Articles Posted in U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals

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ABC is a dissolved corporation. Doe 1 was the company’s President and sole shareholder. Doe 2 is his son. LaCheen represents ABC and Doe 1; Blank represents Doe 2. The law firms have a joint-defense agreement covering the three. Investigating tax implications of ABC’s acquisition and sale of closely held companies, the government issued a grand jury subpoena to ABC’s former vice president as custodian of records. The documents are in custody of Blank. ABC refused to accept service of the subpoena issued to its former employee. The government issued subpoenas to LaCheen and Blank. The firms withheld documents listed on a privilege log. The government sought to compel ABC, Blank, and LaCheen to produce documents identified on the privilege logs, citing cited the crime-fraud doctrine, which provides that evidentiary privileges may not be used to shield communications made for purposes of getting advice for commission of a fraud or crime. The district court entered the order. The Third Circuit dismissed for lack of appellate jurisdiction. To obtain immediate appellate review, a privilege holder must disobey the order, be held in contempt, then appeal the contempt order. That route is available to ABC, which can obtain custody of the documents from its agent. View "In Re: Grand Jury" on Justia Law

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Harold and his son William started a corporation, operated by William. Harold made loans to the corporation. When the corporation ceased operating William and his wife formed PCI-2 to take its place; despite an agreement, Harold's loans were not repaid and Harold made loans to PCI-2, lending about $300,000 to PCI-1 and PCI-2. William and his wife acquired other corporations and substantial real estate holdings. One business, WEL, issued one share of stock to Harold and nine shares to Harold as custodian for William's infant son, L.L. Harold was a director of WEL. William and his wife divorced. In 2004, Harold filed a loan repayment lawsuit against WEL and PCI-2; William did not defend, asserting there was no money. Harold obtained default judgments of $1,107,550 and $1,204,439, commenced execution proceedings against property that WEL owned, and obtained approximately $320,000 in proceeds. In the Bankruptcy Court, a custodian for shares owned by L.L. sought to recover $345,000 from Harold, claiming that Harold breached his fiduciary duties owed to L.L. The Bankruptcy Court and the district court rejected the claim. The Third Circuit reversed. Harold breached his duties as a WEL director and as a custodian for L.L.'s shares. View "In re: Lampe, Jr" on Justia Law

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Shareholders implemented a plan to obtain majority ownership and buy out non-participating shareholders. Among other claims, non-participants allege that the participant-directors influenced a special committee formed to consider the fair value of shares held by non-participants. A state appraisal action is ongoing. The federal district court dismissed a suit alleging breach of fiduciary duty and unjust enrichment. The Third Circuit reversed and remanded. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has not address whether a statute providing for appraisal of the value of shares of minority shareholders who are "squeezed out" in a cash-out merger precludes all other remedies; the court predicted that it would hold that the statute does not exclude the possibility of other claims. View "Mitchell Partners L.P. v. Irex Corp" on Justia Law