Guest Post: Five Hidden Takeaways from the Khaled and Mayweather SEC Orders

John Reed Stark

On November 29, 2018, the SEC announced that it had settled charges with boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and music producer DJ Khaled for failing to disclose payments they received for promoting investments in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). In the following guest post, John Reed Stark, the President of John Reed Stark Consulting and former Chief of the SEC’s Office of Internet Enforcement, takes a look at the SEC’s actions against Mayweather and Khaled and identifies some important takeaways from the SEC’s orders. 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 article. Continue Reading

D&O Insurance: Additional Named Insured Entitled to Defense Cost Advancement

It is not uncommon for companies to add third parties as additional named insureds to their D&O insurance policies. Most of the time that doesn’t cause any problems. However, serious problems can arise in a subsequent claim if a company’s interests and the interests of the additional named insured conflict. At a minimum, in the event of a serious claim, the company and the third party can clash as they compete for the finite proceeds of the insurance policy. In a recent coverage decision, the Delaware Superior Court, applying Delaware law, held that AR Capital, an additional named insured under the D&O insurance program of VEREIT, was entitled to have its costs of defending the underlying claims advanced under the program. The Court’s December 12, 2018 ruling, which can be found here, provides an interesting perspective on additional named insured issues. Continue Reading

Securities Lawsuit Filed Based on Reports of Alleged Inappropriate Office Relationship

In several recent conversations, I have been asked whether I thought that the whole #MeToo movement might have more or less played out, and that we might not be seeing as many, or even any, more D&O claims based on underlying allegations of sexual misconduct. In response, I said that I didn’t think the phenomenon had played out but I did suggest that I thought that the phenomenon might be shifting and that the kinds of underlying allegations would change. Although it does not represent exactly the kind of thing I had in mind, a new securities class action lawsuit filed against Teladoc Health and based on alleged misconduct of one of its senior executives does at least represent a variant on the kinds of D&O claims following in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct. Continue Reading

Nissan Chairman’s Arrest and Pay Disclosure Leads to U.S. Securities Suit

The high-profile November 18, 2018 arrest in Japan of Carlos Ghosn, the Chairman and former CEO of Nissan (and of several other car companies) on charges of misleading the Japanese government and investors about his compensation made the front pages of the world’s papers. Continuing revelations, including the recent indictment of Ghosn and other company executive, continue to roil the company. On December 11, 2018, an institutional investor and holder of U.S.-traded Nissan ADR’s initiated a securities class action lawsuit against the company. The lawsuit is interesting in and of itself but also with respect to how it reflects several recent securities litigation filing trends. Continue Reading

Dismissal Motion Denied in Sexual Misconduct-Related Securities Suit

One of the things that has happened in the wake of revelations of high-profile sexual misconduct as part of the #MeToo movement has been the rise of D&O litigation following after the revelations. However, this type of sexual misconduct follow-on litigation didn’t start with the rise of the #MeToo movement. Even before the #MeToo movement there were D&O lawsuits arising from sexual misconduct allegations. One of these earlier cases involved the retail jewelry chain Signet Jewelers. On November 26, 2018, Southern District of New York Judge Colleen McMahaon denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss in the case, in a ruling that may provide an interesting perspective on the many subsequent #MeToo follow on lawsuits. The November 26, 2018 opinion in the case can be found here. Continue Reading

SEC Enforcement Activity Against Public Companies Surges in FY 2018’s Second Half

In November, when the SEC released its annual enforcement activity report, the report showed that during the fiscal year that ended on September 30, 2018 both the volume of the agency’s enforcement activity and the level of financial recoveries increased compared to the prior fiscal year. The agency’s report did not separate out its enforcement activity involving public companies. However, a new report from the NYU Pollack Center for Law & Business and Cornerstone Research breaks out the enforcement numbers for public companies. The new report show that SEC enforcement actions against public companies and subsidiaries “jumped substantially” in the second half of FY 2018, reversing a decline in filings that began in the second half of 2017 and continued through the first half of 2018. Continue Reading

Guest Post: Ohio Now Accepts Bitcoin for Tax Payments; No Problem, Right?

John Reed Stark

Lost amidst all of the turmoil surrounding the dramatic swings in the value of digital currencies is that the original idea for these digital assets is that  they might actually be used as exchange media, in place of traditional currencies. Whether or not someone might use cryptocurrency to, say, buy a cup of coffee at Starbuck’s, Ohio residents, at least, may now use bitcoin to pay their state taxes. 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 Ohio’s recent bitcoin move and reviews what it might mean – for Ohio, and in general. A version of this article previously was published on CybersecurityDocket.com. I would like to thank John for allowing me to publish his guest 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

Second Circuit: Excess D&O Policy’s Warranty Statement Exclusion Precludes Coverage

The Second Circuit recently took up the insurance coverage dispute arising out of the high profile enforcement action the SEC pursued against hedge fund Patriarch Partners and its CEO, Lynn Tilton. The district court had ruled that coverage under the firm’s third level excess D&O insurance policy for the expenses the firm incurred in defending the SEC action was precluded because the agency’s investigation preceded the policy’s “prior and pending” litigation date. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court, but not on the grounds on which the lower court had relied. Rather, the appellate court affirmed the district court ruling based on its conclusion that coverage was precluded under language in the warranty statement the firm submitted for the excess insurance policy. The opinion includes interesting discussion of the issues surrounding the warranty statement. The Second Circuit’s December 6, 2018 Summary Order in the case can be found here. Continue Reading

Guest Post: Private Capital Investment: Getting the Portfolio Company Covered Right

Jonathan Legge

Private Capital Investment is an increasingly important component of the global financial landscape. The increasing importance of Private Capital Investment raises a number of important issues, not the least of which are insurance-related issues. In a series of three posts, Jonathan Legge, a Senior Vice President at RT Pro Exec, will be taking a look at the key insurance issues relating to Private Capital Investment. The first of the three posts is published below. I would like to thank Jon for allowing 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 Jon’s article. Continue Reading

D&O Insurance: No Coverage for Alleged Misconduct Not Undertaken in an Insured Capacity

One of the basic requirements in order for coverage to be triggered under a directors’ and officers’ liability insurance policy is that the misconduct alleged must have been undertaken by insured individuals in an “insured capacity” – that is, in their capacities as directors or officers of the insured entity. In a recent insurance coverage ruling, the Delaware Superior Court held that because the allegations against the insured individuals “arose out of” their involvement with entities other than the insured entity, there was no coverage for the individuals under their bankrupt company’s D&O insurance policy. The ruling underscores the importance of capacity issues in determining D&O insurance coverage and highlights the ways in which allegations of misconduct undertaken in multiple capacities can lead to complicated coverage questions. The Delaware Superior Court’s November 30, 2018 decision can be found here. Continue Reading

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