Insurers may be on hook for Dole buyout lawsuit settlements

DOVER, Del. (AP) — A Delaware judge says insurers may be on the hook for $190 million to settle two lawsuits stemming from a 2013 buyout in which Dole Food chairman and CEO David Murdock took the company private.

In a ruling late last week, the judge said Delaware law allows a company to insure officers and directors from any liability — including for fraudulent acts.

In 2015, another Delaware judge ordered Murdock and former Dole president and chief operating officer C. Michael Carter to pay $148 million for misleading directors and shareholders in the $1.2 billion buyout, saying the men had acted in bad faith and engaged in fraud. A settlement reduced that amount to about $116 million.

Last year, Dole, Murdock and Carter agreed to settle a federal lawsuit for $74 million.

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