Francis G.X. Pileggi

Member

Overview

Francis Pileggi practices primarily in the areas of corporate and commercial litigation. His litigation practice emphasizes representation in high-stakes disputes of corporations, stockholders, members of boards of directors, members and managers of LLCs, and those with managerial or ownership interests in other forms of entities. He has extensive experience in matters involving fiduciary duties and corporate governance as well as summary proceedings under the Delaware General Corporation Law. Francis has also been certified as a mediator.

For many years Francis served as the Managing Partner of the Delaware office as well as on the firm’s Executive Committee, and is a current member of the firm’s Compensation Committee. 

Francis created and maintains the Delaware Corporate and Commercial Litigation Blog at www.delawarelitigation.com, which was named one of LexisNexis’ Top 25 Business Law Blogs and was selected for inclusion in the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 in 2011 and 2012. In turn, he has been described as “a brand name in Delaware corporate litigation.”

He also has enjoyed success in litigating, in both federal and state appellate courts, groundbreaking Second Amendment cases and related constitutional issues on behalf of civil rights organizations. In 2015 and 2019, he was honored with The Chief Justice William Killen Award for Distinguished Second Amendment Appellate Advocacy.

He is a co-editor of the firm’s Artificial Intelligence Law Blog.

Francis recently published a book entitled, American Legal Ethics: A Retrospective from 1997 to 2018 (Outskirts Press, 2018), available on Amazon.com.

Francis has represented townships in Delaware County and Chester County, Pennsylvania, as special counsel on litigation matters. He has also represented a school district in Delaware County and educational and nonprofit institutions in Pennsylvania and elsewhere on corporate governance, litigation, and related issues.

He has represented governmental entities and private parties in connection with the Pennsylvania Right to Know Law, and he is the co-editor of a blog that provides commentary and insights on that law.

 

 

 

Representative Matters

  • Served as counsel to a majority shareholder and members of the board in court to defend fiduciary duty claims.
  • Sued to resolve control contest based on disputed validity of election of board of directors.
  • Sued to resolve control contest among members of LLC.
  • Represented director in suit to break a board deadlock.
  • Represented board of directors in suit by former director.
  • Representation in expedited proceedings regarding advancement and indemnification for directors and officers.
  • Obtained judicial relief for minority shareholders to enforce fiduciary duties owed by board of directors.
  • Secured expedited injunctive relief to enforce restrictive covenant for wealth management company whose employee attempted to leave with customer lists and data.
  • Sued to obtain books and records for shareholders seeking valuation and for other purposes.
  • Litigated to effect dissolution of LLC based on statute designed to address deadlock of business due to even ownership between two 50/50 members.
  • Represented hedge fund in court to enforce terms of agreement with departing partner.
  • Counseled accountant in dissolution of accounting firm.
  • Represented water utility in court in dispute over contract provisions regarding rate charged to other utilities.
  • Defense and prosecution of claims for sellers of businesses in earn-out disputes.
  • Litigated for minority residents of a housing authority to enforce their Second Amendment rights and won unanimous Delaware Supreme Court en banc opinion.
  • Served as counsel to a township in litigation with adjoining international airport.

Professional Affiliations

  • The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, Guest Contributor
  • Delaware State Bar Association, Professional Ethics Committee, Vice Chair; Executive Committee, Former Member
  • Delaware County Bar Association
  • American Bar Association Indemnification and D&O Insurance Subcommittee, Former Chair
  • American Bar Association Business Law Section, Business and Corporate Litigation Committee Newsletter, Former Editor
  • American Bar Association Ethics Subcommittee, Former Co-Chair
  • Knights of Malta
  • Legatus International
  • National Italian American Foundation
  • American Inns of Court, Ethics Columnist for The Bencher Magazine
  • National Association of Corporate Directors, former columnist for Directorship Magazine
  • Delaware Association of Second Amendment Lawyers, Board Member

