Articles Posted in Class Action

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Caris Life Sciences, Inc. operated three business units: Caris Diagnostics, TargetNow and Casrisome. The Diagnostics unit was consistently profitable. TargetNow generated revenue but not profits, and Carisome was in the developmental stage. To secure financing for TargetNow and Carisome, Caris sold Caris Diagnostics to Miraca Holdings. The transaction was structured using a "spin/merge" structure: Caris transferred ownership of TargetNow and Carisome to a new subsidiary, then spun off that subsidiary to its stockholders. Owning only Caris Diagnostics, Caris merged with a wholly owned subsidiary of Miraca. Plaintiff Kurt Fox sued on behalf of a class of option holders of Caris. Fox alleged that Caris breached the terms of the Stock Incentive Plan because members of management as Plan Administrator, rather than the Board of Directors, determined how much the option holders would receive. Regardless of who made the determination, the $0.61 per share attributed to the spun off company was not a good faith determination, and resulted from an arbitrary and capricious process. The Court of Chancery found that fair market value was not determined, and the value received by the option holders was not determined in good faith and that the ultimate value per option was determined through a process that was "arbitrary and capricious." Caris appealed, arguing the Court of Chancery erred in arriving at its judgment. Finding no reversible error in the Court of Chancery's judgment, the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed. View "CDX Holdings, Inc. v. Fox" on Justia Law

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The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit certified a question of law arising out of an appeal of a decision by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida to the Delaware Supreme Court. Paulson Advantage Plus, L.P. (the “Investment Fund”) was a Delaware limited partnership that invested in corporate securities. Paulson Advisers, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, and Paulson & Co., a Delaware corporation (the Investment Fund Managers) were the general partners and managers of the Investment Fund. One of the Investment Fund’s limited partners was HedgeForum Paulson Advantage Plus, LLC, (the “Feeder Fund”). The Feeder Fund was managed and sponsored by Citigroup Alternative Investments, LLC. AMACAR CPO, Inc. was the Feeder Fund’s managing member. Along with other investors, Plaintiff-appellant Hugh Culverhouse was a member of the Feeder Fund, not a limited partner in the Investment Fund. Culverhouse filed a putative class action against the Investment Fund Managers in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The first amended complaint alleged that between 2007 and 2011, the Investment Fund invested about $800 million in a Chinese forestry company. Following another investment firm’s report claiming that the forestry company had overstated its timber holdings and engaged in questionable related-party transactions, the Investment Fund sold its holdings for about a $460 million loss. On appeal of the dismissal for lack of standing, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit determined that resolution of the appeal depended on an unsettled issue of Delaware law. The Eleventh Circuit posited the question to the Delaware Supreme Court on whether the diminution in the value of a limited liability company, serving as a feeder fund in a limited partnership, provides a basis for an investor’s direct suit against the general partners when the company and the partnership allocated losses to investors’ individual capital accounts and did not issue transferrable shares and losses were shared by investors in proportion to their investments. The Delaware Court answered in the negative. View "Culverhouse v. Paulson & Co., Inc." on Justia Law

