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"Prometheus" and officers' fiduciary duty to shareholders

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Spoilers on "Prometheus" after the fold, as I discuss problems of corporate law in 2091.

Leave aside that no one tracks down Shaw after she beats up two redshirts. Or that the Engineer's ship violates Newton's laws of inertia and crash-lands on top of Vickers instead of several dozen miles away. Or the magical black goop that has wildly different effects on the five different individuals from three different species that it encounters.

What really bothered me is the complete breach of fiduciary duty of Weyland Corporation officers to their shareholders. We're to believe that the ancient and frail Mr. Weyland is still permitted to run a multi-trillion dollar corporation, and able to use corporate money to fund a trillion-dollar expedition for his own personal agenda divorced from the long-term interests and profits of the Weyland Corporation (though not so much control that he does anything to ensure that the people on the ship will be loyal to him). How does the board of directors let him get away with this? Where are the shareholder suits protesting and enjoining the boondoggle?

If Vickers really wanted to stop Weyland from engaging in the expedition, she should have hired a better lawyer.

What would Larry Ribstein have said?

Related analysis of Hollywood blockbuster disregard for corporate formalities.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.