Community Involvement

  • Annual Delaware Columbus Communion Breakfast Committee, Member
  • Christopher Columbus Memorial Association of Delaware County, Member
  • Justinian Society, Member
  • Neumann University, Former Trustee
  • St. Thomas More Society, Former President
  • Wilmington News Journal Community Advisory Board, Former Member
  • St. Edmond’s Academy, Former Board Member
  • Glen Mills School, Former Board Member

Awards and Recognition:

  • Selected for inclusion in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business as a “Recognized Practitioner” in Chancery – Delaware
  • Attained an AV® Preeminent™ rating from Martindale-Hubbell
  • Selected for inclusion among the “Top Lawyers in Delaware” in Delaware Today magazine
  • Honored with The Chief Justice William Killen Award for Distinguished Second Amendment Appellate Advocacy, 2015 and 2019
  • Bestowed the title of “Cavaliere” (Italian for “Knight”) by the President and Prime Minister of Italy, signifying membership in the Italian Order of Merit for distinction in the arts, science, the law and/or public service
  • Bestowed the title of “Kentucky Colonel” by the Governor of Kentucky in recognition of public service
  • Selected for inclusion in the SmartCEO 2010 Legal Elite list
  • Selected for inclusion in the “2010 People to Watch” Directorship 100 list by Directorship magazine as an influential individual in corporate governance
  • Honored with the Distinguished Service Award, Delaware State Bar Association, New Lawyers Section

