State of incorporation

It is an idea that suddenly is all the rage – that companies should shake the Delaware dust off their feet and reincorporate elsewhere. Elon Musk has famously said, in the wake of the Delaware Chancery Court’s decision voiding his $55.8 billion pay package, that he will seek to reincorporate Tesla in Texas. (SpaceX, also a Musk company, has in fact already reincorporated in Texas.) The former Attorney General William Barr and another GOP official published a Wall Street Journal column arguing that Delaware’s courts are driving corporations away (as discussed here), and suggesting that companies increasingly will find it more attractive to be incorporated in Nevada or another state. Some companies have indeed left Delaware and reincorporated elsewhere – including not just SpaceX, but also TripAdvisor, for example. Why would a company change its state of incorporation from Delaware to another state? And with reference to the focus of  this blog, does a company’s redomestication from Delaware to another state have implications for the potential liability exposures of the company’s directors and officers?Continue Reading Does a Del. Corp.’s Reincorporation in Another State Reduce D&O Liability Exposure?

By now, readers are well aware that ESG has become a politically divisive issue. In a series of variations on this theme, two conservative legal commentators, writing in a Wall Street Journal op-ed column, argue that ESG is a trojan horse for progressive political objectives that, if Delaware’s courts continue their current course, could cost the state its privileged position as the preferred jurisdiction for corporate organization. The November 25, 2023 Journal op-ed, which was written by former U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Washington Attorney and former Department of Labor official Jonathan Berry, and is entitled “Delaware is Trying Hard to Drive Away Corporations,” can be found here.Continue Reading Will Delaware’s Embrace of an “ESG Agenda” Cause Corporations to Flee?

One of the hotly contested issues in recent years has been whether or not there is D&O insurance coverage for shareholder appraisal actions. In a recent decision that was largely focused on choice of law issues, the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of a policyholder’s action to try to obtain coverage for defense costs incurred in an underlying shareholder appraisal action. Though the insurers prevailed in this coverage dispute, the Court’s holding on the choice of law issues could have ominous implications for insurers’ prospects in future coverage disputes, as discussed below. The Delaware Supreme Court’s January 10, 2023, opinion in the Stillwater Mining Company coverage dispute can be found here.Continue Reading Delaware Supreme Court: No Coverage for Appraisal Action

del1One feature of the U.S. corporate law environment that always strikes outside observers and new initiates as odd is the predominance on the legal landscape of the law of Delaware. The tiny Eastern seaboard state is the second smallest U.S. state by size; only five states are smaller by population, yet its corporate laws outweigh those of any other state. Over half of the U.S. listed companies are incorporated in Delaware. Nearly two thirds of Fortune 500 companies are organized under the laws of Delaware.

Questions about Delaware’s outsized role in the corporate legal world are nothing new. But when the Wall Street Journal runs a front page article questioning Delaware’s role, it might be time to start wondering of Delaware’s predominance might actually be under challenge.
Continue Reading So Why Should Delaware Corporate Law Predominate?