The Insured vs. Insured Exclusion is a standard D&O insurance policy provision. The exclusion precludes coverage for clams brought by one “Insured Person” against another “Insured Person.” But what happens when the claimants suing an Insured Person include both individuals who are Insured Persons and other individuals who are not? In a September 22, 2015 opinion (here), District of Minnesota Chief Judge John Tunheim, applying Minnesota law, held that where the underlying claim involved a lawsuit by an Insured Person against other Insured Persons, the entire claim was precluded from coverage, even though the claimants in the lawsuit included other plaintiffs who were not Insured Persons. Continue Reading
This blog’s primary focus is on developments in the directors’ and officers’ liability and insurance in the United States, but we do also try to cover important developments elsewhere. In the following guest post, Burkhard Fassbach, who is Of Counsel with the Dusseldorf based D&O-Specialist Law Firm Hendricks, and Niklas Rahlmeyer, who is an attorney in the corporate practice group of the Dusseldorf office of Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP provide their perspective on the German D&O insurance marketplace and discuss their views on the important insurance coverage issues there.
I would like to thank Burkhard and Niklas for their willingness to publish their article on this 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 Burkhard’s and Niklas’s guest post.
The following post sheds light on some of the latest topics of D&O insurance that keep the German market busy. It depicts the concept of manager liability and D&O insurance in Germany, reprimands the German insurers’ practice of settling claims and outlines a catalogue of important issues the policyholder and insureds should keep a wary eye on when taking out D&O insurance coverage. Continue Reading
The fact that these days virtually every public company M&A transaction draws at least one merger objection lawsuit has provoked concern from many quarters. As I noted in a prior post, it recently became clear that among those concerned are the judges on the Delaware Court of Chancery. Based on developments last week, including in particular Vice Chancellor Sam Glasscock III’s September 17, 2015 opinion in the Riverbed Technology merger objection lawsuit (here), the days when merger objection suits in Delaware’s courts may be resolved through a disclosure-only settlement in which plaintiffs’ counsel gets their fees paid and the defendants get an “intergalactic” claim release may be over. As Alison Frankel put it in a September 18, 2015 post on her On the Case blog (here), last week’s Delaware Chancery Court developments may represent “a turning point in M&A shareholder litigation in Delaware Chancery Court.” Continue Reading
I would like to thank Mike for his willingness to publish his article on my site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to readers of this site. Please contact me directly if you are interested in submitting a guest post. Here is Michael’s guest post.
Materialization-of-the-risk cases are a favorite of the securities class action plaintiffs’ bar. The basic theory of fraud in these cases is that a company misrepresented or withheld information, causing the market to miscalculate the company’s exposure to a particular risk. Every company is susceptible to risks, whether it be natural or man-made disasters, competition, labor disputes, technological obsolescence, currency fluctuations, supply-chain disruptions, etc. –the risks are endless. When a company’s stock price declines following a disclosure that you-name-the-risk has materialized – as every company must do on occasion – plaintiffs’ lawyers will scour the company’s prior disclosures concerning the risk and allege (with the benefit of hindsight) that the company and its executives did not accurately explain the company’s exposure to the risk. The damages in such cases are usually easy to calculate – plaintiffs say that the stock was inflated by the amount of the share price decline following the revelation of the risk. And if the case is certified as a class action, the damages typically run in the hundreds of millions, if not billions.
The securities class action filed against BP plc following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill is a classic materialization-of-the-risk case. Before the spill, according to plaintiffs, BP touted the company’s safety plans and procedures as being more advanced on paper than they were in practice. These pre-spill statements lulled the market into believing that BP was a safer company than it actually was. According to plaintiffs, BP thus understated the risk of the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, and when that risk materialized, investors were damaged by the full value of the decline in BP stock caused by the materialization of the risk of the spill. The Fifth Circuit recently affirmed the district court’s order denying class certification of plaintiffs’ materialization-of-the-risk claims. Ludlow v. BP, PLC, — F.3d —, 2015 WL 5235010 (5th Cir. Sept. 8, 2015). This opinion essentially removes the risk of materialization-of-the-risk cases in the Fifth Circuit. Continue Reading
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) has proven to be a fruitful source of consumer class action litigation. Plaintiffs’ lawyers are attracted by the potentially lucrative recoveries under the statue, and indeed several recent settlements in TCPA class action lawsuits have run into the millions of dollars. The volume of litigation under the statute and the potential damages associated with the claims has inevitably led to insurance coverage questions. In the past, defendants in TCPA lawsuits looked to their Commercial General Liability (CGL) policies for their defense of these kinds of claims. However, CGL carriers increasingly are expressly excluding coverage for TCPA lawsuits, which has led other companies seeking insurance for TCPA claims to look to other coverages for possible insurance protection, including their D&O insurance policies. As discussed below, carriers may contend that standard D&O insurance policy exclusions preclude coverage for these kinds of claims, but courts continue to sort out the issues. Continue Reading
Almost every securities class action lawsuit that is not dismissed eventually settles; very few of the cases actually go to trial. However, there have been the rare cases that have gone to trial and there are some important lessons to be learned from these cases. In the following guest post, Daniel Tyukody of the Goodwin Procter law firm takes a look at recent cases in which the plaintiffs prevailed at trial, and the ways that in the post-trial phase, the defendants were able to reduce the damages that the plaintiffs were able to secure. The lessons from these cases have important implications for negotiations in the many securities class action lawsuit cases that settle.
