Topic: Fraudulent Conveyance

COURT BALKS AT ARTFUL PLEADING: COURT OF CHANCERY LACKED SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION TO HEAR ACTION FOR COLLECTION OF DEBT

By Scott E. Waxman and Max E. Kaplan

In Yu v. GSM Nation, LLC, C.A. No. 12293-VCMR (Del. Ch. July 7, 2017), the Court of Chancery dismissed the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.  Looking at the complaint holistically, the Court found plaintiff’s nominal pleading of equitable claims and relief insufficient to create jurisdiction where the alleged non-repayment of debt could be adequately remedied at law.

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Delaware Chancery Court Denies Creditor Plaintiff’s Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Fraudulent Transfer, and Breach of Covenant Claims

By Scott Waxman and Dotun Obadina

In Quadrant Structured Products Company v. Vertin, plaintiff creditor Quadrant Structured Products Company, Ltd. (“Quadrant”) asserted claims against defendant Athilon Capital Corporation (“Athilon” or the “Company”), challenging transactions made by Athilon in which Athilon purchased securities and notes from Merced Capital, L.P. and its affiliates (together, “Merced”), owners of 100% of the Athilon’s equity and significant amounts of Athilon’s publicly-traded junior and senior notes.[1]  Quadrant contended at trial that the repurchase of Merced’s notes breached express covenants in the indenture governing the notes and also violated the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.  Quadrant also contended that the repurchases of the notes constituted a fraudulent transfer.  Finally, relying on its status as a creditor of an insolvent company, Quadrant claimed derivatively that the repurchases of the notes and securities constituted breaches of fiduciary duty by Merced and the individual defendants, who comprised Athilon’s board of directors.  The court rejected all of Quadrant’s claims.

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Lake Treasure Holdings, Ltd., et al v. Foundry Hill GP, LLC, et al and Foundry Hill Holdings, LP and CP-1 LLC, C.A. No. 6546-VCL (October 10, 2014) (Laster, V.C.)

By Eric Feldman and Porter Sesnon

In Lake Treasure Holdings, Ltd., the plaintiffs, investors in a now-defunct start-up, Foundry Hill Holdings LP (the “Partnership”), sued the Partnership, one of its founders (Ulric Taylor (“Taylor”)),  one of Taylor’s subsequent business partners (Christopher Klee (“Klee”)), and various other Partnership-related entities and operating subsidiaries for breach of fiduciary duty and aiding and abetting the breach of fiduciary duty, as well as under the Delaware Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (“DUFTA”) and Delaware Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“DUTSA”), in connection with a series of transactions whereby all of the assets of the Partnership were ultimately transferred to entities owned and/or controlled by Taylor and Klee. 

Taylor controlled the Partnership through his control of the Partnership’s general partner.  As a result, the Court initially found that Taylor owed fiduciary duties, including the duty of loyalty, to the Partnership and its limited partners.  In analyzing the transactions at issue, the Court further found that Taylor stood on both sides of such transactions and that therefore the entire fairness standard applied in analyzing such transactions.  In applying the entire fairness test, the Court held that Taylor had breached his duty of loyalty when he granted a security interest in all of the assets of the Partnership, including its primary asset, high frequency trading software, to Klee in exchange for a $28,000 loan from Klee to the Partnership.  Prior to the $28,000 loan by Klee, Taylor and Klee had previously contemplated Klee purchasing the software for $500,000 with an enterprise valuation of $3 million. 3 months following the granting of the security interest, as foreseen by Taylor and Klee at the time the loan was made, the Partnership defaulted on the loan, Klee foreclosed on the security interest, and Taylor amicably surrendered all of the assets of the Partnership, including all interest in the software, to an entity controlled by Klee.  The Court determined that Taylor and Klee “acted in concert to move the Partnership’s high frequency trading software out of the Partnership and into an entity where Taylor and Klee could enjoy its benefits.”  Upon finding the fiduciary duty breach by Taylor, the Court then also found that Klee had aided and abetted such breach of fiduciary duty.

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