Since the Court’s decision in ATP Tour, a number of commentators have assumed that it applies equally to for-profit, stock corporations.76 The Delaware Supreme Court did not say that in ATP Tour, so this remains an open question. …
Several companies have adopted one-way fee-shifting bylaws in the wake of ATP Tour despite the current uncertainty surrounding their validity. …
Another category of bylaw generating discussion, but not yet litigation in Delaware, is a mandatory arbitration bylaw covering intra-corporate disputes that waives a shareholder’s right to a class action. Some commentators have concluded that a board has the unilateral power to do this after the Boilermakers decision. However, in Boilermakers, then-Chancellor Strine expressly noted that the bylaw at issue did not regulate whether the stockholder may file suit.
24 companies have adopted fee-shifting bylaws since May, according to Professor John Coffee in his testimony before the SEC Investor Advisory Committee. … Professor Coffee criticizes fee-shifting bylaws for being generally one-sided, reimbursing successful defendants but not successful plaintiffs, unlike the English Rule.
It appears that the SEC has not weighed in on fee-shifting bylaws so far. As described in this Reuters blog, at least two IPOs with fee-shifting provisions have been completed. There has been criticisms not only about the substance of those provisions, but also the disclosure surrounding their existence.
オクラホマ州で，fee shifting provisionに関する立法がなされ，代表訴訟において敗訴者負担が定められたようです。
Oklahoma represents the first state to intervene in the debate legislatively. The State adopted a provision mandating the shifting of fees in derivative suits. The provision specifically applies to derivative suits “instituted by a shareholder” where there is a “final judgment.” In those circumstances, the court “shall require the nonprevailing party or parties to pay the prevailing party or parties the reasonable expenses, including attorney fees . . . incurred as a result of such action.”
Litigation Costs. To the fullest extent permitted by law, in the event that (i) any current or prior stockholder or anyone on their behalf (“Claiming Party”) initiates or asserts any claim or counterclaim (“Claim”) or joins, offers substantial assistance to, or has a direct financial interest in any Claim against the Corporation and/or any Director, Officer, Employee or Affiliate, and (ii) the Claiming Party (or the third party that received substantial assistance from the Claiming Party or in whose Claim the Claiming Party had a direct financial interest) does not obtain a judgment on the merits that substantially achieves, in substance and amount, the full remedy sought, then each Claiming Party shall be obligated jointly and severally to reimburse the Corporation and any such Director, Officer, Employee or Affiliate, the greatest amount permitted by law of all fees, costs and expenses of every kind and description (including but not limited to, all reasonable attorney’s fees and other litigation expenses) (collectively, “Litigation Costs”) that the parties may incur in connection with such Claim.
via Brian JM Quinn
This Opinion constitutes the Court’s response to four certified questions of law concerning the validity of a fee-shifting provision in a Delaware non-stock corporation’s bylaws. The provision, which the directors adopted pursuant to their charter-delegated power to unilaterally amend the bylaws, shifts attorneys’ fees and costs to unsuccessful plaintiffs in intra-corporate litigation. The United States District Court for the District of Delaware found that the bylaw provision’s validity was an open question under Delaware law and certified four questions to this Court, asking it to decide whether, and under what circumstances, such a provision is valid and enforceable. Although we cannot directly address the bylaw at issue, we hold that fee-shifting provisions in a non-stock corporation’s bylaws can be valid and enforceable under Delaware law.
New Section 331 is intended to confirm and codify the limited liability nature of corporations by expressly stating that provisions in a certificate of incorporation or bylaw may not impose monetary liability on stockholders, except in the very limited circumstances already provided for in the Delaware General Corporation Law. In ATP Tours, Inc. v. Deutscher Tennis Bund (No. 534, 2013, May 8, 2014), the Delaware Supreme Court upheld as facially valid a bylaw imposing liability for legal fees on certain members of a non-stock corporation who participated in the litigation. Together with the amendments to Section 114, new Section 331 is intended to limit applicability of that holding to non-stock corporations, and to make clear that such liability may not be imposed on holders of stock in stock corporations.
The Delaware legislature has postponed until early 2015 discussion of a proposed bill that had drawn heat from the Chamber, among others, the bill’s sponsor confirmed Wednesday. … “I certainly believe that we should not permit companies carte blanche to adopt these kinds of bylaws,” Sen. Bryan Townsend, who sponsored the bill, said in an interview. “But we have heard from a broad group of stakeholders and thought it best to take the coming months to continue our examination of the issue.”
Bryan Townsent氏は，Davis Polkのsummer associateの頃に会ったことがあります。その後，彼は政治の道を選んだので，結局，DPWには入所しなかったのですが，既に州議会のsenatorとは。