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Full-Text Articles in Law

How A “Superstar” Ceo Exposes The Necessity For Third Party D&O Insurance, Angela N. Aneiros, Karen Woody Jan 2024

How A “Superstar” Ceo Exposes The Necessity For Third Party D&O Insurance, Angela N. Aneiros, Karen Woody

Scholarly Articles

he influence that “superstar” CEOs have over a company’s board of directors can be alarming. Among other things, Elon’s ability to skirt personal liability for seemingly obvious breaches of duty has raised concerns within the realm of corporate governance and corporate regulation. While much has been written on Elon’s influence on Tesla’s board of directors, one area of the law that often gets overlooked that has exacerbated Elon’s corporate governance issues, is that of directors and officers (D&O) liability insurance. While personally insuring board members seems like a very "Elon" move, it could have broader implications beyond Elon. Are “superstar” …


Expanding Mfw: Delaware Law Should Offer A Business Judgment Rule Safe Harbor For All Conflicted Controller Transactions, Alex Lindsey Dec 2023

Expanding Mfw: Delaware Law Should Offer A Business Judgment Rule Safe Harbor For All Conflicted Controller Transactions, Alex Lindsey

Fordham Journal of Corporate & Financial Law

While courts usually defer to a board’s business decisions under the business judgment rule, courts will apply a much less deferential standard of review due to loyalty concerns if a conflicted controller is involved in a business decision such as a merger. However, in Kahn v. M & F Worldwide (“MFW”) when a squeeze out merger was challenged by a minority stockholder, the Delaware Supreme Court reviewed the transaction under the deferential business judgment rule standard because the Court found that the structure of the transaction neutralized the controller loyalty concerns. Building on this reasoning, the Court developed a checklist …


The Landscape Of Startup Corporate Governance In The Founder-Friendly Era, Jennifer S. Fan Jan 2022

The Landscape Of Startup Corporate Governance In The Founder-Friendly Era, Jennifer S. Fan

Articles

In corporate governance scholarship, there is an important debate about the nature and roles of the members of the board of directors in venture capital-backed private companies. The impact of a newly emerged, founder-centric model has been underappreciated, while the role of the independent director as tiebreaker or swing vote is vastly overstated. The reality is that corporate governance in these companies is a norm-driven, consensus-building process that rarely spills out into open conflict.

This is the first empirical study of startup corporate governance post-Great Recession and during the pandemic. Using survey and interview methodologies, this Article makes four primary …


Monitoring Facebook, Hillary A. Sale Jan 2022

Monitoring Facebook, Hillary A. Sale

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Few companies still in business have a track record as negative as Facebook. Facebook has paid billions of dollars in government fines and paid hundreds of millions in private settlements. Yet, the financial penalties are actually minimal relative to the harm done. Facebook seems to have been involved one way or another in privacy breaches, organized crime, election manipulation, suicide, and even genocide. Mark Zuckerberg, who still controls Facebook, appears to ignore the consequences of his choices, seemingly prioritizing profits over people. He appears to disregard the law and operate without integrity or honesty, excommunicating insiders who speak out or …


In Re The Walt Disney Co. Derivative Litigation Rewritten, Hillary A. Sale Jan 2022

In Re The Walt Disney Co. Derivative Litigation Rewritten, Hillary A. Sale

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In re The Walt Disney Co. Derivative Litigation is notable for upholding the broad latitude courts afford to boards through the business judgment rule. The case addressed a $130 million termination package delivered to former Disney CEO, Michael Ovitz, after fourteen months of underperformance at the company. This rewritten opinion, to be published in “Feminist Judgements: Rewritten Corporate Law,” (Kelli Alces Williams, Anne Choike, & Usha R. Rodrigues, eds.) (Cambridge Univ. Press, forthcoming 2022), follows the style of the Delaware Supreme Court and reaches the same outcome with a different approach. The opinion expounds on the corporate governance practices in …


Hidden Agendas In Shareholder Voting, Scott Hirst, Adriana Z. Robertson Jan 2022

Hidden Agendas In Shareholder Voting, Scott Hirst, Adriana Z. Robertson

Faculty Scholarship

Nothing in either corporate or securities law requires companies to notify investors what they will be voting on before the record date for a shareholder meeting. We show that, overwhelmingly, they do not. The result is “hidden agendas”: for 88% of shareholder votes, investors cannot find out what they will be voting on before the record date. This poses an especially serious problem for investors who engage in securities lending: they must decide whether the expected benefit of voting exceeds the expected benefit of continuing to lend their shares (or making them available for lending) without knowing what they will …


Whitman And The Fiduciary Relationship Conundrum, Lisa Fairfax Nov 2020

Whitman And The Fiduciary Relationship Conundrum, Lisa Fairfax

All Faculty Scholarship

While the law on insider trading has been convoluted and, in Judge Jed S. Rakoff’s words, “topsy turvy,” the law on insider trading is supposedly clear on at least one point: insider trading liability is premised upon a fiduciary relationship. Thus, all three seminal U.S. Supreme Court cases articulating the necessary elements for demonstrating any form of insider trading liability under § 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 made crystal clear that a fiduciary relationship represented the lynchpin for such liability.

