More than a month ago, when I first wrote about the possibility that the coronavirus outbreak could lead to D&O claims, I noted that the pandemic was having a devastating impact on certain industries. At the same time, I noted that the viral outbreak could prove a boon for other industries; among the industries I cited as a possible winner was the video teleconferencing industry. Indeed, since the onset of the outbreak’s onset, many of us have for the first time used the services of Zoom Video Telecommunications and Zoom video teleconferences have been proliferating. But while Zoom usage has soared, privacy and security concerns have also arisen.

 

Now Zoom has been hit with a securities class action lawsuit based on allegations that the surge in usage following the coronavirus outbreak allegedly revealed allegedly undisclosed weaknesses in company’s security, and alleged privacy and security weaknesses contrary to the company’s alleged representations. As discussed below, in addition to representing an example of a coronavirus-related securities suit, the new lawsuit also represents an example of the ways in which privacy concerns can lead to D&O claims. Continue Reading Zoom Hit With Securities Suit Raising Pandemic-Linked Allegations Based on Privacy Concerns

Here at The D&O Diary, we make it our business to watch securities class action lawsuit filings as they come in, to keep an eye on filing trends as they develop. For example, recently we have been looking for coronavirus-related securities class action lawsuits. But while we were scanning the horizon for COVID-19 suits, something else unexpectedly materialized – all of the sudden, on April 3, 2020, a great big pile of cryptocurrency-related securities class action lawsuits were filed in the Southern District of New York. The filing eleven total crypto securities suits in a single day is really unprecedented in my experience. Continue Reading Plaintiffs File a Slew of Cryptocurrency-Related Securities Suits

As I have noted in prior posts (most recently here), the current coronavirus outbreak presents corporate boards with a number of challenging issues. In the following guest post, Nick Goldin, Eric Swedenburg and Brad Goldberg of the Simpson Thacher law firm review the considerations that corporate boards should take into account as their companies grapple with the challenges that the pandemic poses. The authors extend their appreciation to Sarah Eichenberger for her substantial contributions to this piece. A version of this article previously was published as a Simpson Thacher client memorandum. I would like to thank the authors for allowing me to publish their 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 the authors’ article. Continue Reading Guest Post: Considerations for Corporate Directors As Their Companies Confront COVID-19

Frank Hülsberg
Burkhard Fassbach

In the following guest post, Frank Hülsberg, partner and member of the board of directors of Grant Thornton Germany, and Burkhard Fassbach, a D&O-lawyer in private practice in Germany, take a look at key whistleblower considerations relating to GDPR compliance. I would like to thank Frank and Burkhard for allowing me to publish their article. 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 Frank and Burkhard’s article. Continue Reading Guest Post: GDPR and Whistleblowing

Much has changed since I published my first coronavirus-related post a month ago. The number of confirmed cases and of deaths has soared. Much of the country is now on lockdown. School, work, business — so much of basic social and economic activity has stopped. Much has changed in the D&O arena as well. There have been both claims and underwriting developments, and a number of trends have emerged. In the post below, I discuss some of these developments and trends. I recognize that my observations are limited by my own personal perspective; it is my hope that others will share their observations about the current environment using the comment feature to add their views to this post. Continue Reading Coronavirus and D&O Insurance: An Interim Update

Three weeks ago, as part of a Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS) series of recorded discussions on the professional liability insurance implications of the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak, I participated in a short recorded conversation on the viral outbreak’s D&O insurance implications with my good friends Carl Metzger of the Goodwin Procter law firm and Rob Yellen of Willis Towers Watson. Because so much has happened since that prior session just three short weeks ago, earlier this week Carl, Rob, and I recorded an updated session in which we took a look at our prior predictions, reviewed what we are currently seeing in the D&O insurance marketplace and what we are telling our clients about it, and also projected ahead for what might be coming soon. The recording, which is informal, conversational, and relatively brief (approximately 30 minutes), can be found here.

As the number and rate of securities class action lawsuit filings has remained at historically high levels over the past three years, there have been renewed calls for securities class action litigation reform, as I have detailed in prior post (for example, here). According to a March 25, 2020 paper by the U.S. Chamber Institute of Legal Reform (ILR), the “broken securities class action system continues out of control” and the need for securities litigation reform remains urgent.  On April 1, 2020, I participated in an ILR event, along with ILR President Harold Kim and Andrew Pincus of the Mayer Brown law firm, entitled “An Update on Securities Litigation,” in which we discussed key recent securities litigation developments and the continuing case for securities litigation reform. The paper can be found here and a video recording of the ILR event can be found here. Continue Reading The Continuing Case for Securities Litigation Reform

Francis Kean

One of the questions for companies facing financial difficulties both in the U.S. and in the UK is the extent to which the boards of the companies owe duties to creditors to try to avoid creditors’ losses as the companies approach insolvency. I discussed the state of the law in Delaware regarding these issues in a recent post. In the following guest post, Francis Kean, a partner in the financial lines team at McGill and Partners, takes a look at the recent suspension in the UK of “wrongful trading’ legislation   A version of Francis’s article previously was published on LinkedIn. I would like to thank Francis for allowing me to publish his article as a guest post on my site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly of you would like to submit a guest post. Here is Francis’s article. Continue Reading Guest Post: UK’s Wrongful Trading Laws Suspended: Good News for Company Directors?  

David Topol

Private investments funds (hedge funds, PE firms, venture capital funds and the like) are a significant part of the U.S. economy. From a management liability insurance perspective, private investment funds present unique underwriting and claims issues. In the following guest post, David Topol, takes a detailed look at these kinds of enterprises, and considers the relevant claims and insurance issues. David is a partner in the insurance practice at Wiley.  He has substantial experience over the past fifteen years representing insurers as monitoring counsel and in coverage litigation on policies issued to investment advisers, private funds and broker-dealers.  A version of this article will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Wiley law firm’s Executive Summary blog. I would like to thanks David 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 blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is David’s article. Continue Reading Guest Post: Private Investment Fund Claims from an Insurance Perspective

The current disruption to normal business operations across the country means that many businesses will soon be under significant financial pressure, if they are not there already. As their companies edge toward insolvency, directors are going to have to make significant decisions about the companies and their operations. Boards may be concerned, as they make critical and difficult decisions, that creditors or others may later attempt to claim that they violated their legal duties.  This concern in turn leads to the question about exactly what duties directors face as their companies approach insolvency. Continue Reading Cash-Crunched Companies Face Insolvency; Will Directors Face Claims?