Delaware Supreme Court to Rule on the Validity of Shareholder-Adopted Bylaws

This post is part of the Delaware law series, which is cosponsored by the Forum and Corporation Service Company; links to other posts in the series are available here.

The Staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission has certified to the Delaware Supreme Court two questions of law regarding the permissibility of a bylaw amendment submitted as a shareholder proposal to a Delaware corporation, CA, Inc. The amendment would require the company to reimburse reasonable stockholder expenses incurred in running a short slate of director nominees for election. This is the first time that the SEC has used this certification procedure.

CA asserts that the shareholder proposal may be excluded from its 2008 proxy materials under Exchange Act Rule 14a-8 on the grounds that the proposal is an improper subject for shareholder action under Delaware law and that the proposal, if adopted, would cause CA to violate Delaware law. The Court has agreed to an immediate determination of the questions certified and ordered briefs to be filed on or before Monday, July 7. Oral argument is to be held on Wednesday, July 9.

The Supreme Court’s order accepting the questions certified by the SEC is available here. The SEC’s certification of questions of law, with the SEC General Counsel’s covering letter, are available here and here. The competing legal opinions are available here and here.

Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

One Comment

  1. John Coates
    Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2008 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Since it’s summer and some people may not be paying attention, I thought I would emphasize how important these decisions are — both by the SEC to certify and by the Delaware Supreme Court to take up the certification. Regardless of outcome, both decisions are to my mind welcome developments.