the cream of the crop of class action business law and mergers and acquisition litigatorsJustice Ira B. Warshawsky, In re Aeroflex, Inc. Shareholder Litigation
Robbins Geller has earned a reputation as the leading law firm in representing shareholders in corporate takeover litigation. Through its aggressive efforts in prosecuting corporate takeovers, the Firm has secured billions of dollars and beneficial changes on behalf of shareholders in the context of mergers and acquisitions.
The Firm regularly prosecutes merger and acquisition cases post-merger, often through trial, to maximize the benefit for its shareholder class. Some of these cases include:
- In re Kinder Morgan, Inc. S’holders Litig., No. 06-C-801 (Kan. Dist. Ct., Shawnee Cty.). In the largest recovery ever for corporate takeover class action litigation, Robbins Geller negotiated a settlement fund of $200 million in 2010.
In re Dole Food Co., Inc. Stockholder Litig., C.A. No. 8703-VCL (Del. Ch.). Robbins Geller and co-counsel went to trial in the Delaware Court of Chancery on claims of breach of fiduciary duty on behalf of Dole Food Co., Inc. shareholders. The litigation challenged the 2013 buyout of Dole by its billionaire Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, David H. Murdock. On August 27, 2015, the court issued a post-trial ruling that Murdock and fellow director C. Michael Carter – who also served as Dole’s General Counsel, Chief Operating Officer and Murdock’s top lieutenant – had engaged in fraud and other misconduct in connection with the buyout and are liable to Dole’s former stockholders for over $148 million, the largest trial verdict ever in a class action challenging a merger transaction.
Nieman v. Duke Energy Corp., No. 3:12-cv-00456 (W.D.N.C.). Robbins Geller, along with co-counsel, obtained a $146.25 million settlement on behalf of Duke Energy Corporation investors. The settlement resolves accusations that defendants misled investors regarding Duke’s future leadership following its merger with Progress Energy, Inc., and specifically, their premeditated coup to oust William D. Johnson (CEO of Progress) and replace him with Duke’s then-CEO, John Rogers. This historic settlement represents the largest recovery ever in a North Carolina securities fraud action, and one of the five largest recoveries in the Fourth Circuit.
In re Rural Metro Corp. Stockholders Litig., No. 6350-VCL (Del. Ch.). Robbins Geller and co-counsel were appointed lead counsel in this case after successfully objecting to an inadequate settlement that did not take into account evidence of defendants’ conflicts of interest. In a post-trial opinion, Delaware Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster found defendant RBC Capital Markets, LLC liable for aiding and abetting Rural/Metro’s board of directors’ fiduciary duty breaches in the $438 million buyout of Rural/Metro, citing “the magnitude of the conflict between RBC’s claims and the evidence.” RBC was ordered to pay nearly $100 million as a result of its wrongdoing, the largest damage award ever obtained against a bank over its role as a merger adviser. The Delaware Supreme Court issued a landmark opinion affirming the near $100 million judgment for shareholders, resulting in an overall recovery of almost $110 million, on November 30, 2015, RBC Capital Mkts., LLC v. Jervis, 129 A.3d 816 (Del. 2015).
In re Del Monte Foods Co. S’holders Litig., No. 6027-VCL (Del. Ch.). Robbins Geller exposed the unseemly practice by investment bankers of participating on both sides of large merger and acquisition transactions and ultimately secured an $89 million settlement for shareholders of Del Monte. For efforts in achieving these results, the Firm’s lawyers prosecuting the case were named Attorneys of the Year by California Lawyer magazine in 2012.
- In re TD Banknorth S’holders Litig., No. 2557-VCL (Del. Ch.). After objecting to a modest recovery of just a few cents per share, Robbins Geller took over the litigation and obtained a common fund settlement of $50 million.
In re Chaparral Res., Inc. S’holders Litig., No. 2633-VCL (Del. Ch.). After a full trial and a subsequent mediation before the Delaware Chancellor, the Firm obtained a common fund settlement of $41 million (or 45% increase above merger price) for both class and appraisal claims.
- Laborers’ Local #231 Pension Fund v. Websense, Inc., No. 37-2013-00050879-CU-BT-CTL (Cal. Super. Ct., San Diego Cty.). Robbins Geller successfully obtained a record-breaking $40 million in Websense, Inc., which is believed to be the largest post-merger common fund settlement in California state court history. The class action challenged the May 2013 buyout of Websense by Vista Equity Partners (and affiliates) for $24.75 per share and alleged breach of fiduciary duty against the former Websense Board of Directors, and aiding and abetting against Websense’s financial advisor, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. Claims were pursued by the plaintiff in both California state court and the Delaware Court of Chancery.
- In re Onyx Pharm., Inc. S’holder Litig., No. CIV523789 (Cal. Super. Ct., San Mateo Cty.). Robbins Geller obtained $30 million in a case against the former Onyx Board of Directors for breaching its fiduciary duties in connection with the acquisition of Onyx by Amgen Inc. for $125 per share at the expense of shareholders. At the time of the settlement, it was believed to set the record for the largest post-merger common fund settlement in California state court history. Over the case’s three years, Robbins Geller defeated defendants’ motions to dismiss, obtained class certification, took over 20 depositions and reviewed over one million pages of documents. Further, the settlement was reached just days before a hearing on the defendants’ motion for summary judgment was set to take place, and the result is now believed to be the second largest post-merger common fund settlement in California state court history.
- Harrah’s Entertainment, No. A529183 (Nev. Dist. Ct., Clark Cty.). Robbins Geller’s active prosecution of the case on several fronts, both in federal and state court, assisted Harrah’s shareholders in securing an additional $1.65 billion in merger consideration.
- In re Chiron S’holder Deal Litig., No. RG 05-230567 (Cal. Super. Ct., Alameda Cty.). The Firm’s efforts helped to obtain an additional $800 million in increased merger consideration for Chiron shareholders.
- In re Dollar Gen. Corp. S’holder Litig., No. 07MD-1 (Tenn. Cir. Ct., Davidson Cty.). As lead counsel, the Firm secured a recovery of up to $57 million in cash for former Dollar General shareholders on the eve of trial.
In re Prime Hospitality, Inc. S’holders Litig., No. 652-N (Del. Ch.). Robbins Geller objected to a settlement that was unfair to the class and proceeded to litigate breach of fiduciary duty issues involving a sale of hotels to a private equity firm. The litigation yielded a common fund of $25 million for shareholders.
In re UnitedGlobalCom, Inc. S’holder Litig., No. 1012-VCS (Del. Ch.). Robbins Geller secured a common fund settlement of $25 million just weeks before trial.
- In re eMachines, Inc. Merger Litig., No. 01-CC-00156 (Cal. Super. Ct., Orange Cty.). After four years of litigation, the Firm secured a common fund settlement of $24 million on the brink of trial.