A recent letter ruling from the Court of Chancery on a nuance of the law of advancement deserves to be remembered. The Court’s decision in Day v. Diligence, Inc., C.A. No. 2020-0076-SG (Del. Ch. May 7, 2020), is short but important due to its clarification of a finer point regarding the duty of a company to advance fees prior to the date of the undertaking required under DGCL Section 145(e). The Court reasoned that an advancement obligation may cover fees incurred prior to the receipt of a requisite undertaking.
The multitude of highlights of advancement decisions that have appeared on these pages over the last 15 years provide extensive details about the intricacies of Section 145(e), as do the several book chapters I have written on the topic. This cursory post assumes a basic understanding of the Delaware law of advancement of fees for directors and officers pursuant to Section 145(e), and based on that assumption this pithy post provides the following quote from the Day case, that should be in the toolbox of every corporate litigator.
The Court held, after reciting DGCL Section 145(e), that:
Nothing in the language of the statute, or the policy implicit therein, limits advancement to sums incurred post-undertaking, to my mind. The Defendant, I note, has pointed to none. Nor has it cited to precedent….