DERIVATIVE SUIT AGAINST JP MORGAN CHASE STEMMING FROM SUBPRIME MORTGAGE-BACKED SECURITIES DISMISSED.
The First Department determined a derivative suit against the board of directors of JP Morgan Chase stemming from subprime mortgage-backed securities was properly dismissed for failure to demonstrate the futility of a presuit demand upon the board. The decision includes particularly clear explanations of what must be alleged to sufficiently demonstrate futility under Delaware law pursuant to the “Aronson” and “Rales” tests. With regard to one of the two “Aronson” tests, the court wrote:
Plaintiffs contend that the board's action, including the adoption of the January 2007 resolution delegating authority to a management committee, was not a valid exercise of business judgment. However, this factual assertion examines the board's course of action in hindsight and hinges on certain warning signs that plaintiff alleges the board failed to heed, including some losses that reverted back to JPMorgan's balance sheet by September 2008. Delaware law presumes that in making a business decision the board of directors acts in good faith and in the honest belief that the action is taken in the best interests of the company … . In order to satisfy the second prong of the Aronson test, plaintiffs are required to plead particularized facts sufficient to raise a reason to doubt that  the action was taken honestly and in good faith or  the board was adequately informed in making the decision … . These facts do not rebut the presumption of regularity of the board's decision making process … . Although risky, the conduct plaintiff challenges, the board's authorization of the securitization and sale of investments, involves “legal business decisions that were firmly within management's judgment to pursue” … . The fact that investors later sued or made repurchase demands does not raise a reasonable doubt that the decision to engage in such transactions was not a valid exercise of business judgment … . Asbestos Workers Phila. Pension Fund v Bell, 2016 NY Slip Op 02510, 1st Dept 3-31-16
CORPORATION LAW (DERIVATIVE SUIT AGAINST JP MORGAN CHASE STEMMING FROM SUBPRIME MORTGAGE-BACKED SECURITIES DISMISSED)/MORTGAGE-BACKED SECURITIES (DERIVATIVE SUIT AGAINST JP MORGAN CHASE STEMMING FROM SUBPRIME MORTGAGE-BACKED SECURITIES DISMISSED)/SHAREHOLDERS' DERIVATIVE ACTION (DERIVATIVE SUIT AGAINST JP MORGAN CHASE STEMMING FROM SUBPRIME MORTGAGE-BACKED SECURITIES DISMISSED)