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The plaintiffs both have policies with State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and both submitted claims that State Farm failed to pay within the statutory thirty-day period. The plaintiffs earlier alleged that State Farm had failed to make the required statutory interest payments to them and other claimants whose PIP claims had not been processed within thirty days. When that theory did not pan out and they faced summary judgment, the plaintiffs reformulated their pursuit of class-wide relief by proposing to file an amended complaint seeking a declaratory judgment from the Superior Court that State Farm must process all PIP claims within thirty days. The Superior Court denied the motion for leave to amend, reasoning that amending the complaint would be futile because no case or controversy existed because the plaintiffs had been paid the required statutory interest. The court then granted summary judgment to State Farm. In this appeal, the plaintiffs alleged that the Superior Court was wrong to dismiss their claim, arguing that they have a ripe disagreement with State Farm over its failure to comply invariably with the thirty-day deadline set forth in 21 Del. C. 2118B(c). After review, the Supreme Court affirmed the Superior Court, but on a somewhat different ground. The plaintiffs were correct that absent declaratory (or injunctive) relief, it may be that they and other class members will have a claim in the future processed by State Farm in more than thirty days. But, the Court agreed with the Superior Court that the amended complaint is futile because as plainly written, section 2118B(c) did not impose an invariable standard that every PIP claim must be processed within thirty days and, in fact, contemplated that will not be the case by establishing a statutory consequence for the failure to do so. View "Clark v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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Before the Supreme Court, a matter of first impression: "does Delaware recognize cross-jurisdictional tolling?" Plaintiff Jose Blanco was allegedly exposed to a toxic pesticide manufactured by Defendant Dow Chemical Corporation in 1979-1980. In 1993, he entered a class action lawsuit against Defendant in Texas. The case stalled in procedure, with class certification being ultimately denied. Defendants moved to dismiss, citing the run of the two-year statute of limitations. Plaintiff contended on appeal that the putative Texas action tolled the statute of limitations. The Delaware superior court concluded that Delaware recognized the doctrine of cross-jurisdictional class action tolling. Defendants filed for an interlocutory appeal with the Delaware Supreme Court. The Supreme Court held that until class action certification is denied, individual claims are tolled under Delaware law. Accordingly the Court answered the question in the affirmative, and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "The Dow Chemical Corp. v. Blanco" on Justia Law

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The issue before the Supreme Court in this case was whether the Court of Chancery erred in dismissing a derivative and class action complaint against the general partner and other managers of a limited partnership. The governing limited partnership agreement provided that appellees had no liability for money damages as long as they acted in good faith. The Court of Chancery dismissed the complaint because it failed to allege facts that would support a finding of bad faith. After remand, the Court of Chancery held that appellants waived their alternative claims for reformation or rescission. Upon review of the matter, the Supreme Court affirmed.View "Brinckerhoff v. Enbridge Energy Company, Inc." on Justia Law

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Appellant BVF Partners L.P. ("BVF") appealed a Chancery Court certification of Appellee New Orleans Employees' Retirement System ("NOERS") as class representative in this action challenging the acquisition of Celera Corporation ("Celera") by Quest Diagnostics, Inc. ("Quest"). BVF also appealed the Court of Chancery's approval of a class action settlement without an opt out right for BVF between NOERS and Defendants-Appellees Richard H. Ayers, Jean-Luc Belingard, William G. Green, Peter Barton Hutt, Gail M. Naughton, Kathy Ordonez, Wayne I. Roe, Bennett M. Shapiro, Celera Corporation, Quest Diagnostics Incorporated, and Spark Acquisition Corporation ("Spark"). BVF contended that the Court of Chancery erred in certifying NOERS as the class representative, because NOERS lacked standing to represent the class. BVF argued that when NOERS sold its stock in Celera on the public market (before the merger was actually consummated and nearly a year before the Court of Chancery certified the class) NOERS no longer had a legally cognizable stake in the outcome of the litigation. BVF raised multiple other grounds for why the Court of Chancery erred in certifying NOERS as class representative, including that NOERS was uniquely susceptible to equitable defenses and was therefore an improper class representative. Even if that certification was proper, BVF argued that the Court of Chancery should have exercised its discretionary powers to allow BVF to opt out of the class in order to pursue its individual claims for monetary damages against the defendants. Upon review, the Supreme Court agreed with the Court of Chancery that NOERS had standing to represent the class. The Court declined to adopt a rule of law that a shareholder class representative in a breach of fiduciary duty action must own stock in the corporation continuously through the final class certification. With regard to BVF's other arguments regarding NOERS' certification as class representative, the Court found them "unconvincing." The Court concluded that the Court of Chancery did not abuse its discretion in certifying the class, however, there was merit to BVF's claim that the Court of Chancery should have exercised its discretion to allow BVF to opt out of the shareholder class under the circumstances of this case. Accordingly, the Court affirmed in part and reversed in part. View "In Re Celera Corporation Shareholder Litigation, et al. v. New Orleans Employees' Retirement System, et al." on Justia Law