Justia Texas Supreme Court Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Securities Law
Janvey v. Golf Channel, Inc.
The Golf Channel, Inc. entered into an agreement with Stanford International Bank Limited (Stanford) under which Golf Channel received $5.9 million in exchange for media-advertising services. It was later discovered that Stanford used a classic Ponzi-scheme artifice. At issue in this case was whether Golf Channel must return all remuneration paid for services rendered absent proof the transaction benefited Stanford’s creditors. The Fifth Circuit initially ordered Golf Channel to relinquish its compensation, concluding that media-advertising services have “no value” to a Ponzi scheme’s creditors despite the same services being potentially “quite valuable” to the creditors of a legitimate business. On rehearing, the Circuit vacated its opinion and certified a question to the Supreme Court regarding the Texas Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (TUFTA), under which an asset transferred with intent to defraud a creditor may be reclaimed for the benefit of the transferor’s creditors unless the transferee took the asset in good faith and for “reasonably equivalent value.” The Supreme Court held that TUFTA does not contain separate standards for assessing “value” and “reasonably equivalent value” based on whether the debtor was operating a Ponzi scheme and that value must be determined objectively at the time of the transfer and in relation to the individual exchange at hand. View "Janvey v. Golf Channel, Inc." on Justia Law
Life Partners Holdings, Inc. v. State
At issue in these two separate cases was whether a life settlement agreement or viatical settlement agreement is an investment contract and thus a security under the Texas Securities Act. In one case, Plaintiffs filed a class action alleging that Life Partners, Inc. violated the Texas Securities Act (Act) by selling unregistered securities and misrepresenting to purchasers that they were not, in fact, securities. In the second case, the State filed suit alleging that Life Partners had committed fraud in connection with the sale of securities. The Both district courts entered judgments for Life Partners. Both courts of appeals reversed in part, concluding that the life settlement agreements were securities under the Texas Securities Act. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that that the agreements at issue in these cases were investment contracts, and thus securities, under the Texas Securities Act. View "Life Partners Holdings, Inc. v. State" on Justia Law
In re Fisher
Mike Richey sold his interest in Richey Oilfield Construction, Inc. to Nighthawk Oilfield Services, Ltd. Richey remained employed as president of Richey Oil and became a limited partner in Nighthawk. The primary agreements regarding the transaction were a stock purchase agreement, an agreement for the purchase of Richey Oil’s goodwill, and a promissory note. Each of the acquisition agreements contained a forum selection clause naming Tarrant County as the venue for state court actions. When the business did not go as well as the parties had hoped, Richey filed suit in Wise County, where Richey resided, against two Nighthawk executives (together, Relators) for, among other claims, breach of fiduciary duty, common law fraud, statutory fraud, and violations of the Texas Securities Act. Relators responded by unsuccessfully moving the trial court to transfer venue to Tarrant County or dismiss the suit pursuant to the mandatory venue selection clauses in the acquisition agreements. Relators subsequently sought mandamus relief. The Supreme Court conditionally granted relief, holding that the trial court abused its discretion by failing to enforce the forum selection clauses in the acquisition agreements. View "In re Fisher" on Justia Law