Richard L. Renck is a seasoned trial lawyer with almost 20 years of experience litigating matters in both the state and federal courts in Delaware-including an extensive practice before Delaware’s Court of Chancery. His practice focuses on complex corporate and commercial litigation with a particular emphasis on corporate governance disputes (including stockholder class and derivative litigation), and statutory actions arising under the Delaware General Corporation Law (including, for instance, "book-and-records" litigation, actions to compel an annual meeting, or actions seeing judicial dissolution of an entity). Richard also represents clients in high-stakes contractual and commercial disputes.
He is also an experienced counsellor to corporate boards, individual directors and committees of boards involved in challenging litigation, addressing complex issues of corporate governance, facing hard-fought proxy contests, or responding to stockholder demands. Richard also regularly works with the professionals in Duane Morris’ Intellectual Property practice group in representing clients in intellectual property litigation in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware.
Richard brings to bear on all client matters his love of learning about the intricacies of the businesses of his clients and applies his judgment, prudence, perspective and creativity to each client’s individual situation. These characteristics have also been recognized by members of the Delaware judiciary, who have appointed Mr. Renck as either a special master or a receiver on a number of occasions-including as the receiver for an approximately $300 million trust involved in multi-state litigation.
Richard is active in the Business Law Section of the ABA and has served as the Chair of both the Judges Initiative and the Business Courts subcommittee of that Section. His involvement in those activities ensures that he remains at the forefront of corporate and commercial matters that are being litigated in the specialized business and commercial courts in jurisdictions beyond Delaware.
After law school, Richard served as law clerk in both of Delaware’s primary trial courts--first in the Superior Court of Delaware, and then to the Honorable William B. Chandler III and the Honorable John W. Noble in the Delaware Court of Chancery. Those clerkships cemented Richard’s desire to remain in Delaware to practice the very specialized corporate and commercial law that is the hallmark of that jurisdiction.
The listing of areas of practice in the foregoing profile does not represent official certification as a specialist in those areas.
Areas of Practice
- Commercial Litigation
- Corporate Governance
Delaware trial counsel representing client in ongoing litigation with her siblings over the Ecuadoran estates of their parents. This litigation has involved complicated family dynamics, tracing sophisticated corporate transactions over various jurisdictions, and shifting alliances between and among the three siblings as litigation has proceeded on three continents.
Represented the Stockholders' Representatives of a pharmaceutical company in connection with the receipt and distribution to the former shareholders of a $150 million "milestone" payment from another pharmaceutical company. The milestone payment arose out of the March, 2016 approval by the U.S. FDA of a biological drug that treats a severe form of asthma.
Representing a major Israeli commercial law firm that has been sued in the Court of Chancery for allegedly aiding and abetting breaches of fiduciary duty by its client, a Delaware corporation.
Delaware trial counsel in matter pending in the Court of Chancery where client is engaged in global litigation with her uncles and other family members over her inheritance from her late father. She is a resident of Lebanon, and litigation is currently pending in Delaware and Canada.
Representing two minority stockholders in class and derivative litigation against Maritime Explorations, Inc., which is the entity responsible for finding and salvaging from the pirate ship the Whydah. The litigation challenges certain transactions where the majority stockholders purported to issue to themselves additional shares that would have increased their ownership from 51% to 92%.
Trial counsel representing a leading provider of internet radio to foreign nationals around the globe and its current board of directors in a dispute over control of the board and of the company.
Represent a wireless service provider in defending against a statutory appraisal action following a merger.
- Counsel to the Special Committee of the Board of Directors of Lyris, Inc. as it solicited, negotiated and approved a merger transaction.
- Delaware counsel to a large, US-based construction management firm as it addressed an unsolicited offer to purchase the company and interest from an activist investor. The engagement entailed advising the executive officer team and the board of directors on takeover protection strategies, defense of a proxy contest, and the defense of expedited litigation seeking to enjoin the holding of the company’s annual meeting.
- In April 2015, appointed by the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware as a Receiver Pendente Lite charged with the administration and management of an approximately $300 million family dynasty trust during the pendency of divorce proceedings in Kentucky.
- Judy v. Preferred Communication Systems, Inc., 2013 WL 1897127 (Del. Ch. March 25, 2013): I served as the court-appointed receiver charged with gathering the company's books and records, completing an accurate stock ledger, and convening an annual meeting for the election of directors.
- America's Mining Corp. v. Theriault, 51, A.3d 1213 (Del. 2012): I was the primary A&G lawyer responsible for representing the nominal defendant, Southern Peru Copper Corp. in this shareholder derivative suit.
- In re Anderson News, LLC, Case No. 09-10695 (CSS)(2011 Bank. Ct. of Del.): Counsel to the Examiner in this Chapter 11 proceeding.
- WaveDivision Holdings, LLC v. Millennium Digital Media Systems, L.L.C., 2010 WL 3706624 (Del. Ch. Sept 17, 2010). I was the primary A&G lawyer responsible for representing the defendant in this commercial dispute.
- In re Appraisal of Metromedia Intern. Group, Inc., 971 A.2d 893 (Del. Ch. 2009): Represented petitioners in this statutory appraisal action.
