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Full-Text Articles in Law

Misreading Menetti: The Case Does Not Help You Avoid Liability For Your Own Fraud, Val D. Ricks Feb 2022

Misreading Menetti: The Case Does Not Help You Avoid Liability For Your Own Fraud, Val D. Ricks

St. Mary's Law Journal

Several decades ago, an incorrect legal idea surfaced in Texas jurisprudence: that business entity actors are immune from liability for fraud that they themselves commit, as if the entity is solely responsible. Though the Supreme Court of Texas has rejected that result several times, it keeps coming back. The most recent manifestation is as a construction of Texas’s unique veil-piercing statute. Many lawyers have suggested that this view of the veil-piercing statute originated in Menetti v. Chavers, a San Antonio Court of Appeals case decided in 1998. Menetti has in fact played a prominent role in the movement to …


The Supreme Court And The Pro-Business Paradox, Elizabeth Pollman Nov 2021

The Supreme Court And The Pro-Business Paradox, Elizabeth Pollman

All Faculty Scholarship

One of the most notable trends of the Roberts Court is expanding corporate rights and narrowing liability or access to justice against corporate defendants. This Comment examines recent Supreme Court cases to highlight this “pro-business” pattern as well as its contradictory relationship with counter trends in corporate law and governance. From Citizens United to Americans for Prosperity, the Roberts Court’s jurisprudence could ironically lead to a situation in which it has protected corporate political spending based on a view of the corporation as an “association of citizens,” but allows constitutional scrutiny to block actual participants from getting information about …


The “Value” Of A Public Benefit Corporation, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon Apr 2021

The “Value” Of A Public Benefit Corporation, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon

All Faculty Scholarship

We examine the “value” a PBC form provides for publicly-traded corporations. We analyze the structure of the PBC form and find that other than requiring a designated social purpose it does not differ significantly in siting control and direction with shareholders. We also examine the purpose statements in the charters of the most economically significant PBCs. We find that, independent of structural limitations on accountability, these purpose statements are, in most cases, too vague and aspirational to be legally significant, or even to serve as a reliable checks on PBC behavior. We theorize, and provide evidence, that without a legal …


Just Say Yes? The Fiduciary Duty Implications Of Directorial Acquiescence, Lisa Fairfax Mar 2021

Just Say Yes? The Fiduciary Duty Implications Of Directorial Acquiescence, Lisa Fairfax

All Faculty Scholarship

The rise in shareholder activism is one of the most significant recent phenomena in corporate governance. Shareholders have successfully managed to enhance their power within the corporation, and much of that success has resulted from corporate managers and directors voluntarily acceding to shareholder demands. Directors’ voluntary acquiescence to shareholder demands is quite simply remarkable. Remarkable because most of the changes reflect policies and practices that directors have vehemently opposed for decades, and because when opposing such changes directors stridently insisted that the changes were not in the corporation’s best interest. In light of that insistence, and numerous statements from directors …


Structural Labor Rights, Hiba Hafiz Feb 2021

Structural Labor Rights, Hiba Hafiz

Michigan Law Review

American labor law was designed to ensure equal bargaining power between workers and employers. But workers’ collective power against increasingly dominant employers has disintegrated. With union density at an abysmal 6.2 percent in the private sector—a level unequaled since the Great Depression— the vast majority of workers depend only on individual negotiations with employers to lift stagnant wages and ensure upward economic mobility. But decentralized, individual bargaining is not enough. Economists and legal scholars increasingly agree that, absent regulation to protect workers’ collective rights, labor markets naturally strengthen employers’ bargaining power over workers. Existing labor and antitrust law have failed …


Caremark And Esg, Perfect Together: A Practical Approach To Implementing An Integrated, Efficient, And Effective Caremark And Eesg Strategy, Leo E. Strine Jr., Kirby M. Smith, Reilly S. Steel Jan 2021

Caremark And Esg, Perfect Together: A Practical Approach To Implementing An Integrated, Efficient, And Effective Caremark And Eesg Strategy, Leo E. Strine Jr., Kirby M. Smith, Reilly S. Steel

