Robinson Bradshaw

Jurisdiction: North Carolina Business Court

In ERISA Class Actions, Defendants Should Take a Close Look At Whether Article III Standing Issues Could Lead to Early Adjudication

As class action litigation under ERISA continues its upward trend across the country, could Article III standing serve as a means through which a Court can fairly assess claims before costly discovery is imposed on defendants and judicial resources are expended? Several recent federal court decisions suggest as much. ERISA, which provides protection to employees […]

What should be required to show that a party waived its right to arbitrate?

This post concerns a recurring topic in class-action practice: how a party—through its own litigation conduct—can waive its right to arbitrate. The topic warrants attention, or at least came to our attention, because of a recent decision from a federal appellate court. The case, called Morgan v. Sundance, Inc., is a putative nationwide collective action […]

Business Court Approves Disclosure-Only Settlement, But Postpones Consideration of Attorneys’ Fees Request

Those who follow class action law probably will be familiar with In re Trulia (2016), the seminal decision of the Delaware Court of Chancery that put the brakes on disclosure-only settlements.  Before Trulia, these controversial settlements were ubiquitous in deal litigation, in which shareholders of a company file a class action lawsuit seeking to stop […]

Can a Class Action Proceed when the Named Plaintiff’s Claim Becomes Moot? A Recent View from the North Carolina Business Court

In this post we talk about two of our favorite things (relatively speaking): class actions and mootness.  We last looked at these issues when covering the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Campbell-Ewald Company v. Gomez, 136 S. Ct. 663 (2016).  There, the Court rejected the defendant’s attempt to “pick off” the named plaintiff in a […]

Business Court Warns of Enhanced Scrutiny for Disclosure-Only Merger Settlements

We have previously commented about “disclosure only” settlements in class action merger cases, and the increasing scrutiny provided to them by courts here and in Delaware. Judge Bledsoe entered the fray yesterday, approving a settlement of litigation involving the merger of Yadkin Financial Corporation and NewBridge Bancorp in a 44-page order. In a stark preamble […]

Merger Litigation Continues in North Carolina

Last month, we previewed the challenge to a settlement of litigation involving the Reynolds-Lorillard merger. The Business Court has helpfully made available the transcript of the hearing on approval of the settlement, which took place on February 12. At the hearing, the Court made clear that it was quite familiar with recent changes in merger […]

Disclosure-Only Settlements Face Scrutiny in Business Court

When two public companies announce an intention to merge, class litigation follows like the night the day. These complaints usually request some sort of preliminary injunctive relief which, if successful, can derail the merger. Rarely, however, do plaintiffs press for this relief. Instead, they opt to resolve the claims, which requires court approval under Rule […]

NC Court of Appeals Approves Payments of Attorneys’ Fees in Class Action Settlements

Can a class action settlement agreement contain a fee-shifting provision that provides for a payment of attorneys’ fees? In a question of first impression, the North Carolina Court of Appeals said yes, subject to a trial court’s approval of the settlement at a fairness hearing. In the long-running Ehrenhaus v. Baker case, the Plaintiff brought […]

Trends in Shareholder Class Actions Challenging Corporate Mergers

In two recent studies of shareholder class actions over corporate mergers, the authors reached conclusions consistent with our experience with such cases in North Carolina: that nearly every acquisition of a public company results in shareholder litigation. The Cornerstone Research report found that 93% of public company acquisitions were challenged. Takeover Litigation in 2014, a […]

Business Court Approves Non-Opt-Out Class Settlement in Merger Case

The North Carolina Business Court has seemed to settle upon a methodology in approving “disclosure only” settlements in merger cases. Following Judge Gale’s decision in In re Harris Teeter Merger Litigation, Judge Bledsoe certified a non-opt-out settlement class last week in In re PokerTek Merger Litigation, No. 14-CVS-105679 (Jan. 22, 2015), observing that such classes […]