DLA Piper represents Miller Energy Resources in dismissal of shareholder derivative lawsuits

DLA Piper has represented Miller Energy Resources in the dismissal of two consolidated shareholder derivative suits, recently affirmed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, where plaintiffs alleged that the oil and natural gas company had overvalued assets it purchased during the bankruptcy proceedings of Pacific Energy Resources.

Originally filed in 2011 in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, the lawsuits alleged supposed mismanagement and waste of corporate assets as well as the dissemination of misleading information.

In 2012, the trial court granted Miller Energy’s motion to dismiss these suits due to the plaintiffs’ failure to make a pre-suit demand on Miller Energy’s board of directors to investigate the allegations.

The court found that the plaintiffs did not raise sufficient factual allegations to excuse their failure to make such a demand. On 19 September, the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in a precedent-setting decision on the demand futility issue, affirmed the dismissal of the suits by the District Court.

The DLA Piper team representing Miller Energy Resources was led by Perrie Weiner, international co-chair of the firm’s securities litigation practice, and included Robert Weber and Patrick Hunnius in Los Angeles.

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