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Recent Delaware and Other Decisions Relevant to the MBCA

This article describes two recent Delaware decisions relevant to the Model Business Corporation Act (the “MBCA”). One of those decisions relates to a board’s determination of the availability of surplus to support distributions to stockholders, and the other upholds, at the motion to dismiss stage, a claim that the directors breached their fiduciary duty by not taking action in response to a stockholder’s demand. In addition, this article describes recent decisions in MBCA states addressing the meaning of “fair value” and the application of director liability shields to exculpate directors from monetary liability. The MBCA is the basis for the corporation statute of at least 36 states.

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Lessons From SEC Enforcement Actions Involving Corporate Lawyers

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has recently brought several ‎enforcement actions that directly or indirectly involved lawyers. These actions provide ‎reminders to lawyers of their professional responsibility in representing clients, including in ‎connection with giving legal opinions and responding to auditors.‎

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SEC Proposes Climate-Related Disclosure Requirements

Earlier this week, the SEC announced proposed rules (Release No. 33-11042) for new, climate-related disclosures. The proposals dramatically expand the requirements of the SEC’s 2010 guidance on climate-related disclosures.  While most large companies have been providing some climate-related information as part of ESG reporting in CSR or Sustainability Reports outside of their SEC filings, these rules, if adopted, will necessitate a significant overhaul of companies’ climate-related analysis, procedures, and reporting and will subject any climate-related disclosure to stricter securities law liability standards.

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Delaware Court Addresses De-SPAC Merger Claims

In an important decision, the Delaware Court of Chancery, in In re Multiplan Corp. Stockholders Litigation, 2022 WL 24060 (Del. Ch. Jan. 3, 2022), in denying the defendants’ motion to dismiss, addressed claims against the sponsor and other insiders of a special purpose acquisition company or “SPAC” for breach of fiduciary duties in connection with a de-SPAC merger. As we mentioned in our QuickStudy, “SPACs and the Implications for D&O Insurance, the Multiplan decision was highly anticipated and is significant because it was the first time the Delaware courts had to grapple with the unique structure of SPACs and determine how to apply fundamental principles of Delaware fiduciary duty law to them.

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Delaware Clarifies That Statutory Appraisal Rights Can Be Waived

Controlling stockholders sometimes seek to limit the ability of new investors in their company to ‎interfere with future exit transactions. They may do this by requiring the new investors to agree ‎to vote in favor of a transaction proposed by the controlling stockholder (a “drag-along ‎agreement”) or to expressly waive any appraisal rights because those rights can create uncertainty ‎for an exit transaction.

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