Title

Who's the Boss? Unmasking Oversight Liability Within the Corporate Power Puzzle

Publication Title

Delaware Journal of Corporate Law

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2010

Abstract

This article explores the competing interests between director authority and accountability within the doctrinal developments underpinning the arguments for and against director oversight liability. The historic losses suffered by companies entangled in the web of subprime mortgages, collateralized debt holdings, and the ensuing credit crisis have brought the role of corporate directors as risk managers under renewed public scrutiny. Directors' authority and their accountability to shareholders are two critical pieces to striking the appropriate balance among the roles, rights, and responsibilities of directors, officers, shareholders, and other corporate constituencies who operate within the corporate power puzzle. Numerous shareholder derivative suits brought in the wake of such losses allege, among other claims, that directors breached their fiduciary duties by failing to provide adequate oversight of their companies' high-risk investments. Despite being a frequently pled claim, director oversight liability is somewhat of a legal myth because previous court language hinging liability on the presence of ignored red flags remains largely unexamined, undefined, and inapplicable to such cases. This article proposes an alternative judicial approach to analyzing director oversight liability by articulating a five-pronged, process-oriented test to define red flags and, thus, director oversight liability. By articulating a test for oversight liability that avoids the substantive review and second-guessing of board decisions disfavored in corporate law, this article advocates that an appropriate balance between director authority and accountability be struck.

Comments

External Links
Westlaw
Lexis Advance
HeinOnline
SSRN

Recommended Citation

Anne Tucker Nees, Who's the Boss? Unmasking Oversight Liability Within the Corporate Power Puzzle, 35 Del. J. Corp. L. 199 (2010).

Volume

35

Issue

1

First Page

199

Last Page

258

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