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The Corporate Contract in Changing TimesIs the Law Keeping Up?$
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Steven Davidoff Solomon and Randall Stuart Thomas

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226599403

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226599540.001.0001

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Delaware and Financial Risk

Delaware and Financial Risk

(p.130) Chapter Six Delaware and Financial Risk
The Corporate Contract in Changing Times

Frank Partnoy

University of Chicago Press

In this chapter, I argue that financial risk poses unique challenges that justify a differential application of corporate law oversight standards. The steps in my argument are as follows. First, I show how modern firms with significant exposure to financial risk are different in fundamental ways that matter crucially to the application of oversight standards. Second, I argue that, notwithstanding these differences, the major Delaware oversight cases were correctly decided, though the result might have been the opposite if complaints had been framed differently, with relevant and important facts. Third, I argue that the federal case involving the JPMorgan “London Whale” episode was wrongly decided. I am not arguing for any change in the oversight standards themselves. Instead, my argument is that Delaware law already provides ample support and justification for holding directors to a higher standard with respect to the oversight of financial risk. The complexities of financial risk pose unique challenges that the Delaware courts should take into account when assessing director oversight failures. Such an approach would not subject directors to unwarranted exposure for oversight failures, or have negative implications for business, and it would not change Delaware’s approach to cases that do not involve financial risk.

Keywords:   Financial risk, financial risk management, Delaware, financial risk and the modern corporate contract

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