CDX Liquidating Trust v. Venrock Assocs., et al, No. 10-1953 (7th Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
The company was established in 1998 to develop systems for high-speed Internet connections for home computers. After a decision to not respond to an acquisition offer, the company was in financial trouble by 2000 and took an $11 million loan for 90 days and a second loan for $9 million, on which it defaulted. The company exchanged its assets for stock in an amount that would have satisfied creditors and preferred stockholders. The stock, the company's only asset in bankruptcy, fell to a value less than the claims of creditors. Common shareholders brought suit. The district court entered summary judgment for the defendants. The Seventh Circuit reversed and remanded, stating that the company's failure was not likely solely the result of the "burst of the dot-com bubble." Even if the directors were excused from liability for failure to exercise due care, as permitted by Delaware law, there was evidence of disloyalty, which was not excused. Evidence of disloyalty switched the burden of proving "entire fairness" with respect to the loans on the directors. There was enough evidence of causation and that certain preferred stockholders (venture capital groups) aided and abetted the directors to submit the question to a jury.