All Faculty Scholarship

With increased calls from investors, legislators, and academics for corporations to consider employee, environmental, social, and governance factors (“EESG”) when making decisions, boards and managers are struggling to situate EESG within their existing reporting and organizational structures. Building on an emerging literature connecting EESG with corporate compliance, this Essay argues that EESG is best understood as an extension of the board’s duty to implement and monitor a compliance program under Caremark. If a company decides to do more than the legal minimum, it will simultaneously satisfy legitimate demands for strong EESG programs and promote compliance with the law. Building …


Restoration: The Role Stakeholder Governance Must Play In Recreating A Fair And Sustainable American Economy A Reply To Professor Rock, Leo E. Strine Jr. Jan 2021

Restoration: The Role Stakeholder Governance Must Play In Recreating A Fair And Sustainable American Economy A Reply To Professor Rock, Leo E. Strine Jr.

All Faculty Scholarship

In his excellent article, For Whom is the Corporation Managed in 2020?: The Debate Over Corporate Purpose, Professor Edward Rock articulates his understanding of the debate over corporate purpose. This reply supports Professor Rock’s depiction of the current state of corporate law in the United States. It also accepts Professor Rock’s contention that finance and law and economics professors tend to equate the value of corporations to society solely with the value of their equity. But, I employ a less academic lens on the current debate about corporate purpose, and am more optimistic about proposals to change our corporate governance …


The Corporate Governance Machine, Dorothy S. Lund, Elizabeth Pollman Jan 2021

The Corporate Governance Machine, Dorothy S. Lund, Elizabeth Pollman

All Faculty Scholarship

The conventional view of corporate governance is that it is a neutral set of processes and practices that govern how a company is managed. We demonstrate that this view is profoundly mistaken: in the United States, corporate governance has become a “system” composed of an array of institutional players, with a powerful shareholderist orientation. Our original account of this “corporate governance machine” generates insights about the past, present, and future of corporate governance. As for the past, we show how the concept of corporate governance developed alongside the shareholder primacy movement. This relationship is reflected in the common refrain of …


Consent, Coercion, And Employment Law, Samuel R. Bagenstos Jul 2020

Consent, Coercion, And Employment Law, Samuel R. Bagenstos

Articles

The Roberts Court has recently handed several high-profile wins in labor and employment law cases to anti-labor and pro-employer forces. This paper argues that those decisions replicate crucial moves made by some infamous Lochner-era cases — and that those same moves continue to underlie key elements of labor and employment doctrine more generally. In particular, these decisions rest on a contestable understanding of free worker choice. This paper begins by examining the key recent Roberts Court decisions and demonstrates that they appear to invoke at least two distinct and conflicting understandings of employee and employer choice. It then turns to …


Can Soft Words Lead To Strong Deeds? A Comparative Analysis Of Corporate Human Rights Commitments’ Enforcement, Adeline Michoud Jun 2020

Can Soft Words Lead To Strong Deeds? A Comparative Analysis Of Corporate Human Rights Commitments’ Enforcement, Adeline Michoud

Seattle Journal for Social Justice

No abstract provided.


Of Bodies Politic And Pecuniary: A Brief History Of Corporate Purpose, David B. Guenther Apr 2020

Of Bodies Politic And Pecuniary: A Brief History Of Corporate Purpose, David B. Guenther

Michigan Business & Entrepreneurial Law Review

American corporate law has long drawn a bright line between for-profit and non-profit corporations. In recent years, hybrid or social enterprises have increasingly put this bright-line distinction to the test. This Article asks what we can learn about the purpose of the American business corporation by examining its history and development in the United States in its formative period from roughly 1780-1860. This brief history of corporate purpose suggests that the duty to maximize profits in the for-profit corporation is a relatively recent development. Historically, the American business corporation grew out of an earlier form of corporation that was neither …


From Public Health To Public Wealth: The Case For Economic Justice, Barbara L. Atwell Apr 2020

From Public Health To Public Wealth: The Case For Economic Justice, Barbara L. Atwell

