Justia Mergers & Acquisitions Opinion Summaries

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Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 156C, 60(b) provides the exclusive remedy for dissenting members of a limited liability company that has voted to merge, so long as the merger is undertaken in accordance with Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 156C, 59-63.In this case, a member of a limited liability company (LLC) conducted a merger in breach of his fiduciary and contractual duties. The judge granted equitable relief. At issue was whether distribution of dissenting members’ interest in the LLC is the exclusive remedy of minority shareholders who objected to the merger and whether the judge erred in declining to rescind the merger. The Supreme Court held (1) where, as here, a merger was not conducted in compliance with Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 156C, 63, the remedy provided by Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 156C, 60(b) providing for distribution of dissenting members’ interest is not exclusive; (2) the trial judge did not abuse his discretion in fashioning an equitable remedy in this case, as rescission of the merger would be complicated and inequitable; and (3) the portion of the trial judge’s decision that increased Plaintiff’s interest in the merged LLC to five percent is remanded because there was no basis in the record for that figure. View "Allison v. Eriksson" on Justia Law

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Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 156C, 60(b) provides the exclusive remedy for dissenting members of a limited liability company that has voted to merge, so long as the merger is undertaken in accordance with Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 156C, 59-63.In this case, a member of a limited liability company (LLC) conducted a merger in breach of his fiduciary and contractual duties. The judge granted equitable relief. At issue was whether distribution of dissenting members’ interest in the LLC is the exclusive remedy of minority shareholders who objected to the merger and whether the judge erred in declining to rescind the merger. The Supreme Court held (1) where, as here, a merger was not conducted in compliance with Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 156C, 63, the remedy provided by Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 156C, 60(b) providing for distribution of dissenting members’ interest is not exclusive; (2) the trial judge did not abuse his discretion in fashioning an equitable remedy in this case, as rescission of the merger would be complicated and inequitable; and (3) the portion of the trial judge’s decision that increased Plaintiff’s interest in the merged LLC to five percent is remanded because there was no basis in the record for that figure. View "Allison v. Eriksson" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit reversed the district court’s denial of Eric Blattman’s motion to compel Thomas Scaramellino to respond to questions regarding certain documents in this appeal arising out of a civil action brought in a Delaware federal court concerning a corporate merger between Efficiency 2.0 LLC (E2.0) and C3, Inc.As part of the Delaware action, Blattman attempted to depose Scaramellino, the founder of E2.0. At the deposition, Scaramellino refused to answer questions about the documents at issue by asserting attorney-client privilege and work-product protection. Blattman filed a motion to compel Scaramellino to respond to his questions regarding the documents. The district court denied the motion to compel based on Scaramellino’s assertion of the work-product protection. The First Circuit reversed, holding that the district court erred in ruling that Scaramellino was entitled to assert the work-product protection to defeat Blattman’s motion to compel. View "Blattman v. Scaramellino" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit reversed the district court’s denial of Eric Blattman’s motion to compel Thomas Scaramellino to respond to questions regarding certain documents in this appeal arising out of a civil action brought in a Delaware federal court concerning a corporate merger between Efficiency 2.0 LLC (E2.0) and C3, Inc.As part of the Delaware action, Blattman attempted to depose Scaramellino, the founder of E2.0. At the deposition, Scaramellino refused to answer questions about the documents at issue by asserting attorney-client privilege and work-product protection. Blattman filed a motion to compel Scaramellino to respond to his questions regarding the documents. The district court denied the motion to compel based on Scaramellino’s assertion of the work-product protection. The First Circuit reversed, holding that the district court erred in ruling that Scaramellino was entitled to assert the work-product protection to defeat Blattman’s motion to compel. View "Blattman v. Scaramellino" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the ruling of the circuit court denying Petitioners’ motion for leave to file a second amended complaint and dismissing their pending amended complaint, holding that the circuit court did not err in concluding that, under controlling Delaware law, Petitioners lacked standing to pursue a derivative shareholder suit.Petitioners filed a derivative lawsuit alleging claims of breach of fiduciary duties against Massey Energy Company’s Board of Directors and corporate officers. Subsequently, faced with a potential merger between Massey and Alpha Natural Resources, Inc., Petitioners filed a motion for leave to file a second amended complaint seeking to add individual and class action claims on behalf of the shareholders themselves. After the merger, Respondents moved oi dismiss Petitioners’ amended complaint and motion for leave to file the proposed second amended complaint, arguing that, after the merger, Petitioners were no longer Massey shareholders and lacked standing to assert derivative claims, and that amending their complaint a second time would be futile. The circuit court dismissed the amended complaint and denied the motion for leave to file the second amended complaint. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no error in the circuit court’s order because Petitioners were no longer Massey shareholders. View "California State Teachers' Retirement System v. Blankenship" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed two orders of the circuit court unsealing an index of 349 documents and directing the Attorney General to produce eighty-nine of those documents.Steel of West Virginia, Inc. (Steel) brought this action to enforce its request for production of material under West Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The Attorney General received the 349 documents at issue in connection with his investigative powers under the West Virginia Antitrust Act regarding the proposed merger of St. Mary’s Medical Center, Inc. and Cabell Huntington Hospital, Inc. The Attorney General and St. Mary’s contended that the index of the 349 documents and the eighty-nine documents to be produced were exempt from disclosure. The circuit court awarded the production of the index as a sanction against the Attorney General for sharing part of the index with the Federal Trade Commission. The Supreme Court held (1) the sanction was inappropriate; and (2) the eighty-nine documents were not subject to rpdocution because the statutory exemption set forth in W.Va. Code 29B-1-4, which incorporates the confidentiality provisions of the Antitrust Act. View "St. Mary's Medical Center, Inc. v. Steel of West Virginia" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed two orders of the circuit court unsealing an index of 349 documents and directing the Attorney General to produce eighty-nine of those documents.Steel of West Virginia, Inc. (Steel) brought this action to enforce its request for production of material under West Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The Attorney General received the 349 documents at issue in connection with his investigative powers under the West Virginia Antitrust Act regarding the proposed merger of St. Mary’s Medical Center, Inc. and Cabell Huntington Hospital, Inc. The Attorney General and St. Mary’s contended that the index of the 349 documents and the eighty-nine documents to be produced were exempt from disclosure. The circuit court awarded the production of the index as a sanction against the Attorney General for sharing part of the index with the Federal Trade Commission. The Supreme Court held (1) the sanction was inappropriate; and (2) the eighty-nine documents were not subject to rpdocution because the statutory exemption set forth in W.Va. Code 29B-1-4, which incorporates the confidentiality provisions of the Antitrust Act. View "St. Mary's Medical Center, Inc. v. Steel of West Virginia" on Justia Law

