Guest Post: Which ICOs are Next to Get Caught up in the SEC’s ICO Dragnet?

John Reed Stark

One of the most interesting and arresting business stories of 2017 has been the astonishing proliferation of initial coin offerings (ICOs), as I discussed in a prior post (here). Readers who have been watching this story develop undoubtedly are aware that things have been moving very quickly recently on the regulatory front with respect to ICOs. ICOs suddenly are facing a very different regulatory environment. In the following guest post, John Reed Stark, President of John Reed Stark Consulting and former Chief of the SEC’s Office of Internet Enforcement, takes a look the recent regulatory developments and examines their implications. A version of this article originally appeared on Securities Docket. I would like to thank John for his willingness to allow me to publish his guest post 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

Key D&O Insurance Policy Wording Issues and Coverage Concerns

Over the course of several years in which the marketplace for D&O insurance has been highly competitive, the scope of coverage available has continued to evolve and expand.  Terms and conditions are available today that were not available even a short time ago, as carriers attempt to distinguish themselves in a crowded marketplace. The marketplace is a buyer’s market, but in order to ensure that corporate insurance buyers obtain the best coverage available, it is important for them to understand the options available. In an interesting December 6, 2017 Law 360 column entitled “D&O Insurance Coverage Tips for Financial Institutions” (here) Robert Long and Nanci Weissgold of the Alston & Bird law firm examined the issues and options involving several key areas of D&O liability insurance coverage. Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Grants Cert in Yet Another Case Securities Law Case

I have had this perception for several years now that the U.S. Supreme Court recently has been particularly keen to take up securities cases. It turns out that this perception has a basis in objective fact. A recent paper by University of Toledo law school Professor Eric Chafee confirms that since John Roberts became Chief Justice in 2005, the Court has averaged two securities opinions per court term, twice the number of the prior Rehnquist Court. Indeed, as the number of cases overall on which the Court has granted cert has continued to shrink, the securities cases have become an increasingly significant component of the Court’s docket. The current term is no exception; the Court began the term with three securities cases on its docket (although a recent settlement in one of the cases reduced the number to two).

 

The Court is showing its securities law proclivities once again. On Friday, December 8, 2017, the Court granted cert in yet another securities law case. The Court’s December 8, 2017 Order granting the petition for a writ of certiorari in China Agritech Inc. v. Resh can be found here. As Professor Chafee notes in his recent paper, many of the securities cases the Roberts court has taken up in recent years have involved issues “at the periphery of securities laws.” The new case the Court has taken up arguably is no exception to this generalization. The China Agritech case is in fact the second case the Court has taken up in successive terms involving statute of limitations tolling issues under the Court’s American Pipe tolling doctrine. Continue Reading

Resort Company Hit with Follow-On Securities Suit in Australia

In numerous prior posts, I have noted the phenomenon of securities suits following on in the wake of governmental regulatory or enforcement action. This phenomenon is well-established in the U.S.  Now it apparently is catching on outside the U.S. as well. Earlier this week, an Australia plaintiffs’ law firm filed a securities suit in an Australian court against Crown Resorts, Ltd. relating to the decline in the company’s share price that followed after Chinese authorities arrested several company employees on gambling- related charges. Continue Reading

Investors File Data Breach-Related Securities Suit Against PayPal

Commentators (including me) have long speculated about the possible future direction of data breach-related litigation. There have of course been a number of very high profile data breach-related consumer class action suits, but so far relatively few data breach related D&O lawsuits. Of course, more recently investors filed a securities class action lawsuit involving the high-profile data breach at Equifax. Now investors have filed another data breach securities class action lawsuit, in this case involving PayPal Holdings. Continue Reading

Guest Post: Directors and Officers Must Defend Secondary Market Misrepresentation Claim

James R. Lane

As I have noted in prior posts, securities class action litigation represents a significant part of the corporate liability landscape in Canada. In the following guest post, James R. Lane, a founding partner of the Toronto law firm of Bersenas Jacobsen Chouest Thomson Blackburn LLP, takes a look at a recent important decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal addressing director and officer liability issues under the Ontario Securities Act. A version of this article previously was published as an alert to the law firm’s clients. I would like to thank Jim for his willingness to allow me to publish his article as a guest post 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 Jim’s guest post. Continue Reading

Executive Liability for Data Breach Notification Delay?

The outrage that followed Uber’s revelation that hackers had accessed 57 million passenger and drive records was not about the breach itself. It was about the accompanying disclosure that the company had kept the news of the data breach secret after paying the hackers a ransom. The outrage at these disclosures was not lost on lawmakers in Washington. A measure was recently introduced in Congress that would impose new criminal penalties on anyone convicted of “intentionally and willfully” concealing a data breach, including fines and up to five years imprisonment, or both. This proposed provision is only one of several measure intended to ensure that companies quickly notify affected persons that a data breach has occurred. Continue Reading

Claims Made Policies: The Problem of Pre-Policy Period Dispute Communications

Most professional liability insurance policies are written on a claims-made basis – that is, they cover only claims first made during the applicable policy period. A recurring issue under these kinds of policies is the question of when a claim was first made. This question can be particularly complicated if there were pre-policy period communications about a subject that subsequently results in a lawsuit. The question is whether the claim was first made at the time of the prior communications or at the time of the subsequent lawsuit. Two recent cases reached different conclusions about whether not pre-policy period communications represented a claim. As discussed below, these diverging decisions raise interesting issues. Continue Reading

ICO Enforcement Actions Threatened, ICO Lawsuits Proliferate

According to the latest update on the Coinschedule website (here), there have been a total of 228 initial coin offerings so far this year through mid-October, raising a total of over $3.6 billion. At least five of this year’s ICOs have raised over $100 million. This burgeoning activity notwithstanding, ICOs are at the center of controversy. Among other things, China and South Korea have banned ICOs. The SEC has already shown its willingness to pursue enforcement actions against ICO sponsors, as discussed further here. And now a high-profile statement by one of the country’s leading securities regulation experts suggests even greater scrutiny may lie ahead. In the meantime, as discussed below, ICO and cryptocurrency-related litigation appears to be proliferating. Continue Reading

Chinese Preschools’ Child Abuse Reports Lead to U.S. Securities Suit Against Recent IPO Company

As I noted in a post last week discussing the derivative lawsuit and settlement involving 21st Century Fox, allegations of failure to prevent alleged misconduct within company operations or at company facilities can translate into potential liability exposure for the company and its senior management. Another example of this phenomenon has emerged. In the weeks just after RYB Education completed its late September 2017 IPO, news reports began circulating of alleged child abuse at company preschool education facilities in China. Now a shareholder has filed a securities class action lawsuit in the U.S. against the company and certain of its executives. As discussed below, this new lawsuit represents the latest example of several different securities class action lawsuit filing trends. Continue Reading

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