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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Separation Of Voting And Control: The Role Of Contract In Corporate Governance, Gabriel V. Rauterberg Jun 2021

The Separation Of Voting And Control: The Role Of Contract In Corporate Governance, Gabriel V. Rauterberg

Articles

The default rules of corporate law make shareholders’ control rights a function of their voting power. Whether a director is elected or a merger is approved depends on how shareholders vote. Yet, in private corporations shareholders routinely alter their rights by contract. This phenomenon of shareholder agreements—contracts among the owners of a firm— has received far less attention than it deserves, mainly because detailed data about the actual contents of shareholder agreements has been lacking. Private companies disclose little, and shareholder agreements are thought to play a trivial or nonexistent role in public companies. I show that this is ...


Rethinking Mac Clauses In The Time Of Akorn, Boston Scientific, And Covid-19, Samuel Shapiro Apr 2021

Rethinking Mac Clauses In The Time Of Akorn, Boston Scientific, And Covid-19, Samuel Shapiro

Michigan Business & Entrepreneurial Law Review

The MAC clause is perhaps the most important clause in contract law, giving acquirers the ability to terminate even the largest agreements in the face of an often vaguely defined “Material Adverse Change.” For decades, even though MAC clauses have been present in nearly every merger agreement, courts have almost universally refused to enforce them. But the Delaware Chancery Court’s 2018 decision in Akorn may finally change that. As the world deals with the economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19, courts may soon get more opportunities to decide whether or not they will follow Akorn’s lead and begin to ...


Stealth Governance: Shareholder Agreements And Private Ordering, Jill E. Fisch Mar 2021

Stealth Governance: Shareholder Agreements And Private Ordering, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Corporate law has embraced private ordering -- tailoring a firm’s corporate governance to meet its individual needs. Firms are increasingly adopting firm-specific governance through dual-class voting structures, forum selection provisions and tailored limitations on the duty of loyalty. Courts have accepted these provisions as consistent with the contractual theory of the firm, and statutes, in many cases, explicitly endorse their use. Commentators too support private ordering for its capacity to facilitate innovation and enhance efficiency.

Private ordering typically occurs through firm-specific charter and bylaw provisions. VC-funded startups, however, frequently use an alternative tool – shareholder agreements. These agreements, which have largely ...


Moral Diversity And Efficient Breach, Matthew A. Seligman Jan 2019

Moral Diversity And Efficient Breach, Matthew A. Seligman

Michigan Law Review

Most people think it is morally wrong to breach a contract. But sophisticated commercial parties, like large corporations, have no objection to breaching contracts and paying the price in damages when doing so is in their self-interest. The literature has ignored the profound legal, economic, and normative implications of that asymmetry between individuals’ and firms’ approaches to breach. To individuals, a contract is a promise that cannot be broken regardless of the financial stakes. For example, millions of homeowners refused to breach their mortgage contracts in the aftermath of the housing crisis even though doing so could have saved them ...


Law And The Blockchain, Usha Rodrigues Jan 2018

Law And The Blockchain, Usha Rodrigues

Scholarly Works

All contracts are necessarily incomplete. The inefficiencies of bargaining over every contingency, coupled with humans’ innate bounded rationality, mean that contracts cannot anticipate and address every potential eventuality. One role of law is to fill gaps in incomplete contracts with default rules. The blockchain is a distributed ledger that allows the cryptographic recording of transactions and permits “smart” contracts that self-execute automatically if their conditions are met. Because humans code the contracts of the blockchain, gaps in these contracts will arise. Yet in the world of “smart contracting” on the blockchain, there is no place for the law to step ...


Governance By Contract: The Implications For Corporate Bylaws, Jill E. Fisch Jan 2018

Governance By Contract: The Implications For Corporate Bylaws, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Boards and shareholders are increasing using charter and bylaw provisions to customize their corporate governance. Recent examples include forum selection bylaws, majority voting bylaws and advance notice bylaws. Relying on the contractual conception of the corporation, Delaware courts have accorded substantial deference to board-adopted bylaw provisions, even those that limit shareholder rights.

This Article challenges the rationale for deference under the contractual approach. With respect to corporate bylaws, the Article demonstrates that shareholder power to adopt and amend the bylaws is, under Delaware law, more limited than the board’s power to do so. As a result, shareholders cannot effectively ...


