Second Circuit Rejects First Circuit Test Requiring IPO Company Interim Financial Information Disclosure

vivintWe have seen the scenario before – shortly after its debut, an IPO company releases unexpected results, the company’s share price declines, and the lawsuits appear. Usually when this happens, the updated results pertain to reporting periods following the IPO. But what about a situation where the disappointing results pertain to a reporting period that was completed prior to the IPO – in fact, the day before the IPO? That was the situation involving Vivint Solar, where the company released results for the reporting period ending September 30, 2014 – that is, just a day before the company’s October 1, 2014 IPO –several weeks after the company’s debut. Continue Reading

Insured vs. Insured Exclusion Precludes Coverage for Claim Assigned by Debtor in Possession to Liquidation Trustee

sixth circuit1The Insured vs. Insured exclusion is a standard provision found in most D&O insurance policies. As its name implies, the exclusion precludes coverage for claims brought by one insured against another insured. The exclusion is a frequent source of coverage disputes, particularly in the bankruptcy context,  due to frequent disagreements over the exclusion’s application to claims brought against company management by representatives of the creditors or of the bankrupt estate. One recurring dispute of this type is the question of the exclusion’s applicability to claims brought against company management by the company as debtor-in-possession. A recent appellate question considered a variation of this question – that is, whether the exclusion precluded coverage for claims brought against company management by the trustee of a liquidation trust as an assignee of the company as debtor in possession. In a June 20, 2017 opinion (here), the Sixth Circuit (applying Michigan law) held that the exclusion precluded coverage for the liquidation trustee’s claim. The appellate ruling raises some interesting issues, discussed below. Continue Reading

Though the Failed Bank Crisis is Over, Bank Failures Are Still Happening

fdic1The FDIC updated its website late last week to reflect developments in the professional liability lawsuits the agency filed in the wake of the wave of bank failures that followed the global financial crisis. The unmistakable impression from the agency’s update is that the FDIC’s failed bank litigation is winding down and in its final stages. At the same time, however, a different page on the agency’s website arguably conveys a different message. The agency’s website’s failed bank list shows that though the financial crisis is well in the past, there have been a noticeable number of bank failures this year, many of them involving sizeable banks  — a development that is worth considering and keeping an eye on. Continue Reading

FCPA Follow-On Civil Actions: Frequently Filed, Less Frequently Successful

qualcommThere is no private right of action under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. However, a company’s announcement of an FCPA investigation or enforcement action frequently will draw a follow-on civil lawsuit in the form of a shareholders’ derivative lawsuit, in which a shareholder plaintiff alleges that the company’s board failed to prevent the company from committing these violations. But while these kinds of lawsuits arise frequently, they are less frequently successful, as illustrated most recently in a Delaware Chancery Court shareholders’ derivative lawsuit involving the telecommunications equipment company Qualcomm. Continue Reading

Though Fraudulent Transfers Took Place During the Policy Period, Past Acts Exclusion Still Precludes Coverage

eleventh circuit1A prior acts exclusion in a bank holding company’s D&O insurance policy precludes coverage for claims based on allegedly fraudulent transfers made to a banking subsidiary during the policy period, because the transfers arose out of wrongful acts that occurred prior to the policy’s past acts date, according to a recent decision by the Eleventh Circuit, applying Florida law. The appellate court reasoned that, though the transfers occurred during the policy period, what made the transfers fraudulent was the company’s insolvency, which arose from officer misconduct that took place prior to the policy’s past acts date. The case provides an interesting example to consider past acts coverage in claims made policies. Continue Reading

Record Number of Settlements Added to Top 100 Securities Suits Settlement List in 2016

gavel2Thirteen of the 100 all-time largest securities class action lawsuit settlements were finalized in 2016, the highest number of settlements during any one year period, according to a recent report from Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS). Two of the 2016 settlements among the top 100 were among the eleven largest of all times. The report, which also ranks the plaintiffs’ law firms by the number of top 100 settlements in which they were involve, entitled “The Top 100 U.S. Settlements of All Time,” can be found here. Continue Reading

Financial Restatements Continue to Decline for U.S. Reporting Companies

financial statementsFinancial restatements among U.S public companies hit their lowest level in years in 2016, according to the updated annual report of Audit Analytics. As a result of heightened standards as well as the decreased numbers of listed companies, the share U.S. companies restating their prior financial statements hit their lowest level since 2010 and the number of companies restating their financials is at its lowest level since at least 2002. The findings are summarized in a June 12, 2017 Audit Analytics blog post (here). The full report can be found here (subscription or purchase required). Continue Reading

Climate Change Disclosure Remains an Issue Despite U.S. Withdrawal from Paris Accord

earthOn June 1, 2017, President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Climate Accord.  Under the terms of the Paris pact, withdrawal could take up to four years, but the President’s recent action signals his administration’s intent to step away from the agreements and commitments detailed in agreement. The President’s action has already set in motion a host of political reactions, including a variety of pronouncements at the state and local level in the U.S. in response to the President’s move.

 

Amidst these actions on the political stage, a host of other actors, including shareholders, activists, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have continued to press climate change-related disclosure issues. These developments ensure that notwithstanding the President’s actions on the Paris accord, climate change will remain a high profile issue for many corporate boards, and potentially could be a source of future corporate claim activity. Continue Reading

Guest Post: Playing the Blame Game: Fiduciary Duty Litigation in Bankruptcy Proceedings

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Joseph Swanson

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Donald Kirk

An unfortunately frequent part of bankruptcy proceedings is the assertion of claims against the directors and officers of the failed company. In the following guest post, Joseph W. Swanson and Donald R. Kirk of the Carlton Fields law firm take a look at the kinds of claims these officials face, as well as the steps these individuals can take to try to avoid the claims in the first place. I would like to thank Joe and Donald for their willingness to publish their article as a guest post on my site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is Joe and Donald’s article. Continue Reading

Eighth Circuit: Notice Provided During the Policy Period But After Seven Month Delay Not “As Soon as Practicable”

eighth circuitIf an insured give notice of claim to its insurer during the policy period but seven months after a lawsuit is filed, has it provided notice “as soon as practicable” as required under the policy? Not according to a May 25, 2017 decision by the Eighth Circuit. The appellate court, applying Minnesota law, affirmed the district court’s holding that the provision of notice during the policy period but seven months after the lawsuit was filed against the insured did not satisfy the policy’s “as soon as practicable” notice requirement. While the Eighth Circuit’s ruling is consistent with the rulings of other courts on this issue, I still have concerns, as noted below. The Eighth Circuit’s opinion in the case can be found here. Continue Reading

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