Corporate Governance

We’ve entered a new era in American history where corporate reforms can be achieved not only through legislation or federal regulation, but through binding legal agreements.

Robert A.G. Monks, Corporate Governance Expert

Robbins Geller’s shareholder derivative and corporate governance practice is focused on preserving corporate assets and enhancing long-term shareowner value. Shareowner derivative actions are often brought by institutional investors to vindicate the rights of the corporation injured by its executives’ misconduct, which can effect violations of the nation’s securities, anti-corruption, false claims, cyber-security, labor, environment and/or health and safety laws. 

The Firm’s attorneys have aided its clients in significantly enhancing shareowner value by obtaining hundreds of millions of dollars in financial clawbacks and successfully negotiating corporate governance enhancements. Robbins Geller has worked with its institutional clients to address corporate misconduct such as options backdating, bribery of foreign officials, pollution, off-label marketing, and insider trading and related self-dealing. 

Robbins Geller’s efforts have conferred substantial benefits upon shareowners, and the market effect of these benefits measures in the billions of dollars. The Firm’s significant achievements in shareholder derivative and corporate governance litigation include:

  • Policemen & Firemen Ret. Sys. of the City of Detroit v. Cornelison (Halliburton Derivative Litigation), No. 2009-29987 (Tex. Dist. Ct., Harris Cty.). The Firm prosecuted shareholder derivative claims on behalf of Halliburton Company against certain Halliburton insiders for breaches of fiduciary duty arising from Halliburton’s alleged violations of the FCPA. In the settlement, Halliburton agreed, among other things, to adopt strict intensive controls and systems designed to detect and deter the compensation clawback, director stock ownership requirements, a limitation on the number of other boards that Halliburton directors may serve, a lead director charter, enhanced director independence standards, and the creation of a management compliance committee. 
  • In re Fossil, Inc. Derivative Litig., No. 3:06-cv-10672 (N.D. Tex.). The settlement agreement included the following corporate governance changes: declassification of elected board members; retirement of three directors and addition of five new independent directors; two-thirds board independence requirements; corporate governance guidelines providing for “Majority Voting” election of directors; lead independent director requirements; revised accounting measurement dates of options; addition of standing finance committee; compensation clawbacks; director compensation standards; revised stock option plans and grant procedures; limited stock option granting authority, timing, and pricing; enhanced education and training; and audit engagement partner rotation and outside audit firm review.
  • Pirelli Armstrong Tire Corp. Retiree Med. Benefits Trust v. Sinegal (Costco Derivative Litigation), No. 2:08-cv-01450 (W.D. Wash.). The parties agreed to settlement terms providing for the following corporate governance changes: the amendment of Costco’s bylaws to provide “Majority Voting” election of directors; the elimination of overlapping compensation and audit committee membership on common subject matters; enhanced Dodd-Frank requirements; enhanced internal audit standards and control, and revised information-sharing procedures; revised compensation policies and procedures; revised stock option plans and grant procedures; limited stock option granting authority, timing, and pricing; and enhanced ethics compliance standards and training.
  • In re F5 Networks, Inc. Derivative Litig., No. 2:06-cv-00794 (W.D. Wash.). The parties agreed to the following corporate governance changes as part of the settlement: revised stock option plans and grant procedures; limited stock option granting authority, timing, and pricing; “Majority Voting” election of director perquisites; and revised compensation practices. 

Click the video below to see author and speaker Robert Monks discuss the importance of shareholder derivatives to investors.

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