​Experts: Delaware court McDonald’s ruling lowers bar on officer liability


The fiduciary duty of oversight that historically has applied only to directors “applies equally to officers,” including chief compliance officers, the Delaware Court of Chancery explicitly held in a recent ruling.

The Jan. 26 decision by Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster in the case McDonald’s Corporation Stockholder Derivative Litigation means shareholders can proceed to trial with their consolidated derivative lawsuit against David Fairhurst, the fast food chain’s former global chief people officer.

A second shareholder derivative lawsuit filed against McDonald’s current and former board members alleging breach of oversight duty was dismissed by Laster in a separate decision issued March 1. In that decision, Laster found the directors took steps to address the toxic culture.

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