties of directors and officers. The paper discusses how in the current legal environment in the U.S. a board’s failure to adequately regard climate change-related issues could lead to potential litigation and liability. A copy of the full paper can be found here, and an executive summary of the paper can be found here.
Continue Reading Climate Change-Related Breach of Fiduciary Duty Lawsuits?

As I have noted in prior posts (most recently here), the current coronavirus outbreak presents corporate boards with a number of challenging issues. In the following guest post, Nick Goldin, Eric Swedenburg and Brad Goldberg of the Simpson Thacher law firm review the considerations that corporate boards should take into account as their companies grapple with the challenges that the pandemic poses. The authors extend their appreciation to Sarah Eichenberger for her substantial contributions to this piece. A version of this article previously was published as a Simpson Thacher client memorandum. I would like to thank the authors for allowing me to publish their article as a guest post on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is the authors’ article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: Considerations for Corporate Directors As Their Companies Confront COVID-19

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Joseph Swanson

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Donald Kirk

An unfortunately frequent part of bankruptcy proceedings is the assertion of claims against the directors and officers of the failed company. In the following guest post, Joseph W. Swanson and Donald R. Kirk of the Carlton Fields law firm take a look at the kinds of claims these officials face, as well as the steps these individuals can take to try to avoid the claims in the first place. I would like to thank Joe and Donald for their willingness to publish their article as a guest post on my site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is Joe and Donald’s article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: Playing the Blame Game: Fiduciary Duty Litigation in Bankruptcy Proceedings

doleA frequent theme these days in the world of corporate and securities litigation is the complaint about merger objection litigation – how virtually every deal announced attracts at least one lawsuit, and how all too often the cases are resolved on the basis of a disclosure-only settlement and the payment of the plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees, an arrangement that produce no benefit for anyone except the lawyers. However, a recent Delaware Chancery court post-trial opinion provides a sharp reminder that some merger transactions can include some real problems.
Continue Reading A Closer Look at the Massive $148 Million Damages Award Against Dole’ s CEO and General Counsel

hbr4The fiduciary duties of members of corporate boards are usually invoked in connection with directors’ potential liability exposures. However, in their January 2015 Harvard Business Review article entitled “Where Boards Fall Short” (here), Dominic Barton, global managing director of McKinsey & Co., and Mark Wiseman, President and CEO of the Canada

It is generally understood that corporate directors act in a fiduciary role in performing their board duties. But to whom do directors owe their fiduciary duties? That was the question asked in a November 8, 2013 decision from the North Carolina Supreme Court, in which the Court reversed a trial verdict and post trial motion