Articles by Tom Hals

Alpha Natural Resources Reaches Deal with U.S. to Exit Bankruptcy, Clean-Up Mines

The U.S. government agreed to a mine clean-up deal that allows coal producer Alpha Natural Resources to exit bankruptcy, despite concerns that Alpha will be unable to fund $400 million in commitments, a government lawyer told a court on Thursday. …

Judge Throws Out ‘Everybody Does It’ Defense in Shareholder Class Action

Corporate legal battles are often decided on nuanced readings of dense statutes, but one recent ruling that could expose scores of U.S. companies to shareholder lawsuits turned partly on a much simpler defense: everybody is doing it. That failed to …

Judge Says Kinder Morgan Owes Investors Damages for El Paso Pipeline Deal

Energy pipeline operator Kinder Morgan Inc. is on the hook for the bulk of $171 million in damages owed to investors in an affiliate of El Paso Corp., which Kinder Morgan acquired in 2014, a Delaware judge ruled on Wednesday. …

Del. Court of Chancery Vice Chancellor Noble to Retire in February

One of the most important venues for U.S. corporate disputes, Delaware’s Court of Chancery, will lose one of its five judges when Vice Chancellor John Noble retires in February. Noble, 64, informed Delaware Governor Jack Markell in a letter that …

Delaware Court Raising Standards for Class Actions Against Mergers

A Delaware judge signaled on Thursday that the rules are changing for shareholder class actions challenging corporate mergers, which are widely criticized for reaping millions dollars in lawyers’ fees while rarely generating a penny for investors. The ruling approved a …

Delaware Bans ‘Loser-Pays’ Fee-Shifting Bylaws in Corporate Class Actions

Delaware’s governor has signed into law a ban on companies adopting rules that could force investors who bring and lose certain lawsuits to pay the company’s legal costs, disappointing business groups. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce had embraced the use …

Law Firms Accused of Fraud in Asbestos Litigation

U.S. personal injury lawyers allegedly concealed evidence and induced clients to commit perjury to drive up asbestos-related settlements and garner bigger fees, according to lawsuits unsealed on Tuesday in the bankruptcy of a gasket maker. The unsealed racketeering complaints alleged …

RBC Facing $76 Million in Shareholder Claim Over Merger

A Delaware judge said Royal Bank of Canada must pay $75.8 million in damages to former shareholders of Rural/Metro because it failed to disclose conflicts of interest that tainted the $438 million buyout of the ambulance operator. The ruling is …

Wal-Mart Must Share Documents on Mexico Bribery Probe: Court

The Delaware Supreme Court affirmed last Wednesday a lower court ruling that ordered Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to provide a shareholder with documents related to the company’s internal probe of allegations the retailer had paid bribes in Mexico. Wal-Mart had appealed …

Businesses Lobby Delaware to Keep ‘Loser Pays’ Option in Shareholder Suits

Big business is lobbying Delaware lawmakers for corporate bylaws to shift legal fees to shareholders who sue and lose, which legal experts say could curtail a booming type of investor class actions. An affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce …