Bloomberg Law
Feb. 6, 2023, 10:19 AM

This Week in Chancery Court: Pirate Shipwreck Explorer on Trial

Jennifer Kay
Jennifer Kay
Staff Correspondent

Attorneys for undersea explorer Barry Clifford have admitted that his operations managing artifacts from the Whydah Gally pirate shipwreck weren’t always a model for corporate governance.

Whether that lack of administrative rigor constituted a breach of Clifford’s fiduciary duty is the subject of a trial this week in the Delaware Court of Chancery.

Here’s a look at more from this week’s court calendar:

Monday: Buddenhagen v. Clifford, Del. Ch., No. 2019-0258, trial begins 2/6/23.

At issue: Clifford faces trial over claims that he and his late partner at Maritime Explorations Inc. manipulated a 2018 merger of their various entities that all but pushed out minority stockholders who had helped keep salvage operations afloat.

Noteworthy: Clifford discovered the wreck of the Whydah Gally in 1982 off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass. The slave ship, captured by pirate “Black Sam” Bellamy, sank in a storm in 1717 and is the only fully authenticated wreck from the “golden age” of piracy.

Court action: Three-day trial in Wilmington, Del., begins Monday.

Sunken Slave Ship Spat Goes to Trial Over Merger Looting Claims

Monday: Rivera v. Angkor Capital Ltd., Del. Ch., No. 2022-0671, trial via Zoom begins 2/6/23.

At issue: Paul Rivera, CEO of the Philippines-based tech jobs platform Kalibrr Inc. claims the CEO of a Thailand-based competitor, GetLinks Inc., violated the terms of a 2020 stock purchase agreement. GetLinks CEO Kennan Kwok denies the allegations and filed a counterclaim.

Court action: Two-day trial via Zoom begins Monday.

Wednesday: Ross v. Lineage Cell Therapeutics Inc., Del. Ch., No. 2019-0822, settlement hearing 2/8/23.

At issue: Lineage Cell Therapeutics Inc., some of its former directors, and insurers will pay $10.7 million in cash and stock under a proposed settlement with former Asterias Biotherapeutics Inc. shareholders. The investors accused Lineage and Broadwood Partners LP of using their combined 50% control of Asterias, as well as Broadwood’s ties to both companies’ boards, to force through a merger.

Court action: Hearing to consider settlement proposed in late October. The defendants deny the allegations, according to the settlement notice.

Lineage Cell Therapeutics, Asterias Investors Propose Settlement

Wednesday: OptimisCorp v. Atkins, Del. Ch., No. 2020-0183, oral argument 2/8/23.

At issue: OptimisCorp., which runs a California physical therapy chain, alleges three former board members pocketed millions they won on the company’s behalf litigating legal malpractice claims over the abortive ouster of its CEO.

Court action: Oral argument on motion for summary judgment.

Therapy Chain Advances Claim That Directors Kept Court Winnings

Thursday: Richards v. Kensington Capital Sponsor LLC, Del. Ch., No. 2022-0721, oral argument 2/9/23.

At issue: A stockholder derivative complaint asserts that some of Kensington’s officers and directors breached their fiduciary duties by causing the company to pay too much for electric vehicle battery developer QuantumScape Corp. The plaintiffs cited blog posts alleging that Quantum had overstated the merits of its solid-state battery technology, which negatively impacted its stock price six months after the acquisition.

Court action: Oral argument on motion to dismiss.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jennifer Kay in Philadelphia at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alexis Kramer at; Fawn Johnson at