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Columbia Law School

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Between Scylla And Charybdis: Taxing Corporations Or Shareholders (Or Both), David M. Schizer Jan 2016

Between Scylla And Charybdis: Taxing Corporations Or Shareholders (Or Both), David M. Schizer

Faculty Scholarship

The United States taxes both corporations and shareholders on corporate profits. In principle, the United States could rely on only one of these taxes, as many commentators have suggested. Although choosing to tax the corporation or its owners may seem like taking money from one pocket or the other, this Essay emphasizes a key difference: These taxes prompt different planning. Relying on one or the other mitigates some distortions and leaks, while exacerbating others. As a result, choosing which to impose is like navigating between Scylla and Charybdis.

In response, this Essay recommends using both taxes for three reasons. First ...


Protecting Reliance, Victor P. Goldberg Jan 2014

Protecting Reliance, Victor P. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

Reliance plays a central role in contract law and scholarship. One party relies on the other's promised performance, its statements, or its anticipated entry into a formal agreement. Saying that reliance is important, however, says nothing about what we should do about it. The focus of this Essay is on the many ways that parties choose to protect reliance. The relationship between what parties do and what contract doctrine cares about is tenuous at best. Contract performance takes place over time, and the nature of the parties 'future obligations can be deferred to take into account changing circumstances. Reliance ...


Toward A Constitutional Review Of The Poison Pill Essay, Lucian A. Bebchuk, Robert J. Jackson Jr. Jan 2014

Toward A Constitutional Review Of The Poison Pill Essay, Lucian A. Bebchuk, Robert J. Jackson Jr.

Faculty Scholarship

We argue that the state-law rules governing poison pills are vulnerable to challenges based on preemption by the Williams Act. Such challenges, we show, could well have a major impact on the corporate law landscape.

The Williams Act established a federal regime regulating unsolicited tender offers, but states subsequently developed a body of state antitakeover laws that impose additional impediments to such offers. In a series of well-known cases during the 1970s and 1980s, the federal courts, including the Supreme Court, held some of these state antitakeover laws preempted by the Williams Act. To date, however, federal courts and commentators ...


The Agency Costs Of Agency Capitalism: Activist Investors And The Revaluation Of Governance Rights, Ronald J. Gilson, Jeffery N. Gordon Jan 2013

The Agency Costs Of Agency Capitalism: Activist Investors And The Revaluation Of Governance Rights, Ronald J. Gilson, Jeffery N. Gordon

Faculty Scholarship

Equity ownership in the United States no longer reflects the dispersed share ownership of the canonical Berle-Means firm. Instead, we observe the reconcentration of ownership in the hands of institutional investment intermediaries, which gives rise to "the agency costs of agency capitalism." This ownership change has occurred because of (i) political decisions to privatize the provision of retirement savings and to require funding of such provision and (ii) capital market developments that favor investment intermediaries offering low-cost diversified investment vehicles. A new set of agency costs arises because in addition to divergence between the interests of record owners and the ...


Locating Innovation: The Endogeneity Of Technology, Organizational Structure, And Financial Contracting, Ronald J. Gilson Jan 2010

Locating Innovation: The Endogeneity Of Technology, Organizational Structure, And Financial Contracting, Ronald J. Gilson

Faculty Scholarship

There is much we do not understand about the "location" of innovation: the confluence, for a particular innovation, of the technology associated with the innovation; the innovating firm's size and organizational structure; and the financial contracting that supports the innovation. This Essay suggests that these three indicia are determined simultaneously and discusses the interaction among them through four examples of innovative activity whose location is characterized by tradeoffs between pursuing the activity in an established company, in a smaller, earlier-stage company, or some combination of the two. It first considers the dilemma faced by an established company in deciding ...


Civil Liability And Mandatory Disclosure, Merritt B. Fox Jan 2009

Civil Liability And Mandatory Disclosure, Merritt B. Fox

Faculty Scholarship

This Article explores the efficient design of civil liability for mandatory securities disclosure violations by established issuers. An issuer not publicly offering securities at the time of a violation should have no liability. Its annual filings should be signed by an external certifier – an investment bank or other well-capitalized entity with financial expertise. If the filing contains a material misstatement and the certifier fails to do due diligence, the certifier should face measured liability. Officers and directors should face similar liability, capped relative to their compensation but with no indemnification or insurance allowed. Damages should be payable to the issuer ...