Alas, insider trading law is not clear about the source from which the fiduciary …


Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls: Fiduciary Duties In Venture Capital Backed Startups, Sarath Sanga, Eric L. Talley Jan 2020

Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls: Fiduciary Duties In Venture Capital Backed Startups, Sarath Sanga, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

Venture-capital-backed startups are often crucibles of conflict between common and preferred shareholders, particularly around exit decisions. Such conflicts are so common, in fact, that they have catalyzed an emergent judicial precedent – the Trados doctrine – that requires boards to prioritize common shareholders' interest and to treat preferred shareholders as contractual claimants. We evaluate the Trados doctrine using a model of startup governance that interacts capital structure, corporate governance, and liability rules. The nature and degree of inter-shareholder conflict turns not only on the relative rights and options of equity participants, but also on a firm's intrinsic value as well …


Board Compliance, John Armour, Brandon L. Garrett, Jeffrey N. Gordon, Geeyoung Min Jan 2020

Board Compliance, John Armour, Brandon L. Garrett, Jeffrey N. Gordon, Geeyoung Min

Faculty Scholarship

What role do corporate boards play in compliance? Compliance programs are internal enforcement programs, whereby firms train, monitor and discipline employees with respect to applicable laws and regulations. Corporate enforcement and compliance failures could not be more high-profile, and have placed boards in the position of responding to systemic problems. Both case law on boards’ fiduciary duties and guidance from prosecutors suggest that the board should have a continuing role in overseeing compliance activity. Yet very little is actually known about the role of boards in compliance. This paper offers the first empirical account of public companies’ engagement with compliance …


Law And Corporate Governance, Robert P. Bartlett, Eric L. Talley Aug 2019

Law And Corporate Governance, Robert P. Bartlett, Eric L. Talley

Robert Bartlett

Pragmatic and effective research on corporate governance often turns critically on appreciating the legal institutions surrounding corporate entities – yet such nuances are often unfamiliar or poorly specified to economists and other social scientists without legal training. This chapter organizes and discusses key legal concepts of corporate governance, including statutes, regulations, and jurisprudential doctrines that “govern governance” in private and public companies, with concentration on the for-profit corporation. We review the literature concerning the nature and purpose of the corporation, the objects of fiduciary obligations, the means for decision making within the firm, as well as the overlay of state …


In Whose Interests Should A Company Be Run? Fiduciary Duties Of Directors During Corporate Failure In India: Looking To The West For Answers, Gautam Sundaresh May 2019

In Whose Interests Should A Company Be Run? Fiduciary Duties Of Directors During Corporate Failure In India: Looking To The West For Answers, Gautam Sundaresh

Michigan Business & Entrepreneurial Law Review

This Comment looks at the debate as it has played out in the legal jurisprudence of the U.S. and the U.K. The analysis of each considers the three financial stages of a corporation’s existence that are specifically addressed in the debate today, i.e.: (i) solvency; (ii) insolvency; and (iii) the zone of insolvency. After setting out the current position, this Comment specifically addresses the various shortcomings and criticisms of the models adopted by each jurisdiction and offers observations on the status quo and the implementation of these models. On this basis, this Comment goes on to propose a model to …


Toward A Horizontal Fiduciary Duty In Corporate Law, Asaf Eckstein, Gideon Parchomovsky May 2019

Toward A Horizontal Fiduciary Duty In Corporate Law, Asaf Eckstein, Gideon Parchomovsky

All Faculty Scholarship

Fiduciary duty is arguably the single most important aspect of our corporate law system. It consists of two distinct sub-duties—a duty of care and a duty of loyalty—and it applies to all directors and corporate officers. Yet, under extant law, the duty only applies vertically, in the relationship between directors and corporate officers and the firm. At present, there exists no horizontal fiduciary duty: directors and corporate officers owe no fiduciary duty to each other. Consequently, if one of them fails her peers, they cannot seek direct legal recourse against her even when they stand to suffer significant reputational and …