Amending Corporate Charters And Bylaws, Albert H. Choi, Geeyoung Min Aug 2017

Amending Corporate Charters And Bylaws, Albert H. Choi, Geeyoung Min

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Recently, courts have embraced the contractarian theory that corporate charters and bylaws constitute a “contract” between the shareholders and the corporation and have been more willing to uphold bylaws unilaterally adopted by the directors. This paper examines the contractarian theory by drawing a parallel between amending charters and bylaws, on the one hand, and amending contracts, on the other. In particular, the paper compares the right to unilaterally amend corporate bylaws with the right to unilaterally modify contract terms, and highlights how contract law imposes various limitations on the modifying party’s discretion. More generally, when the relationship of contracting ...


Contracting Out Of The Fiduciary Duty Of Loyalty: An Empirical Analysis Of Corporate Opportunity Waivers, Gabriel Rauterberg, Eric Talley Jun 2017

Contracting Out Of The Fiduciary Duty Of Loyalty: An Empirical Analysis Of Corporate Opportunity Waivers, Gabriel Rauterberg, Eric Talley

Articles

For centuries, the duty of loyalty has been the hallowed centerpiece of fiduciary obligation, widely considered one of the few “mandatory” rules of corporate law. That view, however, is no longer true. Beginning in 2000, Delaware dramatically departed from tradition by granting incorporated entities a statutory right to waive a crucial part of the duty of loyalty: the corporate opportunities doctrine. Other states have since followed Delaware’s lead, similarly permitting firms to execute “corporate opportunity waivers.” Surprisingly, more than fifteen years into this reform experiment, no study has attempted to either systematically measure the corporate response to these reforms ...


The Battle Over Corporate Bylaws, Ariel Beverly Jan 2017

The Battle Over Corporate Bylaws, Ariel Beverly

Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review

No abstract provided.


Rethinking The Nature Of The Firm: The Corporation As A Governance Object, Peer Zumbansen Aug 2016

Rethinking The Nature Of The Firm: The Corporation As A Governance Object, Peer Zumbansen

Peer Zumbansen

This Article attempts to bridge two discourses—corporate governance and contract governance. Regarding the latter, a group of scholars has recently set out to develop a more comprehensive research agenda to explore the governance dimensions of contractual relations, highlighting the potential of contract theory to develop a more encompassing theory of social and economic transactions. While a renewed interest in the contribution of economic theory for a concept of contract governance drives one dimension of this research, another part of this undertaking has been to move contract theory closer to theories of social organization. Here, these scholars emphasize the “social ...


Financial Hospitals: Defending The Fed’S Role As A Market Maker Of Last Resort, José Gabilondo Aug 2016

Financial Hospitals: Defending The Fed’S Role As A Market Maker Of Last Resort, José Gabilondo

José Gabilondo

During the last financial crisis, what should the Federal Reserve (the Fed) have done when lenders stopped making loans, even to borrowers with sterling credit and strong collateral? Because the central bank is the last resort for funding, the conventional answer had been to lend freely at a penalty rate against good collateral, as Walter Bagehot suggested in 1873 about the Bank of England. Acting thus as a lender of last resort, the central bank will keep solvent banks liquid but let insolvent banks go out of business, as they should. The Fed tried this, but when the conventional wisdom ...


Salomon Redux: The Moralities Of Business, Allan C. Hutchinson, Ian Langlois Jul 2016

Salomon Redux: The Moralities Of Business, Allan C. Hutchinson, Ian Langlois

Allan C. Hutchinson

In this Essay, we revisit the Salomon case and its related litigation not only from a legal standpoint but also from a broader moral perspective. 4 In the second Part, we offer a detailed context for and account of the Salomon litigation. The third Part focuses on the historical roots of the corporation and the judicial arguments in Salomon. In the fourth Part, we explore the moral and legal consequences of the Salomon decision. Throughout the Essay, our ambition will be not only to give the Salomon case a more contextual and richer spin but also to tackle the relationship ...


