Delaware Legislature Delays Anti-Fee-Shifting Legislation
In the wake of staunch opposition from the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform and other business groups, the Delaware legislature is putting the brakes on legislation that would prevent corporate “fee-shifting” bylaws in the wake of a recent Delaware court decision allowing such bylaws.
The bill reportedly is being delayed for consideration until January 2015.
The Pipeline reports that ILR and other business groups argued the legislation "would ensure a steady stream of lawsuits in Delaware courts to the benefit of the state's lawyers and the detriment of its companies and their stockholders."
"This was a rush to judgment. That's atypical for Delaware," said ILR’s Matt Webb, who was quoted in that same Pipeline story. "The plaintiffs bar viewed this as a threat and acted accordingly. The business community views securities and M&A litigation just as strongly on the other side."
ILR had weighed in strongly when the bill was first introduced. In a letter to legislators, ILR President Lisa A. Rickard wrote that the court’s decision "gives corporations a way to protect their shareholders against these costs of abusive litigation.”
"Why would the Legislature so quickly deprive shareholders of the opportunity to obtain that protection?” she added.
ILR will continue to staunchly oppose this legislation, as well as to educate lawmakers on the negative impact this bill would have on Delaware’s business climate.
An anti-fee-shifting measure approved by the Delaware state Senate last week is moving to the lower House. SB 75 would prevent companies from adopting bylaws that force activist shareholders to assume attorneys' fees when they file unsuccessful lawsuits over the decisions of corporate officers. (Delaware Law Weekly) Read More »
Yesterday, the Delaware Senate passed legislation that would bar companies from forcing the losers of shareholder lawsuits to cover both parties' legal fees. Critics of the bill, including the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, claim it will take away an important tool for combating abusive lawsuits against businesses and damage Delaware's highly-regarded legal climate. Read More »