Allis Chalmers farm tractors were in production from 1914 through 1985. In 1985, Deutz acquired the Allis Chalmers brand and then sold it to AGCO in 1990. In an effort to preserve America’s agricultural heritage, Steiner Tractor Parts offers many restoration quality components for collectors and enthusiasts of these machines.
THE STORY OF ALLIS-CHALMERS, CAREMARK AND STONE
The Allis-Chalmers Company’s Milwaukee roots go back to 1860 whenEdward P.Allispurchasedthe Reliance Worksandbegan producing steam engines and other mill equipment. Allisdied in 1889, butthe company continued to prosperunderthe direction ofhis sons Charles and William. By1900, the firm was one of America's largest steam enginebuilders.In1901,the Edward P. Allis Companymerged withFraser & Chalmers (mining and ore milling equipment), theGates Iron Works(rock and cement milling equipment), and the industrial business line of theDickson Manufacturing Company(engines andcompressors)to form theAllis-ChalmersCompany.The company’s headquarters was relocated to the newly developed community of West Allis.It was reorganized in 1912 as the Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company.The firm’s diversifiedbusiness lines includedagricultural equipment,construction equipment,power generationandpower transmissionequipment, and machinery for use in industrial settings.During World War II, the company was a key contributor to the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb.By the 1980s the company struggled and sold off several of its business lines. Its Milwaukee offices closed in 1999.
Scope and Content:The collection includes photos, internal and external company publications,product literature,reports, memos, blueprints,patents,and biographical/historical information regarding the Allis-Chalmers Company and its employees.
Delaware first addressed the issue of whether directors should be subjectto an affirmative duty to oversee legal compliance absent any notice ofwrongdoing more than forty years ago in Graham v. Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company.
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Allis-Chalmers reached the Delaware Supreme Courtat a time when Delaware allowed directors to grant considerable autonomy toofficers. Moreover, at the time, Delaware had little reason to exhort directors tooversee legal compliance because federal criminal law was relatively narrow in itsreach and imposed small fines. Accordingly, the Supreme Court in Allis-Chalmers rejected plaintiffs’ claim that the Allis-Chalmers directors always must ensure thatthe firm has an effective compliance program, holding instead that directors arenot liable for losses arising from corporate illegality unless they ignored clearsigns of wrongdoing.
Thirty-three years passed before Delaware reconsidered this issue, duringwhich time three important developments occurred. First, the Delaware SupremeCourt imposed on directors a more active oversight duty when the firm is beingsold because officers face conflicting interests when their jobs are threatened. 5 Second, corporate legal compliance became a vital issue as a result of both theexpansion of federal criminal liability and the dramatic increase in corporatesanctions (especially for firms without an effective compliance program). Third,the business community was rocked by a series of corporate scandals whichrevealed that directors (including outside directors) would not unilaterally assumeresponsibility over legal compliance unless legally required to do so, in large partbecause they disliked challenging senior officers and did not want to be responsible for blocking profitable, but legally suspect, activities.
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In 1996, Delaware heeded the call for change, but change did not come inthe usual way – through a Delaware Supreme Court decision ruling on an on-going legal dispute. Instead, Chancellor William T. Allen, of the DelawareChancery Court, took it upon himself to reform Delaware law. Moreover, he didso by seizing upon a simple request to approve a settlement as an opportunity toissue a far-reaching opinion on both the scope of directors’ duties to monitor andthe standard of review that should govern their liability for failure to do so. Theresulting opinion, In re Caremark International Inc. Derivative Litigation, transformed Delaware law.
Chancellor Allen had two goals in mind when he issued Caremark. First,he wanted to induce directors to play a more active oversight role, especially overcorporate legal compliance. Second, he wanted to ensure that directors remainedfree to exercise their own judgment about how best to satisfy this duty, free fromcourt oversight of whether their decisions were objectively reasonable.Specifically, Chancellor Allen wanted to resist the Delaware Supreme Court’stendency to allow courts to assess whether directors’ actions were (grossly) bjectively unreasonable, as they had in Smith v. Van Gorkom.
Graham v. Allis-Chalmers
The Delaware Supreme Court first addressed directors’ duties to adopt acompliance program in 1963 in Allis-Chalmers. Allis-Chalmers was a derivativeaction against the directors of Allis-Chalmers and four non-director employees.Allis-Chalmers and the four non-director employees had pled guilty to violatingthe federal anti-trust laws by price-fixing and bid rigging. Plaintiffs sought torecover the damages Allis-Chalmers suffered as a result of these violations.
The derivative action focused on the potential liability of the defendantdirectors who were not directly involved in the crimes. Of particular importance,plaintiffs’ complaint included the claim that the directors had a duty (that theybreached) to implement measures designed to prevent anti-trust violations.Plaintiffs offered two alternative justifications for this duty. Plaintiffs first arguedthat the Allis-Chalmers directors had such a duty because two prior FTC consent decrees provided them notice that the firm’s employees were at risk of violatingthe anti-trust laws. Later, plaintiffs amended their complaint to add the claim thatall directors have a duty to adopt measures designed to deter wrongdoing, evenwhen they have no notice that crime might occur.
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