The Widening Scope Of Directors' Duties: The Increasing Impact Of Corporate Social And Environmental Responsibility, Thomas Clarke Mar 2016

The Widening Scope Of Directors' Duties: The Increasing Impact Of Corporate Social And Environmental Responsibility, Thomas Clarke

Seattle University Law Review

This Article concerns the widening scope of directors’ duties under the increasing impact of the pressures for corporate social and environmental responsibility. Narrow interpretations of directors’ duties that focus simply on the commercial success of the business and relegate other considerations to externalities are not tenable in the present context. The dawning realization of the global consequences of imminent climate change provides a series of inescapable challenges for business enterprises.


The Theory Of Fields And Its Application To Corporate Governance, Neil Fligstein Mar 2016

The Theory Of Fields And Its Application To Corporate Governance, Neil Fligstein

Seattle University Law Review

My goal here is twofold. First, I want to introduce the theory of strategic action fields to the law audience. The main idea in field theory in sociology is that most social action occurs in social arenas where actors know one another and take one another into account in their action. Scholars use the field construct to make sense of how and why social orders emerge, reproduce, and transform. Underlying this formulation is the idea that a field is an ongoing game where actors have to understand what others are doing in order to frame their actions. Second, I want ...


Agency Theory As Prophecy: How Boards, Analysts, And Fund Managers Perform Their Roles, Jiwook Jung, Frank Dobbin Mar 2016

Agency Theory As Prophecy: How Boards, Analysts, And Fund Managers Perform Their Roles, Jiwook Jung, Frank Dobbin

Seattle University Law Review

In 1976, Michael Jensen and William Meckling published a paper reintroducing agency theory that explained how the modern corporation is structured to serve dispersed shareholders. They purported to describe the world as it exists but, in fact, they described a utopia, and their piece was read as a blueprint for that utopia. We take a page from the sociology of knowledge to argue that, in the modern world, economic theories function as prescriptions for behavior as much as they function as descriptions. Economists and management theorists often act as prophets rather than scientists, describing the world not as it is ...


Corporations In The Flow Of Culture, Greg Urban Mar 2016

Corporations In The Flow Of Culture, Greg Urban

Seattle University Law Review

As an anthropologist, coming out of three decades of research among indigenous Brazilian populations, I naturally saw modern for-profit business corporations as tribes—the collective bearers of adaptive cultural know-how. They appeared to me to be the entities housing the culture needed to produce commodities, to trade commodities on the open market, or both. I was also, of course, aware of the legal concept of the corporation as fictive person capable of owning property and having standing in court cases, which I thought of as akin to the anthropological corporation insofar as both recognized the group as social actor. However ...


Culture In Corporate Law Or: A Black Corporation, A Christian Corporation, And A Māori Corporation Walk Into A Bar . . ., Gwendolyn Gordon Mar 2016

Culture In Corporate Law Or: A Black Corporation, A Christian Corporation, And A Māori Corporation Walk Into A Bar . . ., Gwendolyn Gordon

Seattle University Law Review

Recent Supreme Court cases have entrenched a new image of corporate civic identity, assigning to the corporate person rights and abilities based upon the cultural characteristics, social ties, civic commitments, and internal lives of the human beings involved in it. This vision of the corporation is exemplified in recent cases implicating a corporate right to engage in political speech (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission) and a right of corporations to be free of government interference regarding religious convictions (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.). Although much is being written about the soundness of the results in these cases and ...


Notes On The Difficulty Of Studying The Corporation, Marina Welker Mar 2016

Notes On The Difficulty Of Studying The Corporation, Marina Welker

Seattle University Law Review

In the award-winning documentary The Corporation, public intellectuals and activists characterize corporations as “externalizing machines,” “doom machines,” “persons with no moral conscience,” and “monsters trying to devour as much profit as possible at anyone’s expense.” In other footage, people on the street personify corporations: “General Electric: a kind old man with lots of stories;” “Nike: young, energetic;” “Microsoft: aggressive;” “McDonald’s: young, outgoing, enthusiastic;” “Monsanto: immaculately dressed;” “Disney: goofy;” “The Body Shop: deceptive.” The documentary, like screenwriter and legal scholar Joel Bakan’s book The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, imparts dissonant messages about corporations. On ...


