Articles Posted in Corporate Compliance

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The Pennsylvania Supreme Court accepted certification from the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to address the exclusiveness of a statutory appraisal remedy provided to minority shareholders in certain merger scenarios under Pennsylvania corporate law. Where there is a fair value dispute, the BCL provides for post-merger judicial valuation or appraisal of the shares. Mitchell Partners, L.P., was a minority shareholder of Irex Corporation. In 2006, Irex participated in a merger structured so that some minority shareholders would be "cashed out" and would not receive an equity interest in the surviving corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of North Lime Holdings Corporation. Mitchell objected to the acquisition. The merger proceeded nonetheless, and Irex commenced valuation proceedings in state court to address the dispute with Mitchell. Meanwhile, Mitchell pursued common law remedies in a diversity action in federal court, naming as defendants Irex, its directors, most of its officers, and North Lime. The defendants sought dismissal on the ground that, under Section 1105 of the BCL, judicial valuation was the sole remedy available to dissenting shareholders in the post-merger timeframe. A divided three-judge panel of the Third Circuit reversed the superior court in favor of Mitchell. Defendants sought rehearing, and the Governor of Pennsylvania and several business groups moved for leave to file supportive amicus briefs. The Governor expressed particular concern that the Third Circuit had interpreted the BCL's provisions relating to dissenting shareholders' rights in a manner inconsistent with Commonwealth case law. Accordingly, he urged the Third Circuit to grant rehearing and certify a question of law to the Supreme Court. Upon review, the Supreme Court, in response to the certified question, Section 1105 (of the BCL) "precludes postmerger remedies other than appraisal only in the absence of fraud or fundamental unfairness." View "Mitchell Partners, L.P., Aplt v. IREX Corporation" on Justia Law