Serial Entrepreneurs And Small Business Bankruptcies, Douglas G. Baird, Edward R. Morrison Jan 2005

Serial Entrepreneurs And Small Business Bankruptcies, Douglas G. Baird, Edward R. Morrison

Faculty Scholarship

Chapter 11 is thought to preserve the going-concern surplus of a financially distressed business – the extra value that its assets possess in their current configuration. Financial distress leads to conflicts among creditors that can lead to inefficient liquidation of a business with going-concern surplus. Chapter 11 avoids this by providing the business with a way of fashioning a new capital structure. This account of Chapter 11 fails to capture what is happening in the typical case. The typical Chapter 11 debtor is a small corporation whose assets are not specialized and rarely worth enough to pay tax claims. There is ...


Serial Entrepreneurs And Small Business Bankruptcies, Douglas G. Baird, Edward R. Morrison Jan 2005

Serial Entrepreneurs And Small Business Bankruptcies, Douglas G. Baird, Edward R. Morrison

Faculty Scholarship

Chapter 11 is thought to preserve the going-concern surplus of a financially distressed business – the extra value that its assets possess in their current configuration. Financial distress leads to conflicts among creditors that can lead to inefficient liquidation of a business with going-concern surplus. Chapter 11 avoids this by providing the business with a way of fashioning a new capital structure. This account of Chapter 11 fails to capture what is happening in the typical case. The typical Chapter 11 debtor is a small corporation whose assets are not specialized and rarely worth enough to pay tax claims. There is ...


In The Shadow Of Delaware - The Rise Of Hostile Takeovers In Japan, Curtis J. Milhaupt Jan 2005

In The Shadow Of Delaware - The Rise Of Hostile Takeovers In Japan, Curtis J. Milhaupt

Faculty Scholarship

Despite longstanding predictions to the contrary, hostile takeovers have arrived in Japan. This Essay explains why and explores the implications of this phenomenon, not only for Japanese corporate governance, but also for our understanding of corporate law development around the world today. Delaware law figures prominently in the recent Japanese events. A highprofile battle for corporate control has just generated a judicial standard for takeover defenses that might be called a Unocal rule with Japanese characteristics. Meanwhile, ministy-endorsed takeover guidelines have been formulated that are heavily influenced by the familiar "threat" and "proportionality" tests under Delaware law, along with many ...


Frictions As A Constraint On Tax Planning, David M. Schizer Jan 2001

Frictions As A Constraint On Tax Planning, David M. Schizer

Faculty Scholarship

The government often uses narrow tax reforms to target specific planning strategies. Sometimes the targeted transaction is stopped. But in other cases, taxpayers press on, tweaking the deal just enough to sidestep the reform. The difference often lies in transaction costs, financial accounting, and other 'frictions, " which are constraints on tax planning external to the tax law.

This Article contributes a methodology for determining whether frictions will block end runs, and illustrates the effect of frictions by comparing the constructive sale rule of section 1259 with the constructive ownership rule of section 1260. These reforms use the same statutory language ...


Executives And Hedging: The Fragile Legal Foundation Of Incentive Compatibility, David M. Schizer Jan 2000

Executives And Hedging: The Fragile Legal Foundation Of Incentive Compatibility, David M. Schizer

Faculty Scholarship

Options are granted to executives to inspire better performance by tying pay to the employer's stock price. Yet this incentive rationale no longer holds if executives can use the derivatives market to simulate a sale of their options, a practice known as hedging. This Article evaluates the effectiveness of existing legal constraints on hedging by executives, including limits derived from contract, securities and tax law. Although investment bankers have been searching for ways around these constraints, the bottom line is that, at least for now, executives are unable to hedge option grants: While contractual limits are rare, the securities ...


A Government For Our Time? Business Improvement Districts And Urban Governance, Richard Briffault Jan 1999

A Government For Our Time? Business Improvement Districts And Urban Governance, Richard Briffault

Faculty Scholarship

The emergence and rapid spread of business improvement districts ("BIDs") is one of the most important recent developments in American cities. BIDs have been controversial, with both supporters and proponents viewing the districts as part of a trend toward the privatization of the public sector. By examining the legal and political structures that determine BID formation, functions, finances and governance, this Article determines that BIDs are not private entities but are, instead, a distinctive hybrid of public and private elements. Moreover, although the particular fusion of public and private institutions, values and concerns embodied in the BID is unique, Professor ...


The Net Profits Puzzle, Victor P. Goldberg Jan 1997

The Net Profits Puzzle, Victor P. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

The use of "net profits" clauses in the movie business poses a problem. The standard perception is that Hollywood accounting results in successful films showing no net profits. If that is indeed so, then why have they survived for over four decades? This Essay argues that a successful movie will fail to yield net profits only if a "gross participant" (a major star whose compensation is in part a function of the film's gross receipts) becomes associated with the film. Since the net profits participants typically are associated with a project first, the question becomes: Why would they be ...


