Sarah Abrams

In the following guest post, Sarah Abrams, Head of PL Claims at Bowhead Specialty Underwriters, takes a look at the D&O insurance underwriting and claims implications of private equity investment in managed care organizations. I would like to thank Sarah for allowing me to publish her 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 Sarah’s article. Continue Reading Guest Post: PE Investment in Healthcare and Impact to Managed Care Organization D&O

Companies in the pharmaceutical industry are frequent targets of securities class action lawsuits. In the following guest post, Tony Kriesel, Claims Specialist with IQUW; Elan Kandel, a Member of the Bailey Cavalieri law firm; and James Talbert, an Associate at Bailey Cavalieri, take a look at the reasons for the pharmaceutical industry’s high securities litigation frequency experience and at the implications of the lawsuit frequency for pharmaceutical companies and their insurers. They also consider the significance of the interrelated claims provision typically found in D&O insurance policies for securities claims involving pharmaceutical companies. 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: D&O Risks and Challenges for Pharmaceutical Companies and their Insurers

The filing of data breach and other cybersecurity incident-related shareholder derivative lawsuits against corporate boards is nothing new; plaintiffs’ lawyers have been filing these kinds of claims now for several years. However, in recent months, the plaintiffs’ lawyers have shown an increasing inclination to file these claims based on allegations of breach of the duty of oversight. The latest example of this type of claim is the shareholder derivative suit filed this week against the board of T-Mobile USA. Although the plaintiff’s complaint does not expressly use the words “breach of the duty of oversight” or refer to “Caremark duties,” the complaint does refer to the board’s alleged “failure to monitor” and to the board’s alleged failure “to heed red flags” – the very kind of allegations that are at the heart of breach of the duty of oversight claims. A copy of the plaintiff’s complaint in the November 29, 2021 lawsuit can be found here. Continue Reading Data Breach-Related Derivative Suit Filed Against T-Mobile USA Board

Several years ago, when it became clear that plaintiffs’ lawyers were going to file merger objection lawsuits in connection with essentially every M&A transaction, the D&O insurers responded by adding a separate, larger retention for M&A-related claims. The larger M&A-related claim retention quickly became pretty much a standard feature of public company D&O insurance policies. However, because the M&A claim retention is in many instances substantially larger than the retention that would otherwise apply, the question of whether the larger retention applies to a particular claim can be a significant one. In a recent case, the Delaware Superior Court addressed a D&O insurance coverage dispute in which, among other things, the insurers and the policyholder disagreed on whether the larger M&A-related claim retention applied to the underlying litigation. In an interesting November 23, 2021 opinion (here), Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis held that the larger M&A retention did not apply. Continue Reading Court Holds Larger M&A-Related Retention Does Not Apply to Securities Claim

In the latest development in the long-running saga involving the efforts by J.P. Morgan to obtain D&O insurance coverage for the $140 million “disgorgement” that its predecessor-in-interest, Bear Stearns, paid to settle SEC market-timing allegations, the New York Court of Appeals (the state’s highest court) has reversed the intermediate appellate court’s ruling that the payment represented a “penalty” for which coverage is precluded. The Court of Appeals rejected the intermediate appellate court’s conclusion, made in reliance on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2017 Kokesh decision, that a “disgorgement” payment to the SEC is a “penalty.” The Court of Appeals held that Kokesh did not control, and that because the payment was compensatory in nature, it did not represent a “penalty” for which coverage is precluded under the policies. The Court’s November 24, 2021 opinion can be found here. Continue Reading New York’s Highest Court Holds SEC “Disgorgement” Payment Not a “Penalty”

Editor’s Note: This installment of Sunday Arts reproduces a portion of a blog post originally published on May 10, 2010.

The reference to Michael Lewis’s Vanity Fair article reminded me that a copy of his latest book, The Big Short, is languishing unread on my bookshelf. Rather than reading yet another account of our dysfunctional financial system, I have been distracted by Maurice Lever’s excellent biography of Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais.

