In re Riverbed Technology, Inc. Stockholders Litigation, Consol. C. A. No. 10484-VCG (Del. Ch. Dec. 2, 2015). This short Delaware Court of Chancery decision is noteworthy to the extent that it grants modest fees to a law professor who objected to a class action settlement although the settlement was ultimately approved. The court weighs the pros and cons of granting any amount of an award to an objector who made important arguments about the problems with “disclosure only” settlements, but in the end did not prevent the class action settlement from being approved.
The court realized that any award to the objector might have the net result of encouraging other objectors even if their objections did not prevent the settlement from being approved by the court. The amount awarded in this case was modest enough that it should not be considered an incentive and is unlikely to entice objectors or their lawyers to incur the substantial amount of time and effort required to present formal objections and oral arguments in cases such as these. To that extent, the court’s treatment of this matter was Solomonic in many ways. This decision can be seen as another indication that what are known as “disclosure only settlements” are becoming more and more challenging for those plaintiffs and shareholders who seek to have those types of settlements approved by the court.