Legal “Raincoat” Keeps Directors Dry in Going-Private Deals Outside Delaware

Though Elon Musk’s controversy with Twitter has grabbed the headlines, another going-private legal development also merits attention: Meade v. Christie et al., an Iowa Supreme Court decision dismissing shareholder class action claims against directors who approved a going-private merger. The Meade dismissal was based on a director liability shield patterned on Model Business Corporation Act (“MBCA”) Section 2.02(b)(4).  As interpreted and applied in Meade, the MBCA shield is more protective than the comparable Delaware provision, DGCL Section 102(b)(7). Equally important, Meade answers procedural questions that aren’t fully resolved by the MBCA shield text, illustrating key pleading requirements for … Read more

Going Private Outside Delaware: Holes in the Director Raincoat and Other Concerns

Meade v. Christie et al., an interlocutory appeal in a shareholder class action challenging a going private merger, is currently pending before the Iowa Supreme Court.[1] The appeal will test the strength of a director-liability shield law patterned on the Model Business Corporation Act template. It also presents questions of corporate law that pertain to going private transactions and are largely unsettled outside of Delaware.

A key question in Meade (and one of first impression in Iowa and other MBCA states) is whether the MBCA director shield exception for “intentional infliction of harm on the corporation or the shareholders”Read more