In Brown v. Rite Aid Corp., C.A. No. 2017-0480-MTZ (Del. Ch. May 24, 2019), the Delaware Court of Chancery granted the motion for partial summary judgment of plaintiff Franklin Brown (“Brown”), entitling Brown to indemnification by defendant Rite Aid Corporation (“Rite Aid”) for legal fees and expenses Brown incurred in proceedings arising out of a corporate fraud and accounting scandal in 2002. The court re-affirmed the principles that mandatory indemnification is dependent strictly on the outcome of the underlying action and that the “indemnitee need not be adjudged innocent in some ethical or moral sense,” a defendant need not pursue victory efficiently, and that indemnification is based on the reason by which a defendant is party to the action.Read More
In In Re Appraisal of Dell, C.A. No. 9322-VCL (Del. Ch. October 17, 2016), previously discussed here, the law firm representing Dell Inc.’s stockholders in appraisal proceedings challenging the valuation of shares in connection with Dell’s 2013 “go-private” merger was awarded approximately $4 million in advanced expenses and $4 million in attorneys’ fees. The Delaware Court of Chancery held that the amounts were reasonable and that the expenses and fees should be allocated pro rata among the appraisal class. Since this was a case where counsel had incurred significant out-of-pocket expenses, the court held that the approach that best balanced the interests of the attorneys and the class was to deduct reimbursable expenses first, then award a fee based on the net benefit achieved.
In Narayanan v. Sutherland Global Holdings C.A. No. 11757-VCMR (Del. Ch. July 5, 2016), Vice Chancellor Montgomery-Reeves of the Delaware Chancery Court held, in a post-trial opinion, that the bylaws of Sutherland Global Holdings, Inc. (“Sutherland”) and an indemnification agreement between Sutherland and Plaintiff Muthu Narayanan (“Plaintiff”) are disjunctive and must be read separately, allowing Plaintiff to prevail on his claim for advancement of legal fees and expenses.
Following the settlement of In re Jefferies Group, Inc. Shareholders Litigation on March 26, 2015, the court issued this opinion on June 5, 2015 in response to plaintiffs’ Delaware counsel’s application for an award of attorneys’ fees and a motion by plaintiffs’ New York counsel for a share of that fee award. The court held that the Delaware counsel’s attorneys’ fees should be calculated on a gross basis, granting Delaware counsel an award of approximately 23.5% of the gross value of the settlement, and denied New York counsel’s motion for a share of that fee award.
On March 1, 2013, Jefferies Group, Inc. and Leucadia National Corporation consummated a stock-for-stock merger. On November 14, 2012, two days after the transaction was announced, the first of seven actions challenging the transaction was filed in New York state court. Eventually, the New York actions were stayed and the case proceeded in Delaware. The parties ultimately agreed to settle for payment of $70 million to the class, which settlement was approved by the court. The settlement contemplated that any award of attorneys’ fees would be in addition to the $70 million payment, with the defendants retaining the right to oppose the fee application.