Robbins Geller Obtains $148 million for Former Dole Food Company, Inc. Shareholders
On August 27, 2015, Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster of the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware ruled in favor of the plaintiff class, finding Dole Food Company, Inc.’s CEO and Chairman, David Murdock, and its former Chief Operating Officer, Michael Carter, liable for breaches of fiduciary duty in In re Dole Food Co., Inc. Stockholder Litig. In February 2015, plaintiffs went to trial and asserted that the defendants had conspired with Deutsche Bank AG to drive down the value of Dole just prior to Murdock’s buyout of all public shares so that he could take the company private at an artificially deflated share price. Vice Chancellor Laster ordered Murdock and Carter to pay an additional $148 million to class members, ensuring them a fair buyout price.
In his ruling, the Vice Chancellor noted that “Murdock and Carter‘s conduct throughout the Committee process, as well as their credibility problems at trial, demonstrated that their actions were not innocent or inadvertent, but rather intentional and in bad faith,” and they are “jointly and severally liable for damages” of $148 million.
In re Dole Food Co., Inc. Stockholder Litig., C.A. No. 8703-VCL (Del. Ch.)