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Supreme Court Asked to Consider No-Action Letters

Joe Mont | September 18, 2015

As if the whole process for excluding shareholder proposals wasn’t confusing enough, now the Supreme Court may be weighing in.

Trinity Wall Street, an organization associated with New York City’s Trinity Church, has petitioned the nation’s highest court to review a July 2014 opinion by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. It said that Trinity’s shareholder proposal requiring that Walmart’s Board of Directors review the retailers policy on gun sales encroached upon “ordinary business” decisions” and could be excluded from the annual proxy.

In December 2013 Trinity submitted a proposal aimed at pressuring Walmart’s board of directors to decide whether the company should keep selling guns with magazines able to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Walmart asked the Securities and Exchange Commission for a no-action letter that would allow it to omit the proposal on the...

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