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

This Article examines how we can overlay the principle of serving the common good, which undergirds public health law, onto financial well-being. It suggests that we apply public health law principles to corporate law and culture. In matters of public health, we view quite broadly states' police power to protect the public good. Government is also empowered to protect the general welfare in matters of financial well-being. Using the “general welfare” as a guidepost, this Article challenges the conventional wisdom that corporations exist solely to maximize profit and shareholder value to the exclusion of virtually everything else. It proposes two …


The Plight Of Women In Positions Of Corporate Leadership In The United States, The European Union, And Japan: Differing Laws And Cultures, Similar Issues, Bettina C. K. Binder, Terry Morehead Dworkin, Niculina Nae, Cindy A. Schipani, Irina Averianova Mar 2020

The Plight Of Women In Positions Of Corporate Leadership In The United States, The European Union, And Japan: Differing Laws And Cultures, Similar Issues, Bettina C. K. Binder, Terry Morehead Dworkin, Niculina Nae, Cindy A. Schipani, Irina Averianova

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

Gender diversity in corporate governance is a highly debated issue worldwide. National campaigns such as “2020 Women on Boards” in the United States and “Women on the Board Pledge for Europe” are examples of just two initiatives aimed at increasing female representation in the corporate boardroom. Several

European countries have adopted board quotas as a means toward achieving gender diversity. Japan has passed an Act on Promotion of Women’s Participation and Advancement in the Workplace to lay a foundation for establishing targets for promoting women.

This Article examines the status of women in positions of leadership in the United States, …


Toward Fair And Sustainable Capitalism: A Comprehensive Proposal To Help American Workers, Restore Fair Gainsharing Between Employees And Shareholders, And Increase American Competitiveness By Reorienting Our Corporate Governance System Toward Sustainable Long-Term Growth And Encouraging Investments In America’S Future, Leo E. Strine Jr. Sep 2019

Toward Fair And Sustainable Capitalism: A Comprehensive Proposal To Help American Workers, Restore Fair Gainsharing Between Employees And Shareholders, And Increase American Competitiveness By Reorienting Our Corporate Governance System Toward Sustainable Long-Term Growth And Encouraging Investments In America’S Future, Leo E. Strine Jr.

All Faculty Scholarship

To promote fair and sustainable capitalism and help business and labor work together to build an American economy that works for all, this paper presents a comprehensive proposal to reform the American corporate governance system by aligning the incentives of those who control large U.S. corporations with the interests of working Americans who must put their hard-earned savings in mutual funds in their 401(k) and 529 plans. The proposal would achieve this through a series of measured, coherent changes to current laws and regulations, including: requiring not just operating companies, but institutional investors, to give appropriate consideration to and make …


Making Sustainability Disclosure Sustainable, Jill E. Fisch Jul 2019

Making Sustainability Disclosure Sustainable, Jill E. Fisch

All Faculty Scholarship

Sustainability is receiving increasing attention from issuers, investors and regulators. The desire to understand issuer sustainability practices and their relationship to economic performance has resulted in a proliferation of sustainability disclosure regimes and standards. The range of approaches to disclosure, however, limit the comparability and reliability of the information disclosed. The Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) has solicited comment on whether to require expanded sustainability disclosures in issuer’s periodic financial reporting, and investors have communicated broad-based support for such expanded disclosures, but, to date, the SEC has not required general sustainability disclosure.

This Article argues that claims about the relationship …


From Apathy To Activism: The Emergence, Impact, And Future Of Shareholder Activism As The New Corporate Governance Norm, Lisa M. Fairfax May 2019

From Apathy To Activism: The Emergence, Impact, And Future Of Shareholder Activism As The New Corporate Governance Norm, Lisa M. Fairfax

All Faculty Scholarship

The conventional and long-held view that public company shareholders are, and should be, rationally apathetic is waning. Today, public company shareholders are active. Such shareholders have actively sought to increase their voting power and influence over director elections and other important corporate matters. These shareholders not only have been voting, but they also have been voting against management preferences. Moreover, public company shareholders increasingly have begun to request, and in some instances demand, that corporate officers and directors engage with them around a range of issues. The shift away from shareholder apathy reflects a radical departure from the traditional corporate …


Merrick Dodd And The Great Depression: A Few Historical Corrections, Charles R. T. O'Kelley Feb 2019

