Kepley v. Lanz

The Kepleys owned 30% of ATA’s outstanding capital stock. Lanz bought one share of Series A Convertible Preferred Stock in the corporation and a right to purchase common stock. At that time, Lanz, ATA, and its shareholders entered into an agreement, prohibiting sale of restricted shares (including Lanz’s share) to ATA’s competitors. In 2010, the Kepleys learned that Lanz sought to sell his share and purchase option to Crimson, an ATA competitor, for $2,799,000. The Kepleys sued, contending that Crimson’s president told them that they could not afford the Lanz shares or litigation and that Crimson would “shut it down or squeeze them out.” The Kepleys sold their shares to Crimson. Lanz did not complete the sale of his stock and remained a shareholder in ATA, 30 percent of which Crimson then owned. The Kepleys sought the difference between the sale price and the fair market value of the shares. The district court dismissed, finding that the Kepleys lacked standing because their alleged injury amounted to diminution in stock value, suffered by the corporation, and only derivatively shared by the Kepleys. The Sixth Circuit reversed, holding that the Kepleys, who are no longer shareholders and cannot pursue derivative claims, have standing for a direct suit. View "Kepley v. Lanz" on Justia Law