Justia Class Action Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Delaware Court of Chancery
In re AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. Stockholder Litigation
The Court of Chancery declined to approve a settlement agreement negotiated between Plaintiffs and Defendants on behalf of a class of common stockholders Plaintiffs purported to represent, holding that the proposed settlement was not fair and did not fulfill the principles of due process.Plaintiffs, common stockholders of AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc., brought direct claims on behalf of a putative class of common stockholders seeking injunctive relief to stop AMC from holding a special meeting at which Plaintiffs, along with holders of fractional units of blank check preferred stock, were scheduled to vote upon two charter amendments that would authorize more common stock triggering the conversion of the fractional units into shares of common stock and reverse a stock split. Before a preliminary injunctive hearing, Plaintiffs negotiated a settlement with Defendants. The Court of Chancery held that the settlement could not be approved as submitted because, among other things, the settlement purported to release claims that did not arise out of the same factual predicate as the claims asserted in this action and because the release of claims arising out of preferred interests was not supported by consideration. View "In re AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. Stockholder Litigation" on Justia Law
Anderson v. Magellan Health, Inc.
The Court of Chancery affirmed the judgment of the trial court awarding $75,000 in fees and expenses to Plaintiff's counsel in the underlying stockholder class action instead of the requested award of $1,100,000, holding that the amount requested in this case was unreasonable because the benefits achieved by mooting the lawsuit were insignificant.Plaintiff brought the underlying action challenging a merger agreement under which Centene Corporation agreed to acquire Magellan Health, Inc. Specifically, Plaintiff claimed that, as part of a sale process conducted by Magellan, prospective bidders entered confidentiality agreements that contained provisions that rendered stockholder disclosures materially deficient. Shortly thereafter, Magellan issued supplemental disclosures and waived its rights under three of the four confidentiality agreements. These actions mooted Plaintiff's claims and stipulated to dismissal. Plaintiff's counsel then petitioned the court for the $1,100,000 attorneys' fees and expenses award. The court awarded $75,000 in fees and expenses. The Court of Chancery affirmed and then issued this decision to warn other courts applying Delaware law of policy dangers in regard to mootness fee petitions, holding that there was no error in the award of fees and expenses in this case. View "Anderson v. Magellan Health, Inc." on Justia Law
Delman v. GigAquisitions3, LLC
The Court of Chancery denied Defendants' motion to dismiss this action asserting that the management team (or sponsor) and directors of a special acquisition company (SPAC) breached their fiduciary obligations, holding that it was reasonably conceivable that Defendants breached their fiduciary duties.For a SPAC organized as a Delaware corporation, stockholders are assured that the SPAC's fiduciaries will abide by certain standards of conduct. Plaintiff, a stockholder, filed a putative class action alleging that Defendants undertook a value destructive deal that generated returns for the sponsor while impairing stockholders' ability to decide whether to redeem or to invest in the post-merger company. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss. The Court of Chancery denied the motion, holding that the complaint stated reasonably conceivable claims against Defendants in counts one, two, and three. View "Delman v. GigAquisitions3, LLC" on Justia Law
Burkhart v. Genworth Financial, Inc.
The Court of Chancery granted Defendants' partial motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' amended complaint, holding that Plaintiffs did not satisfy the statutory definition of "creditor" as required to have standing to pursue their amended claims under the Delaware Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (DUFTA).Defendant Genworth Life Insurance Company (GLIC) wrote a line of long-term care (LTC) insurance policies. Plaintiffs, a putative class of GLIC LTC policyholders and GLIC insurance agents who sold LTC policies, alleged that fraudulent transfers jeopardized GLIC's ability to pay LTC claims to its policyholders and LTC commissions to its insurance agents. Plaintiffs later amended their complaint to add three new claims challenging the distribution of certain proceeds as intentional and constructive fraudulent transfers. The Court of Chancery granted Defendants' partial motion to dismiss, holding that Plaintiffs' new DUFTA claims failed because they were not "claims" under DUFTA. View "Burkhart v. Genworth Financial, Inc." on Justia Law
Burkhart v. Genworth Financial, Inc.
