Corruption and bribery enforcement actions and criminal prosecutions have long been a source of follow-on civil actions, including in particular securities class action lawsuits, as I have noted in numerous prior posts on this site. Two recent securities class action lawsuit filings underscore the significance of this follow-on securities suit filing phenomenon and also highlight the seriousness that many of these kinds of claims can involve. Continue Reading Corruption Allegations Lead to Serious Follow-On Securities Suit Filings
Cybersecurity firm NortonLifeLock became the latest company to be hit with a shareholder derivative lawsuit alleging that, despite company statements about its commitment to diversity and inclusion, the company’s board and senior management lacks racial diversity. The NortonLifeLock lawsuit follows after substantially similar lawsuits – filed by the same law firm – were previously filed against Oracle (about which refer here), Facebook (here), and Qualcomm (here). A copy of the August 5, 2020 lawsuit against NortonLifeLock’s board can be found here. Continue Reading NortonLifeLock Hit with Board Diversity Derivative Suit
The plaintiffs alleged that when a real estate investment trust (REIT) disclosed that a financially troubled key tenant was making “partial monthly rent payments” — but omitted to mention that the tenant’s rent payments had been funded by an undisclosed loan from the REIT, not from the tenant’s own revenues — the REIT committed securities fraud. The district court dismissed the plaintiffs’ complaint, concluding that the plaintiffs had failed to plead a strong inference that the REIT had acted with the requisite scienter. However, in an interesting August 3, 2020 opinion (here), the Second Circuit reversed the district court, concluding that the plaintiffs’ allegations were sufficient to satisfy the scienter pleading requirements. The opinion includes an interesting analysis of the scienter pleading requirements in an omission case alleging recklessness. Continue Reading Second Circuit Reverses District Court, Concludes Plaintiffs Adequately Pled Scienter
Acting in light of what the proposal calls the “exponential growth” in litigation financing, and taking its first action in the area since 2012, the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates has approved a proposal for the third-party litigation funding “best practices.” The proposal, which stays away from some of the higher-profile litigation funding issues (such as whether or not litigation funding should be disclosed), is built around principles of transparency and client control.
On August 3, 2020, the American Bar Association House of Delegates, meeting virtually due to the pandemic, voted 366-10 to approve the proposed “Best Practices for Third-Party Litigation Funding,” a copy of which can be found here. The Best Practices proposal updates the House of Delegate’s 2012 informational white paper on litigation funding. The ABA’s August 3, 2020 press release describing the House of Delegate’s approval of the litigation funding best practices proposal, as well as a number of other actions taken the same day by the House of Delegates, can be found here. The House of Delegates consists of 597 representatives of state, local, and specialty bar associations. Continue Reading ABA Adopts Third-Party Litigation Funding “Best Practices” Proposal
As the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. approaches the beginning of its sixth month, Congress continues to debate whether and to what extent the federal government should provide further economic support, relief, and stimulus. The House of Representatives and the Senate recently have proposed two very different coronavirus relief packages and efforts to reconcile the policy differences reflected in the two different approaches have to date not been successful. But while it remains to be seen what if anything ultimately may emerge, among the critical aspects of the proposed packages worth considering are the liability shield provisions in the proposed Senate package. The Senate liability shield bill, if enacted, could significantly diminish the potential liabilities of businesses and other organizations for the transmission of the COVID-19 disease in their facilities. These liability restrictions could have significant implications for these organizations’ liability insurers as well. And, as discussed below, the adoption of the kinds of liability restrictions that the Senate has proposed could have implications – at least indirectly — for the organizations’ D&O insurers, too. Continue Reading Potential Impact of Proposed Coronavirus Liability Shield
When insurer Lemonade recently completed its IPO, it did so as a “public benefit corporation” – that is, a corporation chartered to allow it to have a public benefit purpose, in addition to the traditional profit maximization model. Lemonade’s IPO has raised the question whether other companies will follow this model, including in particular whether other IPO companies will complete their listings as a public benefit corporations. The possibility that other companies may adopt the public benefit corporation model raises a number of questions, including in particular questions concerning the duties and potential liabilities of public benefit corporation directors, as discussed below. Continue Reading Will More Companies Adopt the Benefit Corporation Model?
Since I first started tallying the coronavirus-related securities class action lawsuits back in March, a recurring issue has emerged – it has become increasingly difficult to keep a firm handle on what makes a case “coronavirus-related.” Even in just the short time I have been tracking the cases, there have already been a number of close calls, as I have previously discussed, for example, here. A couple of new lawsuits filed this week present further challenges. As discussed below, I have concluded that both of the two new lawsuits count as coronavirus-related, but their inclusion on my list will probably cause my tally to diverge from other similar tallies even further than is already the case now. Continue Reading Coronavirus-Related Securities Suits: Do These Two New Cases Count?
In a study that analyzes both federal and state securities suit filings during the first half of 2020 (unlike other prior first half reports that analyzed only federal court filings), Cornerstone Research reports that combined state and federal suits in the year’s first six months were down 18% compared to the second half of 2019 and at the lowest level since 2016. The report, which was published in conjunction with the Stanford Law School Securities Class Action Clearinghouse, is entitled “Securities Class Action Filings: 2020 Midyear Assessment,” can be found here. Cornerstone Research’s July 29, 2020 press release about the report can be found here. Continue Reading Cornerstone Research: Federal and State Securities Suit Filings Down in Year’s First Half
In the following guest post, Makoto Ikeya, Managing Director, Alpha Financial Experts K. K., analyzes trends in Japanese and Delaware court decisions in appraisal litigation and presents a common recent trend in both jurisdictions to place heavy weight on merger price while highlighting differences on how to assess the fair procedure and other conditions to adopt the merger price as a base for the fair price. A version of this article previously was published on the Alpha Financial Experts’ website. I would like to thank Makoto 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 Makoto’s article. Continue Reading Guest Post: Appraisal Litigation in Japanese and Delaware Courts – Trends of Decisions on the Fair Price
Among the looming economic consequences of the pandemic is the likelihood of a huge surge in bankruptcy filings. A rise in bankruptcies will in turn likely lead to an increase in the number of bankruptcy-related litigation claims against directors and officers of the bankrupt companies, which in turn could lead to insurance coverage issues under the companies’ D&O insurance policies. In the following guest post, Alicia Garcia and Kate Hausmann, Complex Claim Specialists with Hiscox USA, and James Talbert and Elan Kandel of the Bailey Cavalieri law firm take a look at the issues that could arise in the bankruptcy context with respect to the policies’ Insured vs. Insured Exclusion. 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: The Impending Bankruptcy Surge and Insured vs. Insured Exclusion Considerations