"Special," Vestigial, Or Visionary? What Banking Regulation Tells Us About The Corporation—And Vice Versa, Robert C. Hockett, Saule T. Omarova Mar 2016

"Special," Vestigial, Or Visionary? What Banking Regulation Tells Us About The Corporation—And Vice Versa, Robert C. Hockett, Saule T. Omarova

Seattle University Law Review

A remarkable yet seldom noted set of parallels exists between modern U.S. bank regulation, on the one hand, and what used to be garden-variety American corporate law, on the other hand. For example, just as bank charters are matters not of right but of conditional privilege even today, so were all corporate charters not long ago. Just as chartered banks are authorized to engage only in limited, enumerated activities even today, so were all corporations restricted not long ago. And just as banks are subject to strict capital regulation even today, so were all corporations not long ago. In ...


What Might Replace The Modern Corporation? Uberization And The Web Page Enterprise, Gerald F. Davis Mar 2016

What Might Replace The Modern Corporation? Uberization And The Web Page Enterprise, Gerald F. Davis

Seattle University Law Review

The number of public corporations in the United States has been in decline for almost twenty years. Alternative forms of organization, from LLCs and benefit corporations to Linux and Wikipedia, provide robust competition to traditional corporations, while short-lived, project-based enterprises that assemble supply chains from available parts are increasingly cost effective. Yet our understanding of corporate governance has not kept pace with the new organization of the economy and we continue to treat the public corporation with dispersed ownership as the default form of doing business. Meanwhile, many of the corporations going public in recent years have abandoned traditional standards ...


Open Sesame: The Myth Of Alibaba's Extreme Corporate Governance And Control, Yu-Hsin Lin, Thomas Mehaffy Jan 2016

Open Sesame: The Myth Of Alibaba's Extreme Corporate Governance And Control, Yu-Hsin Lin, Thomas Mehaffy

Brooklyn Journal of Corporate, Financial & Commercial Law

In September 2014, Alibaba Group Holding Limited (Alibaba) successfully launched a $25 billion initial public offering (IPO), the largest IPO ever, on New York Stock Exchange. Alibaba’s IPO success witnessed a wave among Chinese Internet companies to raise capital in U.S capital markets. A significant number of these companies have employed a novel, but poorly understood corporate ownership and control mechanism—the variable interest entity (VIE) structure and/or the disproportional control structure. The VIE structure was created in response to the Chinese restriction on foreign investments; however, it carries the risk of being declared illegal under Chinese ...


Gandhi’S Prophecy: Corporate Violence And A Mindful Law For Bhopal, Nehal A. Patel Dec 2015

Gandhi’S Prophecy: Corporate Violence And A Mindful Law For Bhopal, Nehal A. Patel

Nehal A. Patel

AbstractOver thirty years have passed since the Bhopal chemical disaster began,and in that time scholars of corporate social responsibility (CSR) havediscussed and debated several frameworks for improving corporate responseto social and environmental problems. However, CSR discourse rarelydelves into the fundamental architecture of legal thought that oftenbuttresses corporate dominance in the global economy. Moreover, CSRdiscourse does little to challenge the ontological and epistemologicalassumptions that form the foundation for modern economics and the role ofcorporations in the world.I explore methods of transforming CSR by employing the thought ofMohandas Gandhi. I pay particular attention to Gandhi’s critique ofindustrialization and principle ...


Mistakes, Airfares, And Consumers: Restoring The Department Of Transportation's Role In Regulating Unfair Trade Practices, Terence Lau Jul 2015

Mistakes, Airfares, And Consumers: Restoring The Department Of Transportation's Role In Regulating Unfair Trade Practices, Terence Lau

Terence Lau

This Article traces the problem of mistake airfares and the federal government’s response to airlines that cancel tickets for erroneous fares. Part I of the Article explores airline pricing generally, and argues that airline tickets are a unique form of commodity good, one where there is no consumer expectation of a reasonable price. The dynamic nature of airline yield management means that prices for the exact same seat on an airplane can range dramatically on a variety of circumstances and factors that are beyond the knowledge, control or comprehension of the ordinary consumer. The Article investigates several well-known examples ...


