Court of Chancery Questions Special Litigation Committee's Independence and Investigation; Denies Motion to Dismiss Litigation

In London v. Tyrrell et al., C.A. No. 3321-CC (March 11, 2010), read opinion here, the Court of Chancery denied a special litigation committee's ("SLC") motion to dismiss a shareholder's lawsuit under Zapata Corp. v. Maldonado, 430 A.2d 779 (Del. 1981) because there were material questions of fact regarding: (1) the SLC's independence, (2) the good faith of its investigation, and (3) the reasonableness of the grounds upon which the SLC recommended dismissal of the lawsuit.  A prior Chancery ruling in this case was highlighted on this blog here.

Kevin Brady, a highly regarded Delaware litigator, prepared this synopsis.

Background

In 1996, plaintiffs Craig London and James Hunt and defendants Patrick Neven and Walter Hupalo, and others founded iGov, a government contracting firm. In 2005, after changing its focus, iGov won a 5-year $300 million contract with the United States Special Operations Command (the "TACLAN" contract). Because of the expenses it incurred in reinventing itself, iGov's CEO, Neven, hired Michael Tyrrell as a consultant (he later replaced London as CFO of iGov) to help iGov find a lender to supply it with an operating line of credit. Textron Financial surfaced as a possible candidate. Around the same time, defendants decided that it would be advisable to implement an equity incentive plan (the "2007 Plan") for the benefit of key members of management. Chessiecap Securities, Inc. was retained to value iGov stock for purposes of setting the exercise price of options for the 2007 Plan.

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