- In re Loral Space and Communications, Inc., 2008 WL 4293781 (Del. Ch. Sept. 19, 2008): Represented significant investor as the derivative plaintiff in this class and derivative action.
- Represented the special committee of the board of directors of an automotive parts supplier as it considered strategic alternatives while in the “zone of insolvency.” (2008).
- OCI, Wyoming v. PacifiCorp, 479 F.3d 1199 (10th Cir. 2007): Successfully represented mining corporation in a suit against the supplier of electrical power for power outages.
- Black v. Hollinger Intern., Inc., 872 A.2d 559 (Del. 2005): Represented the members of the Special Committee charged with reviewing the conduct of Mr. Black.
- U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware
- U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
- University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1999
- Articles Editor, South Carolina Environmental Law Journal
- Order of Wig and Robe
- Presbyterian College, B.S., cum laude (with honors in Business), 1992
- Duane Morris LLP
- Partner, 2014-present
- Ashby & Geddes
- Partner, 2008-2013
- Associate, 2003-2008
- Potter Anderson & Corroon
- Associate, 2001-2003
- Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware
- Judicial Law Clerk to the Hon. William B. Chandler III and the Hon. John W. Noble, 2000-2001
- Superior Court of the State of Delaware
- Judicial Law Clerk, 1999-2000
- American Bar Association
- Section of Business Law, Business & Corporation Litigation Committee
-- Former Chairman, Business Courts Subcommittee
-- Co-chair of Judges Initiative
- Delaware State Bar Association
- Rodney Inn of Court
Honors and Awards
- Listed in The Best Lawyers in America, 2023
- Listed in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, 2022
Civic and Charitable Activities
- Office of the Child Advocate, Delaware
- Guardian ad litem on behalf of abused and neglected children
- Haig Point Club and Community Association
- Member, Board of Directors
- Friends of Mount Harmon, Inc.
- Member, Board of Directors
- Contributor, Duane Morris Delaware Business Law Blog
- Author, "Are Statutory Appraisal Proceedings the 'New 220'? Not Likely." Law.com, March 2, 2022
- Author, "Breach of a Corporate Charter Provision: Fiduciary Fault or Contractual Claim?," Delaware Business Court Insider, March 17, 2021
- Author, "Delaware Governor Issues Stay-at-Home Advisory and Universal Indoor Mask Order," Duane Morris Alert, December 4, 2020
- Co-author, "Through the Decades: The Development of Business Courts in the United States of America", The Business Lawyer, Summer 2020
- Author, "The 'Arbital Mulligan'—Who Gets to Grant One, the Courts or the Arbitrators?" Delaware Business Court Insider, January 29, 2020
Author, "'Substantive Economic Negotiations'—The Witching Hour for 'MFW' Conditions," Delaware Business Court Insider, May 1, 2019
Author, "Expert or Arbitrator—Who Decides? Chancery Court Clarifies Issue in 'Ray Beyond,'" Delaware Business Court Insider, February 27, 2019
- Co-Author, "Annual Survey of Judicial Developments Pertaining to Venture Capital," The Business Lawyer Vol. 72, 157-180, Winter 2016-2017
- Author, "Interlocutory Appeal Request Rejected in AOL-Millennial Merger Case," Delaware Business Court Insider, October 21, 2015
- Co-author, Chapter 4: Business Courts, ABA Section of Business Law, Committee on Business Courts and Corporate Litigation: Annual Review of Developments in Business and Corporate Litigation, 2015 Ed
- Author, "Court Examines Application of Implied Covenant, Step-Transaction Doctrines," Delaware Business Court Insider, February 17, 2015
- Author, "Corporations Don't Independently Owe Fiduciary Duties to Stockholders," Delaware Business Court Insider, August 20, 2014
- Author, "When Is an Officer Acting in an Official Capacity?," Delaware Business Court Insider, June 18, 2014
- Co-author, "Recent Developments in Business Commercial Courts in the United States and Abroad," Business Law Today, ABA, May 1, 2014
- Co-author, "Chancery Continues Effort to Corral Multiforum Litigation," Delaware Business Court Insider, February 25, 2014
- Co-author, Chapter 5: Business Courts, ABA Section of Business Law, Committee on Business Courts and Corporate Litigation: Annual Review of Developments in Business and Corporate Litigation, 2013 Ed
- Co-author, Chapter 5: Business Courts, ABA Section of Business Law, Committee on Business Courts and Corporate Litigation: Annual Review of Developments in Business and Corporate Litigation, 2012 Ed
- Co-author, "Recent Developments Affecting Professional's, Officer's, and Director's Liability," 47 Tort Trial & Ins. Practice L.J. 1 (2011)
- Quoted, "Slights Reflects on Changes During His Time on Del. Court of Chancery," Delaware Law Weekly, June 8, 2022
Selected Speaking Engagements
- Moderator, "When Three is a Crowd: Issues in Managing Complex Multidistrict and Cross-Border Litigation," 2014 Business Law Section Annual Meeting of the ABA, Chicago, September 12, 2014
- Moderator, "Recent Developments in Director Liability," 2013 Association of Corporate Counsel Annual Meeting
- Moderator, "Independent Directors: Help Them to Help You," 2012 Association of Corporate Counsel Annual Meeting