An Approach To The Regulation Of Spanish Banking Foundations, Miguel Martínez Jun 2015

An Approach To The Regulation Of Spanish Banking Foundations, Miguel Martínez

Miguel Martínez

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the legal framework governing banking foundations as they have been regulated by Spanish Act 26/2013, of December 27th, on savings banks and banking foundations. Title 2 of this regulation addresses a construct that is groundbreaking for the Spanish legal system, still of paramount importance for the entire financial system insofar as these foundations become the leading players behind certain banking institutions given the high interest that foundations hold in the share capital of such institutions.


Legal Entities As Transferable Bundles Of Contracts, Kenneth Ayotte, Henry Hansmann Jun 2015

Legal Entities As Transferable Bundles Of Contracts, Kenneth Ayotte, Henry Hansmann

Kenneth Ayotte

The large, modern business corporation is frequently organized as a complex cluster of hundreds of corporate subsidiaries under the common control of a single corporate parent. Our Article provides new theory and supportive evidence to help explain this structure. We focus, in particular on the advantages of subsidiary entities in providing the option to transfer some or all of the firm's contractual rights and obligations in the future. The theory not only sheds light on corporate subsidiaries but also illuminates a basic function of all types of legal entities, from partnerships to nonprofit corporations. We show that when, as ...


Avenues To Foreign Investment In China’S Shipping Industry—Have Lease Financing Arrangements And The Free Trade Zones Opened Markets For Foreign Non-Bank Investment?, Rick Beaumont May 2015

Avenues To Foreign Investment In China’S Shipping Industry—Have Lease Financing Arrangements And The Free Trade Zones Opened Markets For Foreign Non-Bank Investment?, Rick Beaumont

Rick Beaumont

No abstract provided.


Corporations And The 99%: Team Production Revisited, Shlomit Azgad-Tromer Dr. Apr 2015

Corporations And The 99%: Team Production Revisited, Shlomit Azgad-Tromer Dr.

Shlomit Azgad-Tromer Dr.

We Are the 99%" is a political slogan used by the Occupy Wall Street movement, referring to the prevailing wealth and income inequality, and claiming a divergence of corporate America from the public. This essay explores the interaction between the general public and the public corporation, and its legal manifestation.

Stakeholder theory portrays the corporation as a sphere of cooperation between all stakeholder constituencies, including the general public. Revisiting team production analysis, the essay argues that while several constituencies indeed form part of the corporate team, others are exogenous to the corporate enterprise. Employees, suppliers and financiers contribute together to ...


Empirical Study Redux On Choice Of Law And Forum In M&A: The Data And Its Limits, Juliet P. Kostritsky, Wojbor Woyczynski, Harold Haller, Kyle Chen Apr 2015

Empirical Study Redux On Choice Of Law And Forum In M&A: The Data And Its Limits, Juliet P. Kostritsky, Wojbor Woyczynski, Harold Haller, Kyle Chen

Juliet P Kostritsky

No abstract provided.


Broad Shareholder Value And The Inevitable Role Of Conscience, Paul D. Weitzel, Zachariah J. Rodgers Mar 2015

Broad Shareholder Value And The Inevitable Role Of Conscience, Paul D. Weitzel, Zachariah J. Rodgers

Paul D. Weitzel

This article proposes an integrative solution to the modern debate on corporate purpose, the question of whether directors and officers must solely maximize profits or whether they may consider the effects on employees, the environment or the community. Many find pure profit maximization unseemly and suggest alternative theories, typically arguing that corporations owe a duty to a broader range of stakeholders. This position is inconsistent with the case law and unnecessary to allow conscience in the board room. We resolve the issue more simply by acknowledging that the purpose of a corporation is to promote the shareholders’ interests, which includes ...


Insuring Floods: The Most Common And Devastating Natural Catastrophes In America, Christopher French Mar 2015

Insuring Floods: The Most Common And Devastating Natural Catastrophes In America, Christopher French

Journal Articles

Flooding is the most common natural catastrophe Americans face, accounting for 90% of all damage caused by natural catastrophes. Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, for example, collectively caused over $160 billion in damage, but only approximately 10% of the Hurricane Katrina victims and 50% of the Hurricane Sandy victims had insurance to cover their flood losses. Consequently, both their homes and lives were left in ruins in the wake of the storms. Nationwide, only approximately 7% of homeowners have insurance that covers flood losses even though the risk of flooding is only increasing as coastal areas continue to be developed and ...