In today’s global economy, business increasingly is conducted cross-jurisdictionally. Company officials and their advisors increasingly must grapple with liability issues arising under the laws of multiple jurisdictions. These liability issues in turn can present complex indemnification and insurance questions. Simply identifying the operative legal considerations can present a significant challenge.
A newly updated legal resource may afford valuable information for those struggling with these issues. Information about the new volume, entitled Directors’ Liability and Indemnification: A Global Guide, Second Edition, can be accessed here. This new edition was edited by UK Insurance maven, Ed Smerdon of the Sedgwick Detert law firm.
The book’s separate chapters describe the essential legal principles in 38 different countries. This latest edition includes new chapters on China, the Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates, among others. Each chapter has been written by a leading law firm in the relevant jurisdiction. For example, the chapter on the United States was written by Dan Bailey and Darius Kandawalla of the Bailey Cavalieri law firm.
Each chapter provides a country-specific overview of the legal principles governing directors’ duties and obligations. The text also contains a description of the claims environment in each country, including the relevant considerations regarding criminal and regulatory liability. The information also includes the principles governing the availability of indemnification and insurance in each country, as well.
The information for each country is presented succinctly and provides more of an introduction to the critical legal considerations than it does a comprehensive dissertation. This volume will be most useful to those looking for a quick impression of the legal environment. For those looking for a deeper understanding, this volume at least provides some starting points.
It seems likely that legal challenges arising from the cross-jurisdictional conduct of business will only increase in the months and years ahead. This volume will likely prove a valuable resource for insurance advisors and others called upon to counsel companies in connection with the associated liability exposures and related insurance considerations. We can only hope that this book’s editors and authors will continue to update and expand this volume in the years ahead.
Many thanks to Ed Smerdon for providing me with an opportunity to review an advance copy of the book.
D&O Insurance Implications of Dodd-Frank: The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 introduced sweeping reforms to every aspect of the country’s financial system. In addition, many of the Act’s provisions – including in particular its new whistleblower bounty sections -- seem likely to lead to increased SEC enforcement activity. The enforcement activity could in turn lead to follow on civil litigation.
The Act’s potential enforcement and litigation implications also carry important D&O insurance implications. These considerations and implications are reviewed in detail in a February 2011 article entitled "Dodd-Frank, SEC Enforcement Activity, Whistleblowers and D&O Insurance" (here) by my friend Priya Cherian Huskins and her colleague Carolyn Polikoff of the Woodruff Sawyer firm. Among other things, the authors discuss particular problems that may arise in connection with the Dodd-Frank’s executive compensation clawback provisions, as well as D&O insurance concerns arising from the new whistleblower provisions. The article concludes with a list of eight D&O insurance recommendations.
My thanks to Priya for reaching out to me to include a link to the article on this site.
Failed Bank Litigation Resources: Most readers who are following the events surrounding the current failed bank litigation wave likely are already familiar with the FDIC’s Failed Bank List, which is updated every Friday evening to reflect the latest banks of which the FDIC has taken control.
Another page on the FDIC website of which readers may want to be aware is the FDIC’s Professional Liability Lawsuits page. I have previously linked to this page in prior blog posts, but the FDIC has been updating the page and it now has a number of additional useful features.
First, for some time now, the FDIC has been updating the page to reflect the latest number of former directors and officers of failed banks against whom civil actions have been authorized. The page has recently been updated to show that the FDIC has now authorized civil actions against 130 directors and officers. More importantly, it is clear that the FDIC will be regularly updating this page with new information as additional actions are authorized.
In addition, in the new feature that readers may find most useful, the FDIC has now provided specific details regarding each of the four civil actions it has filed so far against former directors and officers of failed banks. From the way the information is presented (at the bottom of the page), it appears that the FDIC intends to update this information as additional actions are filed. Accordingly, this page could prove to be a valuable resource over time as the number of FDIC actions grows.
I intend to continue to track -- and link to --the FDIC litigation on my own as it is filed, as reflected here. At least for now, the FDIC itself also seems to be committed to tracking and providing this information as well. Many readers may find the FDIC’s page to be a highly credible and (we can hope) timely resource on these issues. I will continue to provide links to the lawsuits.
And speaking of failed banks, the FDIC did take control of four additional banks this past Friday night, as is reflected on the agency’s Failed Bank List. These four new closures bring the 2011 year to date number of failed banks to 18.
The 18 bank failures have been spread across 12 different states, though the largest number of closures this year has been in Georgia (4), which has led the way with the largest number of bank failures since the current wave began. The 18 failures so far in 2011 bring the total number of failed banks since January 1, 2008 to 340.
It is interesting to note that the pace of bank closure so far this year is running slightly ahead of the pace in 2010, when the FDIC closed more banks than it had in a single year since 1992. The FDIC did not close its 18th bank in 2010 until February 19.
Living in America: On Friday, the determination of peaceful demonstrators in Egypt resulted in the historic overthrow of their oppressive government, but the lead story in Saturday’s Cleveland Plain Dealer was that the Cleveland Cavaliers’ ended their 26-game losing streak on Friday night. The Cavs’ first victory since December also apparently merited a headline in larger type as well.
As a letter to the editor in Sunday's edition put it, "Your newspaper failed to explain why all those Egyptians were so excited about the Cavs game."
Web Animation Video Phenomenon Even Reaches the Insurance Industry: I know that many of you were as interested as I was in the February 11, 2011 Wall Street Journal article about the increasing numbers of customized computer-generated animated videos, which anyone can make on web sites such as Xtranormal.
One sure sign of how widespread this new phenomenon has become is the animated Xtranormal video now circulating that takes a light-hearted look at the perennial conversation about business between brokers and underwriters. For those of you who have not already seen it, here is the "I Need New Business" video. (The views, attitudes and opinions expressed in the video do not necessarily reflect those of The D&O Diary or its author.)