I would like to thank Dan for his willingness 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 Dan’s article.
Securities class actions that reach verdict are rare, but these rare events provide valuable insights for negotiating the roughly half of all cases that result in settlement. This article describes techniques for minimizing class damages following a judgment for plaintiffs, focusing upon two recent trial victories by plaintiffs, namely In re Vivendi Universal Sec. Litig. (Vivendi)  and Jaffe Pension Plan v. Household Int’l, Inc. (Household), as well as the author’s experience defending an issuer with a final, nonappealable verdict in its post-judgment claims process, which resulted in a settlement and the vacating of the fraud judgment. Continue Reading
The U.S. Department of Justice released a directive last week restating and reinforcing the agency’s commitment to targeting corporate executives in cases of corporate wrongdoing. The cornerstone of the agency’s new policies is the specification that in order for a company to qualify for any cooperation credit in connection with a DoJ investigation, the company must provide the agency with all relevant facts about the individuals involved in the misconduct. As discussed below, the agency’s new directive could pose added challenges for companies involved in DoJ investigations, and it could represent a significant new threat to the executives of the companies involved. As also discussed below, the directive raises some important D&O insurance issues as well. Continue Reading
In the following guest post, Arkady Bukh, founding partner of Bukh Law Firm, takes a look at the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Loughrin v. United States (here) and examines how the Court’s holding with respect to the federal bank fraud statute could reach far beyond the realm of bank fraud to reach the securities fraud arena.
I would like to thank Arkady for his willingness to publish his article as a guest post on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to readers of this blog. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post.
Arkady’s guest post follows below. The Bukh Law Firm is dedicated solely to criminal defense. You can contact Arkady at Bukh Law Firm, P.C., 14 Wall St, New York NY 10005, (212) 729-1632, https://www.nyccriminallawyer.com
Resolving a Four Way Split
The federal bank fraud statute provides: “Whoever knowingly executes, or attempts to execute, a scheme or artifice – (1) to defraud a financial institution; or (2) to obtain any of the moneys, funds, credits, assets, securities, or other property owned by, or under the custody or control of, a financial institution, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises; shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned more than 30 years, or both.” 18 U.S.C. § 1344. Continue Reading
In early 2014, when plaintiffs initiated data breach-related derivative lawsuits against the boards of Target Corp. (here) and Wyndham Worldwide (here), there was some speculation that these cases might be the first of what could become a wave of data-breach related D&O lawsuits. But then the Wyndham Worldwide case was dismissed (refer here) and no new data breach-related D&O lawsuits followed, even though there were several high profile data breaches after that time (including Sony Entertainment, Anthem and Home Depot). Although many predicted that more D&O lawsuits were to come, the suits themselves did not materialize. There were, however, some suggestions that a lawsuit against Home Depot might eventually arrive, as a plaintiff initiated a books and records action in Delaware Chancery Court against the company.
The wondering and waiting about whether or not there will be a Home Depot data breach-related D&O lawsuit is now over. A Home Depot data breach-related shareholder’s derivative lawsuit has been filed in the Northern District of Georgia. On September 2, 2015, a plaintiff shareholder filed a redacted complaint in a lawsuit against Home Depot, as nominal defendant, and twelve Home Depot directors and officers, alleging that the defendants breached “their fiduciary duties of loyalty, good faith, and due care by knowingly and in conscious disregard of their duties failing to ensure that Home Depot took reasonable measures to protect its customers’ personal and financial information.” The redacted version of the plaintiff’s complaint can be found here. (Please see below for further explanation about the timing of the filing of the plaintiff’s lawsuit and the redactions to the complaint.) Continue Reading
Every year just after Labor Day, I take a step back and survey the most important current trends and developments in the world of Directors’ and Officers’ liability and D&O insurance. This year’s survey is set out below. Once again, there are a host of things worth watching in the world of D&O. Continue Reading