Bulletin from Boston

Fenway Park

The D&O Diary was on assignment in Boston last week, to attend and participate in the PLUS Boston Chapter event and to participate in some other meetings as well – including a memorable event at Fenway Park (pictured left). I was fortunate to enjoy some beautiful weather while I was in Beantown. I realized shortly after my arrival that it has been a while since I have been to Boston. It is remarkable what has happened to the city in the interim – it really has been transformed. Continue Reading

Guest Post: The Equifax and SEC Data Breaches: Takeaways, Reminders & Caveats

There has been a steady drumbeat of news about high profile data breaches in the past several days, including the news about the Equifax data breach and the disclosure of the breach at the SEC. In the following guest post, John Reed Stark takes a look at these data breaches and their implications. John is President of John Reed Stark Consulting and former Chief of the SEC’s Office of Internet Enforcement. I would like to thank John for his willingness to allow me to publish his article on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this site’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is John’s guest post. Continue Reading

More About the Problems with Pure Claims Made and Reported Policies

The difficulty with pure “claims made and reported” coverage – where the claim must both be made and reported during the policy period in order for coverage to be triggered – is that it can lead to harsh outcomes, as I have noted in prior posts. A recent unpublished Ninth Circuit decision, in which the court held that coverage was precluded for a claim made in one policy period but reported in a subsequent renewal period, provides yet another example of the kinds of harsh coverage outcomes that can sometimes under these kinds of policies. The Ninth Circuit’s August 22, 2017 opinion can be found here. The Wiley Rein law firm’s September 25 2017 Executive Summary Blog post about the decision can be found here. Continue Reading

Though a Private Company, Uber Hit With Securities Class Action Lawsuit

The news late last week that London’s transport authority had stripped ride-hailing firm Uber of its ride-hire license on the grounds that it was “unfit to operate” in the U.K. capital was merely the latest blow to the company, following a string of scandals, probes, and damaging revelations. Now the company – which, despite its enormous size, is still a privately held firm — has been hit with a federal court securities class action lawsuit, the most recent instance where one of the high-flying “unicorn” companies has been hit with a securities fraud lawsuit after a decline in fortune. The new lawsuit has a number of interesting features, discussed below. Continue Reading

Ongoing SEC Investigation is a “Claim” Sufficient to Trigger Prior Claim Exclusion

In an insurance coverage dispute arising out of the high-profile and long-running SEC investigation of and enforcement action against the investment firm Patriarch Partners and its CEO Lynn Tilton, a federal district court judge has ruled that coverage under Patriarch’s excess D&O insurance policy is precluded under the policy’s “Pending and Prior Claim” exclusion, because the investigation pending at the time the excess policy incepted represented a “Claim” under the relevant policy language. The court’s analysis includes an interesting discussion of the interaction between the SEC’s investigative actions and the applicable definition of the term “Claim.” The court’s analysis also involves a consideration of the implications for coverage purposes of the various stages within the SEC’s investigative processes. Southern District of New York Judge Valerie Caproni’s September 22, 2017 opinion can be found here. Continue Reading

D&O Insurer Must Continue Defense Expense Reimbursement Post-Merger

An acquired bank’s D&O insurer’s defense cost obligation to the bank’s directors and officers in connection with merger-related litigation continued after the merger transaction closed and was owed to the acquiring bank, a federal district court judge has held, rejecting the policy-based arguments on which the insurer relied to contend that its payment obligations ceased at the time of the deal closing. District of New Jersey Judge John Michael Vazquez’s unpublished September 18, 2017 opinion containing his ruling can be found here. Continue Reading

Guest Post: Surge in ERISA Fee Litigation

Rhonda Prussack

The last couple of years have seen a wave of ERISA suits aimed at 401(k) plan sponsors and targeting plan fees. In the following guest post, Rhonda Prussack, Head of Fiduciary and Employment Practices Liability at Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance, takes a look at this phenomenon and the factors behind it, as well as the fiduciary liability insurers’ reaction to these developments. I would like to thank Rhonda for allowing me to publish her article on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this site’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is Rhonda’s guest post. Continue Reading

Insurance Coverage for Subpoena Response Costs

One of the perennial D&O insurance coverage questions is the issue of whether or not the D&O policy provides coverage for costs incurred in responding to a subpoena, as I have discussed in prior posts (refer here and here). Increasingly these days, policies expressly address the issue through language specifying that a subpoena is a “claim” within the meaning of the policy. However, other policies do not includes this language, and even when the policy’s definition of the term “claim” expressly addresses subpoenas, other questions may arise, as discussed below. Continue Reading

Thinking About the Growth of Third-Party Litigation Financing

Third-party litigation funding has its critics and detractors (refer, for example, here and here). The fact is that third-party litigation funding is now well-established and is here to stay. A recent survey by one of the leading funding firms, discussed below, confirms that the acceptance and use of litigation funding is growing rapidly. The more interesting question at this point is — what are the implications? Continue Reading

Guest Post: Criminal Finances Act 2017: The Broadening of Corporate Accountability

Mark Sutton

Karen Boto

The UK Criminal Finances Act 2017 will go into effect on September 30, 2017. This new law will make corporate organizations criminally liable for the failure to prevent tax evasion by an “associated person.” In the following guest post, Mark Sutton and Karen Boto take a look at the Act and its provisions and examine the legislation’s D&O insurance implications. Mark is a partner and Karen Boto is legal director of law firm Clyde & Co. I would like to thank Mark and Karen for their willingness to publish their article on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this site’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is Mark and Karen’s guest post. Continue Reading