Christine S. Azar
OverviewChristine S. Azar is the Chair of the Firm's Corporate Governance and Shareholder Rights Litigation Practice. A longtime advocate of shareholder rights, Christine prosecutes complex derivative and transactional litigation in the Delaware Court of Chancery and throughout the United States.
In recognition of her accomplishments, Chambers & Partners USA ranked her as a leading lawyer in Delaware, noting she is "well known for her knowledge of complex shareholder claims as well as M&A and other transactional work." She was also featured on The National Law Journal's Plaintiffs' Hot List, recommended by The Legal 500, and named a Securities Litigation Star in Delaware by Benchmark Litigation as well as one of Benchmark's Top 250 Women in Litigation.
Christine's caseload represents some of the most sophisticated litigation in her field. Currently, she is representing California State Teachers' Retirement System as co-lead counsel in In re Wal-Mart Derivative Litigation. The suit alleges that Wal-Mart's board of directors and management breached their fiduciary duties owed to shareholders and the company as well as violated the company's own corporate governance guidelines, anti-corruption policy, and statement of ethics.
Christine has worked on some of the most groundbreaking cases in the field of merger and derivative litigation. In In re Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. Derivative Litigation, she achieved the second largest derivative settlement in the Delaware Court of Chancery history, a $153.75 million settlement with an unprecedented provision of direct payments to stockholders by means of a special dividend. As co-lead counsel in In re El Paso Corporation Shareholder Litigation, which shareholders alleged that acquisition of El Paso by Kinder Morgan, Inc. was improperly influenced by conflicted financial advisors and management, Christine helped secure a $110 million settlement. Acting as co-lead counsel in In re J.Crew Shareholder Litigation, Christine helped secure a settlement that increased the payment to J.Crew's shareholders by $16 million following an allegedly flawed going-private transaction. Christine also assisted in obtaining $29 million in settlements on behalf of Barnes & Noble investors in In re Barnes & Noble Stockholders Derivative Litigation which alleged breaches of fiduciary duties by the Barnes & Noble management and board of directors. In In re The Student Loan Corporation, Christine was part of the team that successfully protected the minority shareholders in connection with a complex web of proposed transactions that ran contrary to shareholders' interest by securing a recovery of nearly $10 million for shareholders.
Acting as co-lead counsel in In re RehabCare Group, Inc. Shareholders Litigation, Christine was part of the team that structured a settlement that included a cash payment to shareholders as well as key deal reforms such as enhanced disclosures and an amended merger agreement. Representing shareholders in In re Compellent Technologies, Inc. Shareholder Litigation, regarding the proposed acquisition of Compellent Technologies Inc. by Dell, Inc., Christine was integral in negotiating a settlement that included key deal improvements including elimination of the "poison pill" and standstill agreement with potential future bidders as well as a reduction of the termination fee amount. In In re Walgreen Co. Derivative Litigation, Christine negotiated significant corporate governance reforms on behalf of West Palm Beach Police Pension Fund and the Police Retirement System of St. Louis, requiring Walgreens to extend its Drug Enforcement Agency commitments in this derivative action related to the company's Controlled Substances Act violation.
In addition to her active legal practice, Christine serves as a Volunteer Guardian Ad Litem in the Office of the Child Advocate. In this capacity, she has represented children in foster care in the state of Delaware to ensure the protection of their legal rights. Christine is also a member of the Advisory Committee of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance of the University of Delaware.