UniSuper Ltd. v. News Corporation, 2006 WL 1550809 (Del. Ch. May 31, 2006) download file. In this Chancery Court case, the Chancellor required the parties to modify a release that was too broad in connection with the settlement of a class action to which an 18% shareholder objected. The court summarized the objection and its partial agreement with it as follows:
Liberty’s objection to the release included four arguments: (1) the release extended to claims not part of the operative or core facts; (2) the release purported to extend to future claims; (3) the plaintiffs should be judicially estopped from asserting that the operative facts of the case include the merits of the decision to extend the poison pill because plaintiffs have expressly stated otherwise; and (4) the release bound non-voting shareholders, forcing them to give up claims in return for a benefit they do not share.
I was not persuaded by the third and fourth arguments, and explicitly stated so at the May 23 hearing. [FN4] Liberty’s second argument was more persuasive. At the conclusion of the fairness hearing, I declined to approve the Settlement because I determined that, as drafted, the release language was unnecessarily prolix (to the point of being incomprehensible) and was overly broad, so that it potentially ran aground of the standard set forth by the Delaware Supreme Court in Nottingham Partners v. Dana.
This is part of a case with many other key rulings that have been posted about here on this blog.
The opinion also includes instructive commentary about the language of “releases” in general to settle lawsuits. The commentary and citations to authority could be useful in any business litigation or in drafting releases in other cases that are settled.