In this class action complaint brought under the Delaware Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (DUFTA) alleging that Genworth Life Insurance Company (GLIC) engaged in both actual and constructive fraudulent transfers the Court of Chancery granted in part and denied in part GLIC's motion to dismiss, holding that Plaintiffs' attempts to reverse some of GLIC's dividends were time barred.Plaintiffs, a class of insureds who held long-term care insurance policies and insurance agents who alleged that they were entitled to commission payments for selling such payments, alleged that on the brink of its failure, GLIC's owners engaged in an intentional plan to syphon off GLIC's assets. In their class action complaint Plaintiffs asked the Court of Chancery to restore to GLIC the value of the assets that were syphoned away from 2012 to 2014. In response, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss. The Court of Chancery granted the motion in part and denied it in part, holding (1) any challenge to the $395 million in dividends GLIC paid from 2012 to 2014 was untimely under 6 Del. C. 1309; and (2) Plaintiffs had standing to bring this lawsuit. View "Burkhart v. Genworth Financial, Inc." on Justia Law
In re Trulia, Inc. Stockholder Litig.
Four stockholders of Trulia, Inc. filed class action complaints alleging that Trulia’s directors had breached their fiduciary duties in approving the Zillow Inc.’s acquisition of Trulia in a stock-for-stock merger at what Plaintiffs alleged was an unfair exchange ratio. The parties eventually reached an agreement-in-principle to settle under which Trulia agreed to supplement materials provided to its stockholders that would include additional information that theoretically would allow the stockholders to be better informed in exercising their franchise rights. The Court of Chancery declined to approve the proposed settlement, holding that the terms of this proposed settlement were not fair or reasonable because the proposed settlement did not afford Trulia’s stockholders any meaningful consideration to warrant providing a release of claims to the defendants. View "In re Trulia, Inc. Stockholder Litig." on Justia Law
In re Answers Corp. Shareholders Litigation
This action arose out of the merger of Answers with A-Team, a wholly-owned subsidiary of AFCV, which in turn, was a portfolio company of the private equity firm Summit (collectively, with A-Team and AFCV, the Buyout Group). Plaintiffs, owners of Answers' stock, filed a purported class action on behalf of themselves and all other similarly situated public stockholders of Answers. The court concluded that the complaint adequately alleged that all of the members of the Board breached their fiduciary duties. Therefore, the motions to dismiss the First Cause of Action were denied, except as to the disclosure claim that plaintiffs have abandoned. The court also concluded that plaintiffs have adequately pled that the Buyout Group aided and abetted a breach of the Board's fiduciary duty. Therefore, the motions to dismiss the Second Cause of Action were denied. View "In re Answers Corp. Shareholders Litigation" on Justia Law
In re K-Sea Transportation Partners L.P. Unitholders Litigation
This was a class action brought on behalf of the common unit holders of a publicly-traded Delaware limited partnership. In March 2011, the partnership agreed to be acquired by an unaffiliated third party at a premium to its common units' trading price. The merger agreement, which governed the transaction, also provided for a separate payment to the general partner to acquire certain partnership interests it held exclusively. The court concluded that defendants' approval of the merger agreement could not constitute a breach of any contractual or fiduciary duty, regardless of whether the conflict committee's approval was effective. The court also found that the disclosures authorized by defendants were not materially misleading. Therefore, plaintiffs could not succeed on their claims under any reasonable conceivable set of circumstances and defendants' motion to dismiss was granted. View "In re K-Sea Transportation Partners L.P. Unitholders Litigation" on Justia Law
In re Celera Corp. Shareholder Litigation
This putative class action was before the court on an application for the approval of settlement of the class's claims for, among other things, breaches of fiduciary duty in connection with a merger of two publicly traded Delaware corporations. The target's largest stockholder, which acquired the vast majority of its shares after the challenged transaction was announced, objected to the proposed settlement. In addition, defendants' and plaintiffs' counsel disagreed about the appropriate level of attorneys' fees that should be awarded. The court certified the class under Rules 23(a), (b)(1), and (b)(2) with NOERS as class representative; denied BVF's request to certify the class on only an opt out basis; approved the settlement as fair and reasonable; and awarded attorneys' fees to plaintiffs' counsel in the amount of $1,350,000, inclusive of expenses. View "In re Celera Corp. Shareholder Litigation" on Justia 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