Caremark Eroded – Director Liability In Delaware
This year has marked a string of cases eroding the long history of Delaware’s board of director protections from breach of fiduciary duty claims. In Re Caremark International Inc. Derivative Litigation was a civil action in the Delaware Court of Chancery in 1996 which drilled down on a director’s duty of care in the oversight context. Caremark found that generally directors do not need to approve or exercise oversight over most company decisions, other than mergers (see HERE), changes in capital structure and fundamental changes in business.
Caremark claims, which allege failures of board oversight, have long been regarded by Delaware courts as “possibly the most difficult theory in corporation law upon which a plaintiff might hope to win a judgment.” To plead and prove a Caremark claim, a stockholder plaintiff must show that the board either (i) “utterly failed to implement any reporting information restrictions or controls”; or (ii) having implemented them, “consciously failed to monitor or oversee