Snow in Oslo

The D&O Diary’s European assignment continued this week with a stop for meetings in Oslo. On the flight to Oslo from Stockholm, it was clear from looking out the window that it had snowed overnight in Norway. Skies were clear and the sun was shining brightly when I made my way in to the city from the airport, but Oslo also was covered with a fresh layer of snow.  The grounds of the Royal Palace, where the lilacs had been in bloom when I visited Oslo in May, were snow-covered, as shown in the accompanying picture. Continue Reading

November in Sweden

The D&O Diary is on assignment in Europe this week, with the first stop in Stockholm, Sweden’s capital city. Given Stockholm’s Baltic climate and northern latitude, November is not necessarily the optimal month to visit Stockholm. The weather forecast for my visit was particularly forbidding, with freezing rain and snow predicted. Fortunately, the foul weather never materialized, and other than one overcast day, I enjoyed brisk but dry late fall weather throughout my visit, as the pictures show. Continue Reading

Guest Post: What Corporate Directors Need to Know about Cybersecurity

David M. Furbush

David M. Lisi

Cybersecurity issues are currently at the top of the agenda for corporate boards. In the following guest post, David M. Furbush and David M. Lisi of the Pillsbury law firm review what corporate directors should understand about their companies’ cybersecurity risks and how boards can go about proactively participating in decisions about what to do to mitigate these risks. I would like to thank David and David for their willingness to allow 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 David and David’s guest post. Continue Reading

Guest Post: The SEC and ICOs: Winter is Coming

John Reed Stark

 As I noted in a recent post (here), the business pages these days are full of headlines about Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). Among many issues swirling around ICOs one is the question of how the offerings fit within the overall legal and regulatory framework. 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 detailed look at ICOs with a particular focus on securities regulation. A prior version of this article previously appeared on Securities Docket. 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 guest post. Continue Reading

Guest Post: Second Circuit: Price Impact Evidence Not Always Necessary to Establish Market Efficiency

A recurring issue in securities cases involves the question of when plaintiffs may rely on the presumption of reliance under the fraud on the market doctrine. To invoke the presumption plaintiffs must show that the defendant company’s securities trade on an efficient market, which in turn raises the question of what the plaintiffs must show in order to demonstrate market efficiency. In the following guest post, attorneys from the Paul Weiss law firm review a recent Second Circuit decision on this issue, Waggoner v. Barclays PLC (here). I would like to thank the attorneys from the Paul Weiss law firm for allowing me to publish this article as a guest post. 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 the Paul Weiss attorneys’ guest post. Continue Reading

Is a Follow-On Lawsuit an End-Run Around the Absence of an FCPA Private Right of Action?

Uzbekistan (highlighted)

There is no private right of action under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), but plaintiff shareholders nevertheless frequently file follow-on civil actions in the wake of FCPA allegations against a company. Are these follow-on civil actions just an end run around the FCPA’s lack of a private right of action? That is the question a district court addressed in ruling on a motion to dismiss in a securities class action lawsuit filed against VEON (formerly known as Vimpelcom). In a September 19, 2017 order (here), Southern District of New York Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr. held that the alleged misrepresentations on which the plaintiff sought to rely were “sufficiently distinct to avoid any potential concern that Plaintiffs are seeking to enforce the FCPA by [their] securities fraud action.” A November 8, 2017 memo from the Shearman & Sterling law firm about the ruling can be found here. Continue Reading

Guest Post: Fee Exclusion Precludes Coverage with No Allowance for Defense Costs

Chris Graham

Shelly Hall

In prior posts (most recently here) I have reviewed cases in which courts considered the question of insurance coverage for a bank’s obligation to repay allegedly improper overdraft fees.  The following guest post discusses a recent overdraft fee coverage case from the Seventh Circuit. BancorpSouth v. Federal Insurance Co. (the opinion can be found here). In this guest post, Chris Graham, a founding partner of Jones Lemon Graham LLP, and Shelly Hall, an attorney at the firm and business law adjunct professor, provide an overview of the Seventh Circuit case and also provides a chronology of other overdraft fee coverage cases.  A prior version of this article previously appeared on the law firm’s website (here). I would like to thank Chris and Shelly 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 an article. Here is Chris and Shelly’s guest post. Continue Reading

Cryptocurrencies and ICOs: Problems and Promise

Anyone who reads the business pages these days has to be aware that there has been a surge of interest and activity involving cryptocurrencies, and in particular involving initial coin offerings (“ICOs”). In third quarter 2017 alone, 105 ICOs raised over $1.3 billion. This level of activity has in turn attracted regulatory scrutiny and even enforcement activity. In addition, there is now a securities class action lawsuit pending in connection with an ICO earlier this year, as discussed in detail below. As problems have emerged, investors, regulators, and others understandably have become wary of ICOs. However, because of the opportunities involved, ICOs are likely to continue, and for that reason it remains important to try to understand the promise they represent. Continue Reading

Deputy AG Emphasizes Continued Individual Accountability for Corporate Misconduct

As observers have been monitoring the evolving policies and priorities of the Department of Justice in the Trump administration, one of the questions has been what the agency’s approach will be to the guidelines laid out in the so-called Yates Memo. The Yates Memo, named for its author, the former Deputy Attorney General and former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, reflected a commitment to holding individuals accountable for corporate wrongdoing. In a recent speech, the current Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein addressed the question of the current administration’s approach to individual accountability. His October 6, 2017 speech, a copy of which can be found here, appears to suggest that the current administration likely will continue to pursue the policies reflected in the Yates Memo. However, as discussed below, what that may mean in practice remains to be seen. Continue Reading

D&O Insurer’s Withholding of Settlement Consent Held Reasonable

D&O insurance policies typically specify that the insurer’s written consent is required for a policyholder to settle a claim, such consent not to be unreasonably withheld. This consent-to-settlement clause is the not infrequent source of coverage disputes, usually involving circumstances where the policyholder has gone ahead and settled a claim without seeking the requisite consent. A less frequent but no less troublesome circumstance involves the situation where the policyholder sought consent but the insurer declined to consent. The question then becomes whether the insurer’s withholding of consent was (or was not) reasonable.

 

In an interesting recent ruling, an Arizona district court judge held that Apollo Education Group’s D&O insurer’s withholding of consent to the company’s $13.125 million settlement of an options backdating-related securities class action lawsuit was reasonable. There are a number of interesting aspects to this ruling, as discussed below. Judge Stephen Logan’s October 26, 2017 decision in the Apollo Education Group coverage lawsuit can be found here. Continue Reading

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