Don’t Let the Fox in the Henhouse: Lessons from the El Pollo Loco Decision on Special Litigation Committee Independence

In a recent split decision in Diep v. Trimaran Pollo Partners LLC et al., the Delaware Supreme Court, sitting en banc, addressed the level of independence required of members of Special Litigation Committees recommending dismissal of shareholder derivative actions. (more…)

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Court of Chancery Issues Reminder Regarding Utility of Properly Formed SLCs in Resolving Pending Derivative Claims

For over 40 years, Delaware’s courts have recognized the special litigation committee (“SLC”) as an efficient means of judging the corporate interest served by a derivative suit when the full board is otherwise disabled by self-interest. Paired with that recognition, however, has been a longstanding skepticism of the structural biases that can affect SLC members. In the leading case of Zapata Corp. v. Maldonado, 430 A.2d 779 (Del. 1981), the Delaware Supreme Court warned that courts should “be mindful that directors are passing judgment on fellow directors in the same corporation . . . . The question naturally arises whether a ‘there but for the grace of God go I’ empathy may not play a role. And the further question arises whether inquiry as to independence, good faith and reasonable investigation is sufficient safeguard against abuse, perhaps subconscious abuse.” (more…)

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