Donnawell v. Hamburger

Plaintiff, a stockholder in DeVry, which operates for-profit colleges and universities, filed a shareholders’ derivative suit against DeVry’s board of directors. A 2005 incentive plan authorized awards of stock options to key employees, including the CEO. The plan limited awards to 150,000 shares per employee per year. Nonetheless, the company granted Hamburger, who became its CEO in 2006, options on 184,100 shares in 2010, 170,200 in 2011, and 255,425 in 2012. DeVry, discovering its mistake, reduced each grant under the 2005 plan to 150,000 shares, but allocated Hamburger 87,910 shares available under the company’s 2003 incentive plan, which held shares that had not been allocated. Only the company’s Plan Committee, not the Compensation Committee, was authorized to grant stock options under the 2003 plan; there was no Plan Committee in 2012. The grant of 87,910 stock options was approved by the Compensation Committee, and then by the independent directors as a whole. The Seventh Circuit affirmed dismissal. The directors who approved the Compensation Committee’s recommendation were disinterested: the recommendation was a valid exercise of business judgment. Administration of the 2003 plan by the Compensation Committee, given the nonexistence of the Plan Committee, was not “a clear or intentional violation of a compensation plan,” View "Donnawell v. Hamburger" on Justia Law