Foley Hoag Wins Class Action Dismissal in Delaware Chancery Court

July 25, 2011

Foley Hoag LLP recently won dismissal of a putative class action filed in Delaware Chancery Court against Acadian Asset Management LLC and some of its officers alleging breach of fiduciary duty, negligence and waste.

Shareholders of two U.S.-based mutual funds alleged that Acadian and some of its officers led the funds to purchase shares in certain publicly traded European corporations operating online gambling businesses that were illegal in the United States, causing the funds to become “owners” of a betting enterprise in violation of federal law. The plaintiffs claimed they suffered harm because stock prices fell when the U.S. government increased enforcement efforts, which depressed the funds’ value.

The Foley Hoag team, which included partner Brandon White and associates Jeff Bone and Katie Perry, moved to dismiss the suit on the grounds that the court lacked personal jurisdiction over the officers, who worked in Boston; all the claims were derivative in nature; and the complaint failed to state a claim against any of the Acadian defendants because they did not owe any duties to the plaintiffs, since they were advisers to the funds.

The Chancery Court granted the motion and dismissed the action. The plaintiffs have appealed the decision to the Delaware Supreme Court.

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