In this coordinated derivative action, Oracle Corporation shareholders alleged that the company’s CEO, Lawrence J. Ellison, profited from illegal insider trading. Acting as co-lead counsel, Berman Tabacco reached an innovative settlement under which Mr. Ellison agreed to personally make a charitable donation of $100 million over five years in Oracle’s name to an institution or charity approved by the company and pay $22 million in attorneys’ fees and expenses associated with the prosecution of the case.
This innovative agreement benefited Oracle through increased goodwill and brand recognition, while minimizing concerns that would have been raised by a payment from Mr. Ellison to the company, given his significant ownership stake. This matter was significant as it stands as a rare private suit where an insider was held to account for alleged insider trading activities and remains one of the largest derivative settlements. It also led to a landmark decision regarding Special Litigation Committees under Delaware law. In re Oracle Corp. Derivative Litigation, 824 A.2d 917 (Del. Ch. 2003). This litigation also triggered the company to make important changes to its policies that decrease the chances that an insider will be able to trade in possession of material, non-public information.