Qualcomm Board Dodges Suit Alleging Lack of Antitrust Oversight

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By Michael Greene

Qualcomm Inc. officers and directors won’t have to defend a lawsuit alleging they disregarded their oversight duties by inadequately responding to “red flags” that the company was violating international antitrust laws, the Delaware Supreme Court ruled March 3.

The state high court upheld a ruling that found the shareholder plaintiff, the Melbourne Municipal Firefighters & Pension Trust Fund, failed to show the San Diego-based company’s board acted in bad faith.

The shareholder alleged that Qualcomm’s board disregarded its duty to remedy and prevent violations of fair competition laws in foreign countries. It claimed the board’s inaction resulted in a $975 million fine from Chinese regulators.

The Delaware Chancery Court in August 2016 dismissed the lawsuit, concluding that the alleged red flags didn’t rise to the level that could implicate the board’s immediate duty to alter the company’s culture and business practices.

The case is Melbourne Mun. Firefighters Pension Tr. Fund v. Jacobs , 2017 BL 66399, Del., No. 444, 2016, 3/3/17 .

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