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March 31 — Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and Joel Hyatt are entitled to an advancement of some of their legal expenses in a lawsuit stemming from Al Jazeera International Inc.'s 2013 acquisition of Current Media LLC, the Delaware Chancery Court ruled March 31.
Vice Chancellor Sam Glasscock III referred to the case as a “twist” of the typical fact pattern involving advancement because, instead of a dispute between a company and its employees, it involves an acquiring company and former officers and directors of the target company.
The underlying lawsuit was initiated by Gore and Hyatt—former directors and officers of Current Media—who sued Al Jazeera in 2014 over funds held back in the $500 million deal. They claimed that the network's officials sought to improperly use the money to resolve disputes with distributors.
However, Al Jazeera fired back with counterclaims alleging that Hyatt and Gore weren't entitled to amounts held in escrow because Current Media breached representations and warranties in the merger agreement . Al Jazeera asserted that Gore and Hyatt caused Current Media to violate agreements with some of its former distributors.
Gore and Hyatt sought an advancement from Al Jazeera for defending against the counterclaims.
The court found that under the merger agreement, Al Jazeera was required to honor Current Media's advancement obligations.
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The opinion is available at http://www.bloomberglaw.com/public/document/Hyatt_Joel_Z_et_al_vs_Al_Jazeera_America_Holdings_II_LLC_et_al_Do.
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