News and Insights

Publications

Media Coverage

  • “Delaware Mourns The Chancellor Who ‘Saved Corporate Law’,” Law360, October 2019.
  • “Pro-Business Group’s Ad Targeting Chancellor Elicits Anger in Delaware,” Delaware Business Court Insider, September 2019. 
  • “Ultragenyx Asks Court to Toss Shareholder’s Board Pay Suit,” Bloomberg, August 2019. 
  • “Strine’s ‘Bittersweet’ Retirement Announcement May Presage Move to Private Practice, Del. Attorneys Say,” Delaware Law Weekly, July 2019. 
  • “Retiring Chief Justice Strine Raised The Bar For The Del. Bar,” Law360, July 2019. 
  • “Delaware Expands Digital Frontier On Books, Records Suit,” Law360, February 2019. 
  • “Eckert Seamans Member Publishes Legal Ethics Book,” Delaware Law Weekly, December 2018. 
  • “Delaware Judge Shoots Down Anti-Gun Regulations for Parks,” NRATV, October 2018.
  • “In Parting Shot, Shawe Says Del. Courts Pushed TransPerfect Out of State,” Delaware Law Weekly, October 2018.
  • “Delaware ruling is a partial victory for gun-rights advocates,” Delaware Online, October 2018.  
  • “Del. Court’s New Filing Deadline Addresses Work-Life Balance but Highlights Enduring Rift,” Delaware Law Weekly, July 2018.
  • “Bill to Ban Assault Weapons Fails Without Senate Vote,” Delaware Law Weekly, June 2018.
  • “Can Leslie Moonve’s Audacious Strategy Swing the Votes in CBS’s Favor?” Variety, May 2018.  
  • “Opinion: Elon Musk Has Jokes, But Tesla Suffers the Consequences,” MarketWatch, April 2018.
  • “Weinstein Scandal Triggers Questions of Corporate Liability and Even Complicity,” Variety, October 2017.
  • “Could Weinstein Accusations Lead to Delaware Derivative Litigation?” The Legal Intelligencer, October 2107.
  • “Supreme Court Weighs Gun Ban in Delaware Parks, Forests,” The Associated Press, September 2017.
  • “Delawareans Hit Back at US Chamber-Backed Study Downgrading State’s Courts,” Delaware Law Weekly, September 2017.
  • “Sizing up the legal cases that shaped the 2016 playing field,” Delaware Business Times, February 2017.
  • “Recent Rulings Roil Questions Over Inspection of Books,” Delaware Business Court Insider, June 2016.
  • ” Tesla’s Musk May Have To Justify SolarCity Deal  In Court,” MarketWatch, June 2016.
  • “Del. Supreme Court Revisits Personal Jurisdiction,” Delaware Business Court Insider, May 2016.
  • “Del. Reins In Suits Against Nonstate Cos. In About Face,” Law360, April 2016.
  • “Giuliani Steps Into ‘Business Divorce’ Case in Chancery,” Delaware Business Times, April 2016.
  • “Chancery Orders Compliance In LLC Books, Records Ruling,” Delaware Business Court Insider, February 2016.
  • “Del. Court Applies Heightened Review in Tulia Settlement,” Bloomberg BNA , Jan 25, 2016.
  • “Rookie Vice Chancellors Not Seen as Threat to Corporate Law Stability,” Delaware Business Court Insider, January 2016.
  • “For Chancery Court, Advancement, Appraisal Key Questions of Year,” Delaware Business Court Insider, December 2015.
  • “Facebook Ruling Connects Formalities and Business Judgment,” Delaware Business Court Insider, November 2015.
  • “Delaware Pushes Back on M&A Settlements,” AGENDA, A Financial Times Service, October 2015.
  • “Chancery Court Dismisses Microsoft’s Claims for Lack of Jurisdiction,” Delaware Business Court Insider, October 2015.
  • “Delaware justices say bylaws can shield outside directors from merger suits,” Thomson Reuters Blog, May 2015.
  • “Rule Change Aimed at Limiting Interlocutory Appeals Requests,” Delaware Law Weekly, May 13, 2015.
  • “Eckert Seamans Lawyer Given Appellate Advocacy Award,” Delaware Law Weekly, March 18, 2015.
  • “Delaware-chartered firms can force investor suits into home-state courts,” Thomson Reuters Blog, September 2014.
  • “Dominic Pileggi: The Grown-Up,” Philadelphia Magazine, May 2014.
  • “NRA Wins Court Ruling Against WHA,” Delaware Online, March 19, 2014.
  • “DJ Court Backs Chevron, FedEx Bylaws on Suits,” The Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2013.
  • “Starboard Tries to Force Office Depot Meeting,” The Wall Street Journal, June 14, 2013.
  • “Delaware Supreme Court Allows Class Action Opt-outs,” Reuters, December 27, 2012.
  • “The Life and Death of Delaware’s Arbitration Experiment,” The New York Times, August 31, 2012.
  • “Strine Expresses Vision for Chancery Through Policies, Opinions,” Delaware Law Weekly, June 6, 2012.
  • “Around the Blawgosphere: Nix ‘Here-and-There Words’; Has Blogging Changed Corporate Law Practice?” ABA Journal, May 25, 2012.
  • “Shareholder Lawyers Sue Over Delaware Forum-selection Bylaws,” Thompson Reuters News & Insight, February 2012.
  • “Main Line Lawyers to Split $285M Fees,” Philadelphia Inquirer, December 20, 2011.
  • “Judge: Use Email, Not Past Counsel, to Serve Chinese Ex-CEO In Securities Suit,” Delaware Corporate, a Westlaw Journal, December 5, 2011.
  • “Second Woman Joins Delaware’s Chancery Court,” delawareonline, October 4, 2011.
  • “Bill Would Challenge Del.’s Monopoly on Bankruptcies,” Philadelphia Inquirer, September 28, 2011.
  • “Pileggi Leaves Fox Rothschild to Join Eckert Seamans,” The Legal Intelligencer, May 2011.
  • “Berkshire Row Spotlights Question of Lawyers on Client Boards,” Delaware Law Weekly, May 2011.
  • “Francis Pileggi Joins Eckert Seamans’ Delaware Office,” Delaware Law Weekly, May 2011.
  • “Munger, Tolles’ Ron Olson and Bershire: The Question of Lawyers Serving on Client Boards,” The AmLaw Daily, May 6, 2011.
  • “Chancery Court Chief to Exit,” The Wall Street Journal, April 26, 2011.
  • “Recent Delaware Corporate and Commercial Litigation,” Lexis Nexis Podcast, April 2011.
  • “Del. Judge To Decide on Airgas’ ‘Poison Pill’,” Philadelphia Inquirer, February 8, 2011.

