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Warren Buffett’s company dismissed proposals but is now confronted with a lawsuit regarding its handling of one from last year

Warren Buffett (Via Elise Moody/Shutterstock)

Shareholder proposals are typically routine at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meetings. However, Warren Buffett and his company are now facing a legal challenge over their handling of one presenter last year.

Peter Flaherty from the National Legal and Policy Center returned with a new proposal this year after being abruptly cut off during his presentation last year and later arrested for trespassing. Although the charges were dropped, Flaherty decided to sue, arguing that he was mistreated and defending the rights of shareholders to present proposals.

He noted that in his long history of presenting at meetings since 2005, including Berkshire’s 2022 meeting, he had never faced such interruptions or removal. The issue last year stemmed from Flaherty’s criticism of Bill Gates, a close friend of Buffett and former Berkshire board member.

Harold and Caroline Ernst of St. Louis chat with fellow shareholders (Via John Carpenter/Getty Images)

Flaherty raised concerns about Gates’ association with Jeffrey Epstein before Epstein’s arrest for sex trafficking. He proposed that someone else should hold Buffett’s chairman title while allowing him to remain CEO, fearing it could impact Berkshire’s reputation.

Buffett has a longstanding association with Gates, having donated billions to Gates’ foundation and planning to leave much of his wealth to be managed by him.

Berkshire Hathaway has not yet responded to the federal lawsuit filed on Friday, and the matter was not discussed during Saturday’s meeting. The company did not address any proposals during the meeting, relying instead on statements of opposition filed in the official meeting proxy.

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