Corporate Disobedience, Elizabeth Pollman Jan 2019

Corporate Disobedience, Elizabeth Pollman

All Faculty Scholarship

Corporate law has long taken a dim view of corporate lawbreaking. Corporations can be chartered only for lawful activity. Contemporary case law characterizes intentional violations of law as a breach of the fiduciary duties of good faith and loyalty. While recognizing that rule breaking raises significant social and moral concerns, this Article suggests that corporate law and academic debate have overlooked important aspects of corporate disobedience. This Article provides an overview of corporate disobedience and illuminates the role that it has played in entrepreneurship and legal change. Corporations violate laws for a variety of reasons, including as part of efforts …


Startup Governance, Elizabeth Pollman Jan 2019

Startup Governance, Elizabeth Pollman

All Faculty Scholarship

Although previously considered rare, over three hundred startups have reached valuations over a billion dollars. Thousands of smaller startups aim to follow in their paths. Despite the enormous social and economic impact of venture-backed startups, their internal governance receives scant scholarly attention. Longstanding theories of corporate ownership and governance do not capture the special features of startups. They can grow large with ownership shared by diverse participants, and they face issues that do not fit the dominant principal-agent paradigm of public corporations or the classic narrative of controlling shareholders in closely held corporations.

This Article offers an original, comprehensive framework …


The Elephant In The Room: Helping Delaware Courts Develop Law To End Systemic Short-Term Bias In Corporate Decision-Making, Kenneth Mcneil, Keith Johnson Oct 2018

The Elephant In The Room: Helping Delaware Courts Develop Law To End Systemic Short-Term Bias In Corporate Decision-Making, Kenneth Mcneil, Keith Johnson

Michigan Business & Entrepreneurial Law Review

Short-termism in corporate decision-making is as problematic for long-term investors as relying on a three-mile radar on a supertanker. It is totally inadequate for handling the long-term risks and opportunities faced by the modern corporation. Yet recent empirical research shows that up to 85% of the S&P 1500 have no long-term planning. This is costing pension funds and other long-term investors dearly. For instance, the small minority of companies that do long-term planning and risk management had a long-term profitability that was 81% higher than their peers during the 2001–2014 period—with less stock volatility that costs investors dearly as well. …


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 …


Vicarious Charity: Social Responsibility And Catholic Social Teaching, Paula Dalley Sep 2018

Vicarious Charity: Social Responsibility And Catholic Social Teaching, Paula Dalley

Journal of Catholic Legal Studies

(Excerpt)

This Article begins with a brief introduction to the CSR debate. Part II describes the legal role of various human actors in the corporation, and Part III describes the legal restrictions on those actors’ socially responsible, but unauthorized, decisions. Part IV describes in some detail the relevant social teaching of the Catholic Church and explains that it does not apply to corporations or other corporate actors. Part V then describes the appropriate application of Catholic social doctrine to economic actors.


The Diminishing Duty Of Loyalty, Julian Velasco Apr 2018

The Diminishing Duty Of Loyalty, Julian Velasco

Washington and Lee Law Review

Fiduciary duties comprise an integral part of corporate law. It is generally understood that directors owe the corporation and its shareholders two fiduciary duties: the duty of care and the duty of loyalty. Although both duties are firmly established in corporate law, they are not treated equally. It is generally understood that the duty of loyalty is enforced far more rigorously than the duty of care. The justification for this dichotomy is twofold. First, differential treatment is appropriate because of the relative urgencies of the underlying subject matter: loyalty issues pose greater risks than do care issues. Second, the deference …


Polishing Up Wisconsin's Fiduciary Duties In Llc Law To Attract New Suitors, Collin D. Brunk Mar 2018

Polishing Up Wisconsin's Fiduciary Duties In Llc Law To Attract New Suitors, Collin D. Brunk

Marquette Law Review

None


The Cambridge Handbook Of Social Enterprise Law, Lloyd Histoshi Mayer, Paul B. Miller Jan 2018

The Cambridge Handbook Of Social Enterprise Law, Lloyd Histoshi Mayer, Paul B. Miller

Books

Book Chapters

Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer, Creating a Tax Space for Social Enterprise, in The Cambridge Handbook of Social Enterprise Law 157 (Benjamin Means & Joseph W. Yockey eds., 2018)

While still relatively few in number compared to traditional nonprofit and for-profit organizations, the rise of social enterprises represents a possible disruption of not only existing models of doing business but also areas of law that in many respects have seen little fundamental change for decades. One such area is domestic tax law, where social enterprises currently find themselves subject to the rules of for-profit activities and entities. Here, both scholars …


Sexual Harassment And Corporate Law, Daniel Hemel, Dorothy S. Lund Jan 2018

Sexual Harassment And Corporate Law, Daniel Hemel, Dorothy S. Lund

Faculty Scholarship

The #MeToo movement has shaken corporate America in recent months, leading to the departures of several high-profile executives as well as sharp stock price declines at a number of firms. Investors have taken notice and taken action: Shareholders at more than a half dozen publicly traded companies have filed lawsuits since the start of 2017 alleging that corporate fiduciaries breached state law duties or violated federal securities laws in connection with sexual harassment scandals. Additional suits are likely in the coming months.

