Short Sellers, Short Squeezes, and Securities Fraud

Securities fraud and short sellers are strange bedfellows. The stereotypical story involving both happens when short sellers bring to light false statements of issuers, prompting corrective disclosures and giving shareholders a cause of action. At times, issuers accuse these short sellers, usually unsuccessfully, of market manipulation or deception to drive prices down toward the level of their own positions. Courts and regulators have not given much attention, however, to whether the private securities litigation framework works when atypical investors such as derivatives traders and short sellers want to be plaintiffs themselves.

Even for those who believe that private securities fraud … Read more

The Hostile Poison Pill

Whether one ascribes to the agency theory of shareholder primacy or the contractarian theory of director primacy, boards of directors have great discretion in determining whether, when, and how to sell the corporation.  Defensive tactics, like poison pills, can be tools in wielding that discretion in the service of creating shareholder value.  However, a poison pill designed either to oppress a minority shareholder, as in eBay v. Newmark,[1] or to minimize the impact of activist shareholders, as in Versata Enterprises, Inc. v. Selectica, Inc.,[2] seems to exceed the “maximum dosage” of the pill.  The “tax benefits preservation … Read more

The Limited Liability Partnership in Bankruptcy

The last twenty-five years have brought about widespread changes in the organizational forms through which individuals organize economic activity. Once momentum built, the creation of hybrid entities such as limited liability partnerships, limited liability companies and even limited liability limited partnerships seemed inevitable, as did the surrendering of flow-through taxation to all of them by the U.S. Treasury. However, how these strange mash-ups of management power, limited liability, and fiduciary duty would operate was left to work itself out over time. The limited liability partnership in particular has evolved with very little judicial or legislative scrutiny as LLPs are usually … Read more