In a recent post, I discussed the lawsuit filed in a UK court by the environmental advocacy group ClientEarth against the board of Shell. In the following guest post, Francis Kean, Partner in Financial Lines Team at McGill and Partners, dives deeper into the legal context of the lawsuit and its insurance implications. I would like to thank Francis for allowing me to publish his article as a guest post on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors of topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is Francis’s article.Continue Reading Guest Post: Client Earth Claim Against the Board of Shell: A Sign of Things to Come in the UK?
In what it calls the “world’s first” of its type, the environmental advocacy group ClientEarth has filed a shareholder derivative action against the board of Shell plc, claiming that the company’s directors have failed to take sufficient steps to protect the company from the future impacts of climate change. The action seeks to compel the board to “strengthen its climate transition plans, in the best interests of the company in the long term.” A copy of ClientEarth’s February 9, 2023 press release about the new lawsuit can be found here. The group’s statement of FAQ’s can be found here.Continue Reading Advocacy Group Sues Shell’s Board for Insufficient Climate Change Action
As I discussed at the time (here), in March 2022, the SEC published proposed climate-related disclosure guidelines. The agency’s proposal is now in the public comment period, and it remains to be seen in what form the guidelines will be put into effect. However, it seems probable that that the guidelines will be implemented in some form, despite concerns expressed in public comments so far. If the rules are put into effect in some form close to the initial proposal, there will be a risk that claimants may seek to rely on the guidelines in connection with future corporate and securities lawsuits. A detailed and interesting September 12, 2022 memo from the Cleary Gottlieb law firm (here) discussed the possibility that the climate change disclosure guidelines could give rise to a host of potential future litigation risks. (Hat tip to the TheCorporateCounsel.net blog for the link to the law firm memo.)
Continue Reading Will Corporate and Securities Litigation Follow SEC Adoption of Climate Disclosure Guidelines?
In recent years, plaintiffs’ lawyers have filed a number of management liability lawsuits against the executives of companies that have experienced high-profile data breaches. These lawsuits have either been filed as shareholder derivative lawsuits or securities class action lawsuits. By and large, the cases filed as shareholder derivative lawsuits have been unsuccessful. However, in a development that represents a milestone in several different respects, the parties to the Yahoo data breach-related derivative lawsuit have agreed to settle the case for $29 million. As discussed below, this settlement may have important implications for future data breach-related derivative litigation. The Court’s January 4, 2019 order approving the settlement can be found here (see calendar Line 5 in the order).
Continue Reading Yahoo Data Breach-Related Derivative Suit Settled for $29 Million
More recent data breach-related D&O lawsuits have been filed in the form of securities class actions, one of which, the Yahoo securities class action lawsuit, recently resulted in a sizable settlement. Before that though, during the period 2014 to 2016, there was a series of data breach related suits filed in the form of shareholder derivative actions. By and large, these cases did not fare particularly well, largely resulting in dismissals. The last of these data breach-related derivative lawsuits that remained pending is the one filed against fast-food company Wendy’s. Now the Wendy’s case has also settled, albeit for a combination of cybersecurity and governance therapeutics and agreement to pay the plaintiffs’ attorneys fees. The resolution of this last remaining shareholder derivative suit again raises a question that has been much discussed, of the extent to which data breach-related issues will lead to more D&O litigation.
Continue Reading Wendy’s Settles Data Breach-Related Derivative Lawsuit
For some time now, many commentators, including me, have been predicting that cybersecurity-related litigation could become an important part of the D&O litigation environment. And that may yet happen. For now, however, the results in the recent cybersecurity-related cases have been, from the plaintiffs’ perspective, not particularly promising. On July 7, 2016, in the latest of these cases to hit the skids, District of Minnesota Judge Paul Magnuson, in reliance on the report of the special litigation committee appointed to investigate the claims and in the absence of opposition from the plaintiff, granted the motions of the special litigation committee and of the defendants and dismissed the consolidated cybersecurity-related derivative litigation that had been filed against Target Corporation’s board. As discussed below, the plaintiffs’ track record in this type of litigation has been poor, which does raise the question whether this type of litigation will become a significant phenomenon. A copy of Judge Magnuson’s order in the Target Corp. case can be found here.
Continue Reading Target Corporation Cybersecurity-Related Derivative Litigation Dismissed
In the face of increasing investor activism, companies have adopted a number of defensive measures. Among these measures are a particular type of provision found in many corporate borrowers loan agreements – requiring the company to repay loans before they are due if a majority of the board is ousted – that are drawing increasing…
The parties to the Freeport-McMorRan Copper & Gold, Inc. Derivative Litigation have finalized an agreement to settle the consolidated litigation pending in the Delaware Chancery Court in exchange for a payment of $137.5 million and for the company’s agreement to adopt certain corporate governance reforms. The settlement represents the third largest derivative lawsuit settlement ever. …
My post earlier this week about the $275 million Activision Blizzard shareholder derivative lawsuit settlement – and in particular my suggestion that the Activision settlement may be the largest derivative suit settlement ever – provoked an interesting flurry of emails and conversations about the lineup of other large derivative lawsuit settlements. To address the various …
One of the more distinctive business trends in recent months has been the surge of so-called corporate inversion transactions, in which a domestic U.S. company merges with a non-U.S. company, with the the successor company to be based in the foreign country in order to take advantage of a more favorable corporate tax regime. These …