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by Benjamin P. Edwards

Investors, industry firms, and regulators all rely on vital public records to assess risk and evaluate securities industry personnel. Despite the information’s importance, an arbitration-facilitated expungement process now regularly deletes these public records. Often, these arbitrations recommend that public information be deleted without any true adversary ever providing any critical scrutiny to the requests. In essence, poorly informed arbitrators facilitate removing public information out of public databases. Interventions aimed at surfacing information may yield better informed decisions. Although similar problems have emerged in other contexts when adversarial systems break down, the expungement process to purge information about financial professionals provides a unique case study.

Multiple interventions may combine to more effectively surface information and generate better informed decisions. In quasi-ex parte proceedings, traditional attorney ethics rules must yield to a higher duty of candor. Yet adjudicators should not rely on duty alone. Adversarial scrutiny may emerge by designating an advocate to independently and critically engage in circumstances where no party has any real incentive to oppose an outcome. Ultimately, addressing adversarial failures may require a shift away from adversarial adjudication to a more regulatory framework.


by Jessica Erickson

Merger litigation has changed dramatically. Today, nearly every announcement of a significant merger sparks litigation, and these cases look quite different from merger cases in the past. These cases are now filed primarily outside of Delaware, they typically settle without shareholders receiving any financial consideration, and corporate boards now have far more ex ante power to shape these cases. Although these changes are often heralded as unprecedented, they are not. Over the past several decades, derivative suits experienced many of the same changes. This Article explores the similarities between the recent changes in merger litigation and the longer history of derivative suits. The trajectories of these lawsuits are not identical, but they nonetheless suggest larger lessons about shareholder litigation, including the predictable ways in which agency costs play out in the courtroom and at the settlement table. By uncovering the lost lessons of derivative suits, corporate law can finally tackle the deeper issues facing shareholder litigation.


by Jeffrey Manns and Robert Anderson

Incomplete contract theory recognizes that contracts cannot be comprehensive and that state law necessarily has to fill in gaps when conflicts arise. The more complex the transaction, the more that lawyers face practical constraints that force them to limit the scope of drafting and broadly rely on legal defaults and open-ended terms to plug holes and address contingencies. In theory Delaware law serves as lawyers’ preferred jurisdiction and forum for merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions and other high-end corporate deals because of the state’s superior default rules for corporate law and its judiciary’s expertise in discerning the “hypothetical bargain” of the parties.

This paper sets out to examine whether lawyers’ professed confidence in Delaware defaults actually shows up in the drafting of merger and acquisition agreements. Lawyers may base deals in Delaware law because of their familiarity with its provisions, or Delaware’s appeal may reflect the substantive adding of value in filling contractual gaps. Our premise is that the best proxy for examining lawyers’ reliance on a jurisdiction’s defaults is the extent of brevity in legal drafting, which is closely related to reliance on standards rather than rules. Incomplete contract theory predicts that reliance on defaults should broadly translate into implicit (and explicit) references to existing defaults that conserve time and space in drafting, especially through the use of parsimonious standards rather than prolix rules. To the extent to which comparable contracts grounded in different jurisdictions have systematic differences in length, this finding would serve as evidence that lawyers are placing greater reliance on the defaults of one jurisdiction compared to another.

In this paper we compare the length of public company merger and acquisition (M&A) agreements between Delaware transactions and those governed by the law of other jurisdictions. To the extent practitioners regard Delaware law as more comprehensive, more precise, or more settled (due to the Delaware General Corporation law, case law, or the judicial system) compared to other jurisdictions, then we would expect that Delaware M&A agreements would be more concise because of greater reliance on defaults and open-ended terms.

We found agreements governed by Delaware law are no shorter, and in fact are generally longer than agreements governed by the law of other states even when we accounted for a spectrum of control variables including the deal structure, the quality of law firms, deal complexity, and the size of the transaction. This finding held true even when we identified and controlled for the textual source of the precedent documents. Our results challenge the conventional wisdom about contracting parties’ placing greater reliance on Delaware law.

Our findings suggest that a gap exists between the Delaware legal system’s outsized reputation and the actual practice of lawyers in drafting M&A agreements who appear to place no more reliance on the defaults of Delaware law than on the defaults of other jurisdictions. This finding calls into question why Delaware’s statutory and judicial defaults do not appear to matter in the contracting context in which the Delaware difference compared to other states should be the most apparent. Lawyers’ confidence in Delaware may be genuine when it comes to steering incorporations and M&A litigation to Delaware. But if lawyers rely on the defaults of Delaware contract law no more (and perhaps less) in contract drafting than that of other jurisdictions, then it suggests that Delaware’s reputation for corporate law exceeds its substance. We conclude that the text is likely influenced far more by fortuitous events in the drafting process, such as the precedent chosen, than by the default rules of the jurisdiction.


by Elizabeth A. Rowe

This Article presents the first qualitative empirical review of permanent injunctions in trade secret cases. In addition, it explores the extent to which the Supreme Court’s patent decision in eBay v. MercExchange has influenced the analysis of equitable principles in federal trade secret litigation. Among the more notable findings are that while equitable principles are generally applied in determining whether to grant a permanent injunction to a prevailing party after trial, the courts are not necessarily strictly applying the four factors from eBay. The award of monetary relief does not preclude equitable injunctive relief, and courts can find irreparable harm even where the loss has been compensated monetarily. Moreover, where injunctions are requested but denied, the lack of irreparable harm seemed to have been the factor most often articulated as the reason for the denial.


by Evelyn Mary Aswad

Global social media platforms are grappling with whether to align their corporate speech codes with international human rights law. Facebook’s June 2019 report that summarized worldwide feedback about its proposed independent oversight board for content moderation noted a split in stakeholder opinions on this topic. The UN’s top expert on freedom of expression as well as many civil society members recommended that Facebook anchor its content moderation in the international human rights law regime. Others expressed concern that this legal regime would not be sufficiently protective of speech and contained inconsistencies that create problems for content moderation.

Those concerns were linked to a recent scholarly call for updates to the UN’s international legal regime regarding freedom of expression, particularly with respect to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

This Article examines the scholarly call’s analysis to assess whether its conclusions are correct, which would make this body of law less useful for platforms to adopt in content moderation. This Article finds that the state of international law on freedom of expression is more protective of speech (and more coherent) than the scholars assessed and proposes ways to achieve their laudable goal of promoting broad protections for freedom of expression in international law. The Article concludes that the existing international legal regime on freedom of expression remains a useful resource for content moderation by global platforms.


by Bryan T. Camp

At a doctrinal level, the subject of this Article is timely. During this time of the coronavirus pandemic, casinos have been closed and large populations have been subject to stay-home orders from local and state authorities. One can reasonably expect a large increase in electronic gaming and thus an increased need for proper consideration of its taxation. This Article argues for a cash-out rule of taxation.

At a deeper level, the subject of this Article is timeless. Tax law is wickedly complex for a reason. This Article explores that complexity using the example of electronic gaming. It grapples with the source of that complexity: an inherent and unresolvable tension between economic theories of income and the practical needs of administering a system of taxation to a large population in a democracy. That tension led some scholars to argue for a standards-based approach to taxation. This Article considers and rejects that argument. Legal rules are necessary to mediate between theory and practice. Hence, this Article demonstrates the continued relevance and importance of doctrinal analysis in legal scholarship.