M & A Law Prof Blog

Editor: Brian JM Quinn
Boston College Law School

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Strine and Hamermesh on multi-forum litigation

Chancellor Leo Strine and Prof. Larry Hamermesh have recently posted a new paper, Putting Stockholders First, that is their contribution to the question of multi-forum litigation.  Unlike his predecessor, Strine takes a more active approach to managing this problem: 

Abstract: The prevalence of settlements in class and derivative litigation challenging mergers and acquisitions in which the only payment is to plaintiffs’ attorneys suggests potential systemic dysfunction arising from the increased frequency of parallel litigation in multiple state courts. After examining possible explanations for that dysfunction, and the historical development of doctrines limiting parallel state court litigation — the doctrine of forum non conveniens and the “first-filed” doctrine — this article suggests that those doctrines should be revised to better address shareholder class and derivative litigation. Revisions to the doctrine of forum non conveniens should continue the historical trend, deemphasizing fortuitous and increasingly irrelevant geographic considerations, and should place greater emphasis on voluntary choice of law and the development of precedential guidance by the courts of the state responsible for supplying the chosen law. The “first-filed” rule should be replaced in shareholder representative litigation by meaningful consideration of affected parties’ interests and judicial efficiency.



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