U.S. Supreme Court: Notwithstanding SLUSA, State Courts Retain Concurrent Jurisdiction for ’33 Act Claims

In a unanimous March 20, 2018 opinion written by Justice Elena Kagan, the U.S. Supreme Court held that state courts retain concurrent jurisdiction over class action lawsuits alleging only violations of the Securities Act of 1933’s liability provisions and that these state court class action lawsuits are not removable to federal court. The court’s holding resolves a lower court split in the authorities on question of whether or not the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act of 1998 (SLUSA) eliminated concurrent state court jurisdiction for these ’33 Act class action lawsuits or made the state court ’33 Act lawsuits removable to federal court.


As discussed below, Court’s ruling is likely to result in an increase in ’33 Act claims in state court, a development that could have unwelcome consequences for corporate defendants and their insurers. The Supreme Court’s March 20, 2018 decision in Cyan, Inc. v. Beaver County Employees Retirement Fund can be found here. Continue Reading

Scenes of Germany

Frankfurt am Main

The D&O Diary was on assignment in Germany last week for meetings and to attend a conference. The excursion was a bit of a return tour, as I have previously visited all of the stops on the itinerary. My wife accompanied me this time, and for her each stop represented a first encounter. With the help of the excellent German train system, we managed to visit a number of German cities in a very brief period, and to see a little of the countryside, as well. Continue Reading

Critical Implications of the SEC’s Enforcement Action Against Theranos

Many readers undoubtedly saw the news last week of the enforcement action the SEC filed against Theranos, Inc., its founder, Chairman, and CEO Elizabeth Holmes, and its President and COO Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani. Theranos and Holmes have settled with the agency, although the complaint against Balwani apparently will be going forward. The SEC’s action is interesting at many levels, and it has several important implications that should not be overlooked. The SEC’s March 14, 2018 press release about the charges can be found here. The SEC’s complaint against Thernos and Holmes can be found here. The SEC’s separately complaint against Balwani can be found here. Continue Reading

Cornerstone Research: Securities Suit Settlement Values Declined “Dramatically” in 2017

Due to the volume of smaller settlements and the absence of any jumbo settlements, the aggregate amount of securities class action lawsuit settlements declined “dramatically” in 2017 compared to the prior year, according to the latest securities suit settlement study from Cornerstone Research. According to the report, which is entitled “Securities Class Action Settlements: 2017 Review and Analysis,” in addition to the decline in the total value of settlements, average and median settlement values all also declined in 2017. The report can be found here. Cornerstone Research’s March 14, 2018 press release about the report can be found here. Continue Reading

Guest Post: SEC Enforcement Still Strong Under Trump – What’s Next?

Britt Latham

Brian Irving

In the following guest post, Britt K. Latham and Brian Irving of the  Bass, Berry & Sims PLC  law firm take a look at the SEC’s enforcement action track record under the Trump administration and take a look ahead at what may be next for the agency. I would like to thank Britt and Brian for their willingness to allow me to publish their article as a guest post. 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 Britt and Brian’s article. Continue Reading

Guest Post: A Dozen C-Suite Takeaways from the 2018 SEC Cyber-Disclosure Guidance

John Reed Stark

As I noted in a post at the time, on February 20, 2018, the SEC issued its guidance for cybersecurity-related disclosures. 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, has pulled together of list of 12 takeaways for corporate officials from the SEC’s guidance. I would like to thank John 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 blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is John’s article. Continue Reading

Insurance for Fraudulent Misconduct Does Not Violate Delaware Public Policy

The insurance coverage litigation arising from the settlement of the shareholder claims filed in connection with the Dole Food Company’s November 2013 “going private” transaction continues to grind on. In the latest development in the coverage dispute, a Delaware Superior Court judge has entered a number of interesting rulings, deciding among other things that an underlying determination that an insured committed fraud does not make the claim uninsurable as a matter of Delaware law. Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis’s March 1, 2018 opinion in the Dole Foods coverage litigation can be found here.   Continue Reading

Failure to Maintain Insurance Exclusion Precludes Coverage for Defense Costs Incurred in a Lapsed Life Insurance Dispute

In a recent insurance coverage lawsuit arising out of an underlying dispute over who was responsible for the lapse of a key man life insurance policy, a court determined that coverage for the attorneys’ fees a management consulting firm incurred in defending against the underlying claim was precluded by the failure to maintain insurance exclusion in the consulting firm’s professional liability insurance policy. Because coverage disputes involving a failure to maintain insurance exclusion are relatively rare, the court’s decision provides an opportunity to consider the exclusion and how it might affect the availability of coverage in certain claims situations. Continue Reading

Yahoo Settles Data Breach-Related Securities Suit for $80 million

The newly disclosed $80 million settlement of the Yahoo data breach-related securities class action lawsuit will not make the list of the Top 100 securities suit settlements, but it is significant in its own way just the same. Because the settlement is the first substantial data breach-related shareholder lawsuit recovery, it represents a milestone development in a number of respects, as discussed below. The parties’ March 2, 2018 Stipulation and Agreement of Settlement can be found here. Continue Reading

DOJ Targets Private Equity Firm for Portfolio Company’s Alleged Improper Kickbacks

In an unusual and potentially significant move, the U.S. Department of Justice has named as one of the defendants in a False Claims Act lawsuit a private equity firm whose portfolio company the DOJ alleges engaged in an illegal health care-related kickback scheme. As the Jones Day law firm noted in a February 27, 2018 client memo about the DOJ’s action, the inclusion of a PE firm as a defendant in this lawsuit “may indicate a sea change in terms of who the DOJ is willing to pursue in False Claims Act changes” and “could signal the DOJ’s willingness to seek to pierce the corporate veil and hold private equity sponsors accountable for the noncompliance of their portfolio companies in the health care industry.” The DOJ’s February 23, 2018 press release about the lawsuit can be found here. The DOJ’s complaint in intervention in the lawsuit can be found here. Continue Reading