In 2016, beginning with In Re Trulia Inc. Stockholder Litigation, C.A. No. 10020-CB (Del. Ch. Jan. 22, 2016) (see blog post here), the Court of Chancery has issued a wave of decisions analyzing the granting of fees in the context of disclosures.  In Trulia, the Court of Chancery set forth the standard that disclosure-only settlements will only be approved if the supplemental disclosures address a “plainly material” misrepresentation or omission, and the releases provided to D&Os are narrowly circumscribed.

Notably, in Trulia, the Court explained that the “plainly material” standard for supplemental disclosures does not apply to a mootness fee award.  This rationale was subsequently followed in Louisiana Municipal Employees’ Retirement System v. Black, C.A. No. 9410-VCN (Del. Ch. Feb. 19, 2016) (see blog post here) (noting that Trulia does not require a ‘plainly material’ inquiry in the mootness fee award context).

The recent Court of Chancery opinion of In re Xoom Corporation Stockholder Litigation, C.A. No. 11263-VCG (Del. Ch. Aug. 4, 2016) clarified the standard for supplemental disclosures on a mootness fee application.  Vice Chancellor Glasscock ruled that a mootness fee “can be awarded if the disclosure provides some benefit to stockholders, whether or not material to the vote. In other words, a helpful disclosure may support a fee award in this context.”

Carl D. Neff is a partner with the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP.  Carl is admitted in the State of Delaware and regularly practices before the Delaware Court of Chancery, with an emphasis on shareholder disputes. You can reach Carl at (302) 622-4272 or at cneff@foxrothschild.com.