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In this action arising out of a reclassification of the shares of NRG Yield, Inc. (“Yield”), a stockholder alleged that members of the Yield board breached their fiduciary duties by approving the reclassification and that NRG Energy, Inc. (“NRG”), which managed Yield’s daily affairs, breached its fiduciary duty by causing Yield to undertake the reclassification. The Court of Chancery dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim for relief, holding (1) the reclassification was a conflicted transaction subject to entire fairness review; (2) the analytical framework articulated in Kahn v. M&F Worldwide Corp., 88 A.3d 635 (Del. 2014), applied to the reclassification; and (3) that framework was satisfied in this case from the face of the pleadings. View "IRA Trust FBO Bobbie Ahmed v. Crane" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a verified complaint against West to inspect its books and records under Section 220 of the Delaware General Corporation Law (DGCL). The Delaware Court of Chancery held in this post-trial opinion that plaintiff has demonstrated, by a preponderance of the evidence, a credible basis from which the court can infer that wrongdoing related to the merger may have occurred. The court rejected West's argument that the Corwin doctrine would stand as an impediment to an otherwise properly supported demand for inspection under Section 220. The court explained that any contrary finding would invite defendants improperly to draw the court into adjudicating merits defenses to potential underlying claims in order to defeat otherwise properly supported Section 220 demands. Furthermore, the court should not prematurely adjudicate a Corwin defense when to do so might deprive a putative stockholder plaintiff of the ability to use Section 220 as a means to enhance the quality of his pleading. Therefore, the court ordered a judgment entered in favor of plaintiff and directed West to allow inspection of the books and records at issue. View "Lavin v. West Corp." on Justia Law

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The Court of Chancery dismissed a case brought by Plaintiff, a stockholder in The Fresh Market, alleging a breach of fiduciary duty by the Market’s directors and that Brett Berry, a former CEO and former vice chairman of the company’s board, aided and abetted that breach of fiduciary duty. The Market was acquired by an entity controlled by a private equity firm, and the founder of the Market rolled his equity ownership in the Market into the acquirer as part of the deal. The court held that because there was no coercion applied to the fully informed vote of the common stockholders ratifying the decision of the directors that the merger was in the stockholders’ best interest and the vote was adequately informed so as to serve as a ratification of the board’s decision, the matter must be dismissed. View "Morrison v. Berry" on Justia Law