Merrick Dodd And The Great Depression: A Few Historical Corrections, Charles R. T. O'Kelley

Seattle University Law Review

Merrick Dodd is remembered primarily for his role as coprotagonist, with Adolf Berle, in the famous Berle–Dodd debate. Dodd’s contribution to that debate—For Whom are Corporate Managers Trustees?—has generally been interpreted as the inspiration for modern stakeholder theory. Berle’s contribution has generally been viewed as the foundation on which shareholder primacy rests. Both of these views have been clarified by the nuanced work of Bratton and Wachter. Oddly, while scholars have devoted a great deal of attention to Berle’s actual life story, there is almost no scholarship that sheds light on Merrick Dodd, the historical person.


Dr. Tele-Corporation: Bridging The Access-To-Care Gap, Nader Amer Jan 2019

Dr. Tele-Corporation: Bridging The Access-To-Care Gap, Nader Amer

Dickinson Law Review (2017-Present)

The United States is currently confronting an access-to-healthcare crisis, which rural regions are experiencing at a disproportionate rate. Many commentators have touted telemedicine as a solution for the access-to-care issue. Telemedicine uses video and telecommunication technology to allow physicians to treat patients from distant locations and thus facilitates a more equal distribution of physicians throughout the United States.

Although the telemedicine industry is quickly growing, the corporate practice of medicine doctrine impedes the industry’s expansion and consequently obstructs a viable solution to the access-to-care crisis. Generally, the corporate practice of medicine doctrine prohibits corporations and limited liability companies from employing …


Solely Beneficial: How Benefit Corporations May Change The Duty Of Care Analysis For Traditional Corporate Directors In Delaware, Dustin Womack Oct 2018

Solely Beneficial: How Benefit Corporations May Change The Duty Of Care Analysis For Traditional Corporate Directors In Delaware, Dustin Womack

Michigan Business & Entrepreneurial Law Review

Rather than adding to the voluminous literature assessing the necessity of benefit corporations themselves or the possible liability of their directors, this Note concerns itself only with how benefit corporations will impact the fiduciary duty of care analysis for the directors of traditional corporations constituted in the state of Delaware. Further, this Note is only concerned with liability arising from claims alleging that a day-to-day directorial decision resulted in a breach of the duty of care. As such, this Note does not address any other potential liability predicated on other situations or duties. Finally, this Note provides general background information …


Beyond Intermediary Liability: The Future Of Information Platforms - Workshop Report, Tiffany Li Feb 2018

Beyond Intermediary Liability: The Future Of Information Platforms - Workshop Report, Tiffany Li

Faculty Scholarship

On February 13, 2018, WIII hosted the workshop, “Beyond Intermediary Liability: The Future of Information Platforms.” Leading experts from industry, civil society, and academia convened at Yale Law School for a series of non-public, guided discussions. The roundtable of experts considered pressing questions related to intermediary liability and the rights, roles, and responsibilities of information platforms in society. Based on conversations from the workshop, WIII published a free, publicly available report detailing the most critical issues necessary for understanding the role of information platforms, such as Facebook and Google, in law and society today. The report highlights insights and questions …


Newsroom: Is Wall Between Church And State Crumbling? 10-10-2017, Diana Hassel Oct 2017

Newsroom: Is Wall Between Church And State Crumbling? 10-10-2017, Diana Hassel

Life of the Law School (1993- )

No abstract provided.


Rwu First Amendment Blog: Diana Hassel's Blog: Is The Wall Between Church And State Crumbling? 10-07-2017, Diana Hassel Oct 2017

Rwu First Amendment Blog: Diana Hassel's Blog: Is The Wall Between Church And State Crumbling? 10-07-2017, Diana Hassel

Law School Blogs

No abstract provided.