Liquidity Versus Control: The Institutional Investor As Corporate Monitor, John C. Coffee Jr. Jan 1991

Liquidity Versus Control: The Institutional Investor As Corporate Monitor, John C. Coffee Jr.

Faculty Scholarship

Within academia, paradigm shifts occur regularly, some more important than others. As the takeover wave of the 1980s ebbs, a significant shift now appears to be in progress in the way the public corporation is understood. Above all, the new thinking emphasizes that political forces shaped the modern corporation. While the old paradigm saw the structure of the corporation as the product of a Darwinian competition in which the most efficient design emerged victorious, this new perspective sees political forces as constraining that evolutionary process and possibly foreclosing the adoption of a superior organizational form. Thus, my colleague Professor Mark ...


Mandatory/Enabling Balance In Corporate Law: An Essay On The Judicial Role, John C. Coffee Jr. Jan 1989

Mandatory/Enabling Balance In Corporate Law: An Essay On The Judicial Role, John C. Coffee Jr.

Faculty Scholarship

A half-filled glass of water can be described as either half full or half empty. The structure of American corporate law – partly enabling, partly mandatory in character – can be viewed in much the same way. Some commentators see American corporate law as primarily composed of mandatory rules that the shareholders themselves cannot waive or modify, In their view, this mandatory component compensates both for the absence of true bargaining among the parties and for the inevitable divergence of interests between the principals (the shareholders) and their agents (the managers and directors). Conversely, other commentators, to whom this Article will refer ...


Drafting An Effective Greenmail Prohibition, Ronald J. Gilson Jan 1988

Drafting An Effective Greenmail Prohibition, Ronald J. Gilson

Faculty Scholarship

Hostile tender offers have become a recurrent political issue. In recent years Congress has held seemingly endless hearings on the subject, and by now the testimony has settled into a familiar dialogue. Potential acquirers cast themselves as the embodiment of Adam Smith's invisible hand – their activities energize the market for corporate control with the desirable result of improving the efficiency of corporate management. Management of potential targets, in turn, claim the role of Albert Chandler's visible hand – efficient managers who internalize a function previously carried out by an inefficient market. Their argument is that because the market for ...


Regulating The Market For Corporate Control: A Critical Assessment Of The Tender Offer's Role In Corporate Governance, John C. Coffee Jr. Jan 1984

Regulating The Market For Corporate Control: A Critical Assessment Of The Tender Offer's Role In Corporate Governance, John C. Coffee Jr.

Faculty Scholarship

Better answers often await better questions. In the wake of a recent series of provocative articles dealing with contested tender offers, several questions have been vigorously debated:

(1) Should management of the target company be allowed to resist a hostile tender offer in order to remain an independent company? Which, if any, of the various "shark repellent" measures by which a potential target can make itself unattractive to a bidder are justified?;

(2) If defensive tactics were generally forbidden, should the target company's management still be permitted to encourage competing bids thereby creating an auction?; and

(3) Do hostile ...


The Survival Of The Derivative Suit: An Evaluation And A Proposal For Legislative Reform, John C. Coffee Jr., Donald E. Schwartz Jan 1981

The Survival Of The Derivative Suit: An Evaluation And A Proposal For Legislative Reform, John C. Coffee Jr., Donald E. Schwartz

Faculty Scholarship

The shareholder derivative suit today faces extinction. Long considered the "chief regulator of corporate management," and a recognized form of litigation in American courts at least since 1855, it now confronts the second great challenge of its history. Thirty-odd years ago, commentators foresaw the derivative suit's demise when state legislatures began adopting security-for-expenses statutes to curb the abuses of "strike suit" litigation. These reports of its death proved exaggerated, however, as plaintiffs discovered various tactics by which to outflank these statutes. As a result, by the late 1960's, the crisis was past, and a revival in the action ...


Liquidated Damages, Penalties And The Just Compensation Principle: Some Notes On An Enforcement Model And A Theory Of Efficient Breach, Charles J. Goetz, Robert E. Scott Jan 1977

Liquidated Damages, Penalties And The Just Compensation Principle: Some Notes On An Enforcement Model And A Theory Of Efficient Breach, Charles J. Goetz, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

For more than five centuries, strict judicial scrutiny has been applied to contractual provisions which specify an agreed amount of damages upon breach of a base obligation. Although the standards determining the enforceability of liquidated damage clauses have developed novel and labyrinthine permutations, their motivating principle has remained essentially immutable. For an executory agreement fixing damages in case of breach to be enforceable, it must constitute a reasonable forecast of the provable injury resulting from breach; otherwise, the clause will be unenforceable as a penalty and the non-breaching party will be limited to conventional damage measures.

The historical genesis of ...