| WILMINGTON, Del, July 27
WILMINGTON, Del, July 27 Billionaire investor
Carl Icahn scored a court victory in his proxy fight with
drugmaker Forest Laboratories Inc on Friday after he was
granted access to some of the company's records.
Icahn has accused the maker of antidepressant drug Lexapro
of mismanagement and is seeking court documents to aid in his
fight to elect four members to the company's 10-member board at
its Aug. 15 annual meeting.
Master Abigail LeGrow of Delaware's Court of Chancery ruled
that Forest had to open its records relating to events such as
the company's lowering of its earnings forecast in June.
LeGrow refused to order the company to open records relating
to its plans for the eventual departure of 84-year-old Chief
Executive Howard Solomon.
The parties will have 48 hours after a transcript of
Friday's hearing is available to appeal to one of the court's
Attorneys for both parties declined to comment after the
Icahn, through funds he controls, sued the company in June
seeking its records.
His legal team said he may share what he learns with other
investors, and he might sue the board if he discovers that they
have breached their duties to stockholders.
The case involves the right of a shareholder to demand books
and records from a company to carry out an investigation, a hot
topic in Delaware corporate law.
The law is still developing, and lawyers advising companies
worry that if it becomes too friendly to shareholders it could
throw open the doors to the boardroom and stifle debate among
Lawyers for shareholders gripe that conducting
investigations can be expensive and time consuming, and while
they are fighting for records another attorney might sue outside
Delaware and seize control of the litigation.
The court's chief judge, Leo Strine, recently scolded public
pension funds from California and New York for suing the board
of Wal-Mart Stores Inc over an alleged bribery scandal
in Mexico without first demanding company records.
The case is High River Limited Partnership et al v Forest
Laboratories Inc, Delaware Court of Chancery, No. 7663.