Justia Commercial Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Mergers & Acquisitions
Petroleum Enhancer, L.L.C. v. Woodward
Polar Holding was sole shareholder of PMC, a company engaged in the petroleum-additive business. PMC was in default on a loan for which it had pledged valuable intellectual property as collateral, and Polar Holding was in the midst of an internal dispute between members of its board of directors regarding business strategy for PMC. One of the directors, Socia, formed a competing company, Petroleum, for the purpose of acquiring PMC’s promissory note and collateral from the holder of PMC’s loan. Petroleum brought suit against Woodward, an escrow agent in possession of PMC’s collateral, alleging that PMC was in default on the payment of its promissory note. Polar Holding and PMC intervened and filed counterclaims against Petroleum and a third-party complaint against additional parties, including Socia. Polar Holding and PMC allleged breach of fiduciary duty, civil conspiracy, and tortious interference. After PMC filed for bankruptcy, its claims became the property of the bankruptcy trustee. Polar Holding’s claims were later dismissed. The Sixth Circuit affirmed dismissal of a tortious interference claim as addressed by the district court, but reversed dismissal of a breach-of-fiduciary-duty claim against Socia and a civil-conspiracy claim against individual third-party defendants. View "Petroleum Enhancer, L.L.C. v. Woodward" on Justia Law
The Bank of New York Mellon v. Commerzbank Capital Funding Trust II, et al.
This case arose when Commerzbank agreed to acquire Dresdner Bank in September 2008. As part of the deal, Commerzbank also acquired Dresdner Bank's trust preferred structures, and holders of Dresdner's trust preferred securities received distributions in both 2009 and 2010. Plaintiff claimed that paying those distributions "pushed," or required Commerzbank to make distributions on, a class of its owned preferred securities in which plaintiff had an interest, and, by the complaint, plaintiff asked the court to enforce that alleged obligation. Plaintiff also sought specific performance of a support agreement that was argued to require the elevation of the liquidation preference of Commerzbank's trust preferred securities in response to a restructuring of one class of the Dresdner securities. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. The court held, among other things, that because the DresCap Trust Certificates did not qualify as either Parity Securities, defendants were entitled to judgment in their favor as a matter of law regarding plaintiff's claim under the Pusher Provision. The court also held that because DresCap Trust Certificates did not qualify as either Parity Securities or Junior Securities, Section 6 of the Support Undertaking was not triggered by amendment of the DresCap Trust IV Certificates. Accordingly, defendants were entitled to judgment in their favor as a matter of law regarding plaintiff's claim that the amendment of the DresCap Trust IV Certificates required defendants to amend the Trusted Preferred Securities.
Priestley v. Headminder, Inc.
This case arose when plaintiff filed a complaint asserting causes of action related to defendant's failure to repay certain loans. Defendant appealed from an amended judgment of the district court denying in part defendant's Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60 motion to amend the court's August 28, 2008 judgment (original judgment), which, inter alia, requested that the court strike defendant as a party subject to the judgment because plaintiff had not moved for summary judgment against it. The court held that because plaintiff did not move for summary judgment against defendant, the district court erred in granting summary judgment against it. The court also held that the district court's determination that defendant defaulted in failing to file a timely answer to the complaint did not otherwise provide a valid basis for maintaining defendant as a party liable on the amended judgment. Therefore, the court reversed the decision of the district court insofar as it granted summary judgment against defendant and remanded with instructions to strike defendant as a party subject to the amended judgment.