Speaking Engagements

  • “Recent Delaware Decisions on the Right to Bear Arms,” co-presenter, Sixth Annual Delaware Firearms Law Seminar, October 2019.
  • “Recent Disciplinary and other Ethics-Related Decisions,” panel presenter at the Judge Bifferato Trial Practice Forum – Ethics and Professionalism – Annual Update, October 12, 2018.
  • “Delaware Corporate and Commercial Litigation Update,” continuing legal education seminar to Davis Wright Tremaine LLP , May 2018.
  • “Role of the Delaware Courts,” co-presenter with Delaware Supreme Court Justice, at the National Association of Corporate Directors’ program, From Battlefield to Boardroom, Washington, D.C., February 24, 2017.
  • “Can Delaware Be Dethroned? Evaluating Delaware’s Dominance of Corporate Law,” panel moderator, UCLA School of Law, Los Angeles, February 17-18, 2017.
  • “Delaware Corporate and M&A Case Law Update,” co-presenter, continuing legal education seminar to Davis Wright Tremaine LLP , July 2016.
  • “What’s Hot in Delaware: Recent Decisions Impacting the Boardroom,” panelist, Professional Liability Underwriting Society, New York City, February 4, 2015.
  • “Business Valuation Litigation/Shareholder Disputes,” Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Services Conference, November 2014.
  • “Indemnification and Advancement for Officers and Directors,” Business Law Section, American Bar Association Spring Meeting (Los Angeles), April 2014.
  • “Top Ten Delaware Corporate Decisions in 2013,” Connecticut Bar Association’s Business Law Section, January 2014.
  • “Recent Developments in Delaware Corporate Law,” CBIZ, a national consulting firm, at their Annual Partners’ Meeting (Miami), July 2012.
  • “Protecting the Corporate Director,” co-presenter, ABA’s Business Law Section Continuing Legal Education seminar, June 2012.
  • “Recent Developments in Delaware Corporate and Alternative Entity Law,” Corporation Law Section of the Delaware State Bar Association (Wilmington, Delaware) May 2012.
  • “Protecting the Corporate Director,” panelist, ABA’s Business Law Section’s Spring Meeting (Las Vegas), March 2012.
  • “Ethical Aspects of Class Action Settlements,” panelist, Corporate Law Section of the Delaware State Bar Association (Wilmington, Delaware), May 2011.
  • “Irreconcilable Differences: Directors, Managers and Shareholder Conflicts in Takeover Transactions,” panelist at a symposium sponsored by the Delaware Journal of Corporate Law, April 2011.
  • “Recent Developments in Duties of Directors of Delaware Corporation,” moderator for American Bar Association Business Law Section and the ABA Center for Continuing Legal Education Teleconference and Live Audio Webcast, October 2010.
  • “Delaware’s Corporation and Alternative Entity Laws: 2010 Amendments You Must Know About,” speaker, The Practicing Law Institute (PLI), September 2010.
  • “Recent Developments in Delaware Corporate and Alternative Entity Law,” Corporation Law Section of the Delaware State Bar Association (Wilmington, Delaware), April 2010.
  • Participates in a monthly radio spot on WILM radio, 1450 AM in Wilmington; provides listeners with an overview of recent decisions from the Delaware courts on corporate and commercial law.
  • Annual F.G. Pileggi Distinguished Lecture in Law organized by the Widener University Delaware Law School. Francis conceived of this annual lecture by a nationally known corporate law expert which began in 1986 in honor of his father.