Arguments were heard this week in the Delaware Supreme Court in a lawsuit against Tulsa’s Williams Companies over its failed 2015 merger with Energy Transfer Equity of Dallas.
The suit stems from a derivative case filed by a stockholder seeking damages for a $428 million payout by The Williams Cos., a case that had been dismissed by the Delaware Chancery Court in the spring of 2017. In dismissing the suit, the Chancery Court ruled the Plaintiff had failed to pleaded facts demonstrating that an exception to the demand requirement of a Court of Chancery Rule applied.
Some stockholders contended a move by Williams Cos,. to buy the remaining ownership interest in Williams Partners, L.P. was meant to thwart efforts of Energy Transfer Equity to buy the company. In 2014, Williams’ board member and CEO Alan Armstrong had opposed the offer by ETE.
During this week’s hearing, Delaware’s Chief Justice pressed the stockholder attorney to justify what he labeled litigation “games” that led to the filing of the lawsuits.