The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has paved the way for shareholders to gain access to company proxy statements in order to initiate contested board of director elections.

The court’s decision in American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees v. American International Group, 05-2825-cv, permits shareholders to request an amendment to company bylaws that would allow them to nominate insurgent candidates on company-distributed ballots. The ruling has prompted the Securities and Exchange Commission to examine its policy prohibiting such action.

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