Humanizing The Corporation While Dehumanizing The Individual: The Misuse Of Deferred-Prosecution Agreements In The United States, Andrea Amulic Oct 2017

Humanizing The Corporation While Dehumanizing The Individual: The Misuse Of Deferred-Prosecution Agreements In The United States, Andrea Amulic

Michigan Law Review

American prosecutors routinely offer deferred-prosecution and nonprosecution agreements to corporate defendants, but not to noncorporate defendants. The drafters of the Speedy Trial Act expressly contemplated such agreements, as originally developed for use in cases involving low-level, nonviolent, noncorporate defendants. This Note posits that the almost exclusive use of deferrals in corporate cases is inconsistent with the goal that these agreements initially sought to serve. The Note further argues that this exclusivity can be attributed to prosecutors’ tendency to only consider collateral consequences in corporate cases and not in noncorporate cases. Ultimately, this Note recommends that prosecutors evaluate collateral fallout when …


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

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

All Faculty Scholarship

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 parties …


Giving Guidance To The Guidelines, Jelani Jefferson Exum Apr 2017

Giving Guidance To The Guidelines, Jelani Jefferson Exum

South Carolina Law Review

No abstract provided.


Wait, Who Are We Talking About Here? Searching For A Consistent Approach To Applying Rfra To Corporations, Steven J. Harrison Jan 2017

Wait, Who Are We Talking About Here? Searching For A Consistent Approach To Applying Rfra To Corporations, Steven J. Harrison

Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy

There is perhaps no idea in contemporary American law that is more publicly contentious than that of “corporate personhood.” Of all of the Supreme Court cases dealing with corporations and the corporate entity, few probably thought that a decision could surpass Citizens United in public controversy and divisiveness produced by the decision, which brought the legal fiction of the “corporate person” to the forefront of popular debate and discussion. Then came Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., which not only addressed whether corporations could “act” in a manner that seemed only a possibility for “real” or “natural” persons, which recalled …


When Social Enterprises Fail, Jonathan Brown Jan 2017

When Social Enterprises Fail, Jonathan Brown

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

This Article identifies the conflicts between social enterprise legislation and bankruptcy law and presents a normative argument for a legal regime that would harmonize the two. Focusing on benefit corporations, the most widely adopted social enterprise form, this Article observes that existing law leaves uncertainty as to the role of directors at a time of financial distress and will produce outcomes that are at odds with the core goals of social enterprise legislation. Then, drawing on academic proposals for contract-based systems of bankruptcy, this Article argues that just as a firm may opt out of a corporate governance norm of …


The Death Of The Firm, June Carbone, Nancy Levit Jan 2017

The Death Of The Firm, June Carbone, Nancy Levit

Faculty Works

This Article maintains that the decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, which referred to the corporation as a legal fiction designed to serve the interests of the people behind it, signals the “death of the firm” as a unit of legal analysis in which business entities are treated as more than the sum of their parts and appropriate partners to advance not just commercial, but public ends. The Hobby Lobby reference to the firm as a fiction is a product of a decades-long shift in the treatment of corporations. This shift reflects both an ideological embrace of the free-market-oriented “agency-cost” …


Corporate Power Is Corporate Purpose I: Evidence From My Hometown, Leo E. Strine Jr. Jan 2017

Corporate Power Is Corporate Purpose I: Evidence From My Hometown, Leo E. Strine Jr.

All Faculty Scholarship

This paper is the first in a series considering a rather tired argument in corporate governance circles, that corporate laws that give only rights to stockholders somehow implicitly empower directors to regard other constituencies as equal ends in governance. By continuing to suggest that corporate boards themselves are empowered to treat the best interests of other corporate constituencies as ends in themselves, no less important than stockholders, scholars and commentators obscure the need for legal protections for other constituencies and for other legal reforms that give these constituencies the means to more effectively protect themselves.

Using recent events in the …


Appraising Merger Efficiencies, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2017

Appraising Merger Efficiencies, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

All Faculty Scholarship

Mergers of business firms violate the antitrust laws when they threaten to lessen competition, which generally refers to a price increase resulting from a reduction in output. However, a merger that threatens competition may also enable the post-merger firm to reduce its costs or improve its product. Attitudes toward mergers are heavily driven by assumptions about efficiency gains. If mergers of competitors never produced efficiency gains but simply reduced the number of competitors, a strong presumption against them would be warranted. We tolerate most mergers because of a background, highly generalized belief that most or at least many produce cost …