Beaumarchais is now remembered mostly for having written The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro, though ironically he wrote those works essentially as a diversion from his many other hyperkinetic activities. Beaumarchais was a watchmaker’s son who managed to leverage music lessons provided to Louis XV’s daughters into court contacts and business opportunities from which he achieved wealth, notoriety and a life so full it almost can’t be summarized.

Variously an entrepreneur, inventor, author, royal agent, diplomat, spy, labor organizer, publisher and printer, arms merchant, and revolutionary, and throughout it all a tireless and effective self-promoter and compulsive litigant, Beaumarchais was at the center of many of the critical events in the events leading up to the French Revolution.

The vast sweep of Beaumarchais’s life encompasses enough to have filled several lifetimes. If we now remember him most for his plays, we should at least recognize how provocative and even seditious his plays were at the time. One excerpt from Figaro is particularly illustrative in that regard, and worth reproducing here. Though Figaro speaks the words, it is not too hard to imagine these same sentiments come from the mouth of one as talented and ambitious as Beaumarchais, chaffing against the unfairness of a system of aristocracy that delimited the upward range of his achievement:

Just because you’re a great nobleman, you think you’re a great genius! Being an aristocrat, having money, a position in society, holding public office – all that makes a man so arrogant! What have you ever done for all this wealth? You took the trouble to be born and nothing else! Apart from that you’re rather an ordinary man. And me, God damn it, a nobody, one of the crowd, and I’ve had to use more skill and ingenuity simply to stay alive than they’ve expended in a hundred years governing the whole of Spain! And you dare challenge me!

Peter Selvin

In an October 19, 2021 decision in Twin City Fire Insurance Co. v. Vonachen Services, Inc., the Northern District of Illinois, applying Illinois law, addressed key insurance coverage issues under the D&O and EPL coverage parts of a management liability insurance policy. In the following guest post, Peter Selvin reviews and analyzes the decision. Selvin is a partner with Los Angeles-based Ervin Cohen & Jessup. A version of this article previously was published in the LA Daily Journal. I would like to thank Peter for allowing me to publish his article on my 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 Peter’s article. Continue Reading Guest Post: Court Addresses Biometric Claims and Insurance Issues

Michael Hendricks
Burkhard Fassbach

As I discussed in a blog post at the time, in June 2021 VW announced that a settlement had been reached in the D&O liability action that had been filed against the company’s executives in connection with the “Dieselgate” scandal. The settlement, which had an aggregate value of approximately $351 million, was approved by VW shareholders in July 2021. However, minority shareholders have now filed a legal action against VW in an effort to oppose the settlement. In the following guest post, Michael Hendricks and Burkhard Fassbach review the minority shareholders’ legal action and discuss its implications. Michael is the founder of the German D&O specialist broker hendricks GmbH and Burkhard is a D&O-lawyer in private practice in Germany. I would like to thank Michael and Burkhard 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 Michael and Burkhard’s article. Continue Reading Guest Post: VW Dieselgate: Minority Shareholders File Suit Against D&O Settlement

By almost any measure, Fiscal Year 2021 (ended September 30, 2021) was a watershed year in the history of the SEC’s Whistleblower program. According to the recently published annual report of the SEC’s Whistleblower Office, during FY 2021 the agency made the highest annual number of awards in the history of the program, both in terms of dollars and individuals awarded. Indeed, during FY 2021 the agency made more whistleblower awards than in all of the program’s prior years combined. The SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower’s November 15, 2021 Report to Congress can be found here. Continue Reading Record-Setting Year for SEC Whistleblower Program

In a post last week, I noted that in FY 2021 the SEC had flied fewer enforcement actions against public companies compared to FY 2020. However, according to the SEC’s recently released fiscal year end enforcement activity report, the number of new enforcement actions overall (that is, inclusive of both public and private companies) increased by 7 percent in FY 2021. The SEC’s November 15, 2021 press release detailing the agency’s enforcement statistics can be found here. The enforcement action statistical breakdown for FY 2021 can be found here. Continue Reading New SEC Enforcement Actions Overall Increased in FY 2021