Late Notice Precludes Coverage for False Claims Act Settlement

When most people think of liability insurance, they think about the insurer’s payment obligations. But policyholders have obligations under liability insurance policies, too. Among the most important policyholder obligation is the requirement to provide timely notice of claim. The failure to provide timely notice can entirely preclude coverage, as is illustrated in a ruling in a recent coverage dispute arising out of an underlying False Claims Act claim. As discussed below, there were a number of circumstances involved in the underlying claim that the policyholder argued excused or at least explained its late provision of notice. However, the court rejected these arguments and held the late notice was not excused and that coverage was precluded. The February 12, 2019 order in the case by Central District of California Judge Stephen V. Wilson can be found here. Continue Reading

Cornerstone Research: After Years of Increases, Number of Delaware Appraisal Actions Decline

Between 2010 and 2016, the number of shareholder appraisal actions filed in Delaware courts increased every year, but in 2017 and again in 2018, the number of appraisal actions declined, according to a recent report from Cornerstone Research. The decline arguably is a result of recent Delaware Supreme Court decisions in which the court reversed lower court rulings holding that the fair value exceeded the deal price and instead indicated that the deal price should be given substantial weight, at least where the sales process was “robust.” The report, entitled “Appraisal Litigation in Delaware: Trends in Petitions and Opinions, 20016-2018” can be found here. Cornerstone Research’s February 13, 2019 press release about the report can be found here. Continue Reading

Guest Post: Judge Reverses Blockvest Decision: ICOs are Securities

John Reed Stark

In a February 14, 2019 order, Southern District of California Judge Gonzalo Curiel entered an order reversing his earlier decision on the same issue and concluding that the digital tokens offered by cryptocurrency company Blockvest LLC represented “securities” within the meaning of the federal securities laws. 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 at Judge Curiel’s ruling and what it many mean for future securities litigation involving digital currency offerings. A version of this article previously was published on Securities Docket. I would like to thank John for allowing me to publish his 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 John’s article. Continue Reading

Four Cities in Germany

A German village along the Rhine, north of Düsseldorf

The D&O Diary was on assignment in Germany for meetings this past week, with four stops on a crowded itinerary. I have been to Germany during the winter months many times before and I have learned that the weather can be OK or it can be lousy. But nothing in my prior experience prepared me for the weather this past week, which, with the exception of one gloomy day, was really pretty spectacular, at least for this time of the year. Continue Reading

Guest Post: Cryptocurrencies — A Quandary for Quadriga

Karen Boto

In the following guest post, Karen Boto, Legal Director at the Clyde & Co. law firm, takes a look at the unusual circumstances that have recently come to light in connection with the cryptocurrency trading platform Quadriga, as well as the insurance issues that the circumstances might involve. I would like to thank Karen for allowing me to publish her 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 Karen’s article. Continue Reading

ISS Releases 2018 Top 100 U.S. Securities Suit Settlements List

As was the case in 2017, there were relatively few larger securities class action lawsuit settlements during 2018, compared to prior years. As reported in latest large securities class action lawsuit settlement report from ISS Securities Class Action Services (ISS), there were only four settlements in 2018 that were large enough to make the list of all time large settlements; while the four settlements making the top 100 list is above the only two cases that made the list in 2017, the 2018 total was still below most years’ totals since 2008. The ISS report, entitled “The Top 100 U.S. Class Action Settlements of All Time (as of December 31, 2017)” can be found here. Continue Reading

A Detailed Look at 2018 Securities Litigation Against Life Sciences Companies

As I have previously noted, 2018 was another extraordinary year for U.S. securities class action litigation, as filings overall remained at near-historical rates. One of the significant contribution factors to this development was the substantial number of securities suits filed against life sciences companies. The number and significance of the securities suits filed against life sciences companies is detailed in a February  6, 2019 report from the Dechert law firm entitled “Dechert Survey: Developments in U.S. Securities Fraud Class Actions Against Life Sciences Companies: 2018 Edition” (here). Continue Reading

Court Rejects Bond Insurer’s Coverage Trigger Defense and Notice Prejudice Rule Arguments

In an interesting recent decision, a court rejected two defenses a Financial Institution Bond insurer asserted in denying coverage for a bank’s losses arising from a $3.6 million loan extended in reliance on documents that proved to have been forged. District Court of Arizona Judge G. Murray Snow, applying Arizona law, rejected the bond insurer’s arguments that the loss did not trigger one of the bond’s insuring agreements and that the notice prejudice rule did not apply to the bond’s coverage. The court’s January 4, 2019 decision can be found here. The Hunton Andrews Kurth law firm’s February 5, 2019 post about the decision on its Insurance Recovery Blog can be found here. Continue Reading

PLUS D&O Symposium in New York

Sunshine in Times Square

This past week I was at the annual Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS) D&O Symposium at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square, New York. The weather on the Tuesday arrival day was unusually clement for early February in New York, and even though rain moved in on Wednesday evening, the good vibe on arrival day seemed to carry through the conference. Continue Reading

Rare Securities Class Action Lawsuit Trial Results in Partial Verdict for Plaintiffs

It is extremely rare for securities class action lawsuits to go all the way through to a jury verdict. Since 1996, there have been more than 5,200 securities class action lawsuits filed, but, as detailed further below, fewer than 25 cases during that time have gone to trial. However, on February 4, 2019, a jury in the Central District of California entered a verdict in the securities class action lawsuit pending against Puma Biotechnology and certain of its directors and officers. While the jury found that the plaintiffs had not proven that three of the four allegedly misleading statements at issue were “false and misleading,” the jury found against the defendants and for the plaintiff as to a fourth statement. The jury specified damages of $4.50 a share with respect to the one misleading statement, which, according to the plaintiff’s counsel’s press release, amounts to a damages award of “up to $100 million,” although the actual damages amount remains to be calculated based on trading during the class period.  Continue Reading

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