This Article examines the role of corporate and securities law in regulating and remedying workplace sexual misconduct. We …


The "New" Fiduciary Standards Under The Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act: More Bottom Bumping From Nccusl, Rutheford B. Campbell Jr. Oct 2017

The "New" Fiduciary Standards Under The Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act: More Bottom Bumping From Nccusl, Rutheford B. Campbell Jr.

Maine Law Review

Between 1995 and 2001, the influential National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) promulgated iterations of uniform laws pertaining to partnerships, limited partnerships and limited liability companies. One or more of those acts have been widely adopted by state legislatures. Each of the three acts—the Uniform Partnership Act (1997) (hereinafter RUPA), the Uniform Limited Partnership Act (2001) (hereinafter ULPA (2001)), and the Uniform Limited Liability Company Act (1996) (hereinafter ULLCA) —contains identical fiduciary duty provisions. The acts all adopt the same standards for the duty of care and the duty of loyalty, and offer parties the same limited …


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 or …


The Fiduciary Enterprise Of Corporate Law, Christopher M. Bruner Apr 2017

The Fiduciary Enterprise Of Corporate Law, Christopher M. Bruner

Washington and Lee Law Review

No abstract provided.


Fiduciary Duties Of Corporate Directors In Uncertain Times, Ellen J. Odoner, Stephen A. Radin, Lyuba A. Goltser, Andrew E. Blumberg Jan 2017

Fiduciary Duties Of Corporate Directors In Uncertain Times, Ellen J. Odoner, Stephen A. Radin, Lyuba A. Goltser, Andrew E. Blumberg

Ira M. Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership

Directors addressing new political uncertainties, a host of heightened challenges and asserted “best practices” from many sources may understandably ask whether their fiduciary duties have changed as well. This paper synthesizes the latest decisions of the Delaware courts on the standards of conduct for directors and the standards by which their conduct is reviewed. While directors should expect uncertainty to be a fact of corporate life for the foreseeable future, this paper emphasizes that neither the fiduciary duties of directors nor the protections afforded them have changed. Disinterested and independent directors acting in good faith continue to have broad protections …


Board Excellence And Fiduciary Duties Of Corporate Directors, E. Norman Veasey, Ira M. Millstein Jan 2017

Board Excellence And Fiduciary Duties Of Corporate Directors, E. Norman Veasey, Ira M. Millstein

Ira M. Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership

This article is intended for corporate directors and explores the key issues that directors should understand with respect to their fiduciary duties. An accompanying paper authored by Ellen Odoner, Stephen Radin, Lyuba Goltser, and Andrew Blumberg of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP provides a detailed analysis of the concepts discussed in this article and is recommended to general counsel, as they advise their corporate boards with respect to their fiduciary duties, as well as directors who wish to have a better understanding of their own fiduciary duties.


The Fiduciary Enterprise Of Corporate Law, Christopher Bruner Jan 2017

The Fiduciary Enterprise Of Corporate Law, Christopher Bruner

Scholarly Works

No abstract provided.


Corporate Power Is Corporate Purpose Ii: An Encouragement For Future Consideration From Professors Johnson And Millon, Leo E. Strine Jr. Jan 2017

Corporate Power Is Corporate Purpose Ii: An Encouragement For Future Consideration From Professors Johnson And Millon, Leo E. Strine Jr.

All Faculty Scholarship

This paper is the second in a series considering the argument that corporate laws that give only rights to stockholders somehow implicitly empower directors to regard other constituencies as equal ends in governance. This piece was written as part of a symposium honoring the outstanding work of Professors Lyman Johnson and David Millon, and it seeks to encourage Professors Johnson and Millon, as proponents of the view that corporations have no duty to make stockholder welfare the end of corporate law, to focus on the reality that corporate power translates into corporate purpose.

Drawing on examples of controlled companies that …


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 …


How Do Llc Owners Contract Around Default Statutory Protections?, Peter Molk Jan 2017

How Do Llc Owners Contract Around Default Statutory Protections?, Peter Molk

UF Law Faculty Publications

Limited liability companies are built on the idea of contractual freedom. Unlike other business organization forms, most owner protections apply only by default to LLCs, which are free to waive or modify them as desired. This freedom promises economic efficiency if parties are sophisticated but raises the potential for opportunism by relatively more sophisticated managers and majority owners. While companies ranging from small landscape firms to Chrysler and Fidelity organize as LLCs, remarkably little is known about whether or how LLCs use this contractual flexibility. I analyze the operating agreements of 283 privately owned LLCs organized under Delaware and New …