The troubled deal in which Advent International Corporation was to acquire cybersecurity firm Forescout Technologies, Inc. is already the subject of litigation pending in Delaware Chancery Court, and indeed a trial in the Delaware merger dispute case is scheduled for July. Now Forescout shareholders have filed a separate securities lawsuit, alleging that between the time the deal was announced in February 2020 and the time that Forescout announced in May 2020 that Advent had advised Forescout that Advent would not “consummate” the acquisition, Forescout made a series of misrepresentations about the company’s financial condition and performance. Among other things, the investors allege that Forescout misrepresented or omitted to disclose the impact that the COVID-19 outbreak was having on its financial performance.  A copy of the plaintiffs’ June 10, 2020 complaint can be found here.
Continue Reading Securities Suit Alleges Cybersecurity Company Misrepresented COVID-19 Impact

In prior enforcement actions the agency filed in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, the SEC has made it clear that it intends to target companies and individuals that are seeking to secure gains by misrepresenting to investors the companies’ ability to profit from the pandemic. On June 9, 2020, the SEC filed what is the latest of these pandemic-related enforcement actions. In its complaint, the agency alleges that a penny stock trader engaged in a fraudulent pump-and-dump scheme involving the stock of a biotechnology company. The SEC alleges he drove the company’s share price by making hundreds of false statements about the company in an online forum, and then after the company’s share price rose, he sold his stock for significant profits.
Continue Reading SEC Files Enforcement Action Based on Alleged COVID-19 Pump-and-Dump Scheme

Since the outset of the coronavirus outbreak, a relatively modest number of COVID-19 related securities suits have been filed. However in the past two days, two additional coronavirus-related securities suits were filed, bringing the total number of coronavirus-related securities suits to nine, so far. The two new suits were filed against Sorrento Therapeutics, a biopharma company, and Carnival Corporation, a cruise ship line. The Sorrento complaint can be found here and the Carnival Corporation complaint can be found here.
Continue Reading Two Additional Coronavirus Outbreak-Related Securities Suits Filed

On May 20, 2020, a plaintiff shareholder filed the latest securities class action lawsuit asserting claims based on COVID-19-related allegations. The lawsuit, filed against Elanco Animal Health, Inc., raises allegations concerning the company’s May 7, 2020 earning release, in which the company announced a significant revenue downturn that the company ascribed to the coronavirus outbreak. The complaint alleges that, in connection with the revenue downturn, the company announced that it had made changes in its distribution channels that had affected channel inventory levels and that in turn impacted the company’s financial results. A copy of the complaint can be found here.
Continue Reading COVID 19-Related Securities Suit Filed Against Animal Supply Company

In the following guest post, Partners Gregory T. Grogan and Jeannine McSweeney, and Associate Jake Phillips of the Simpson Thacher law firm take a look at key issues employers should consider when contemplating compensation reductions for employees and non-employee directors during the COVID-19 pandemic. A version of this article was previously published as a Simpson Thacher client memorandum. I would like to thank the authors for their willingness to allow me to publish their 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 if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is the authors’ article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: COVID-19 Considerations for Employee and Director Compensation Reductions

In what is the latest variant of coronavirus-Related D&O claims, a plaintiff shareholder has filed class action lawsuit in Delaware State Court against the board of media technology Xperi with respect to the company’s planned merger with TiVo Corporation. Among other things, the plaintiff alleges that the defendant board members breached their fiduciary duties by failing to provide investors with adequate disclosures about the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the deal and failing to reassess the deal in view of the fact that the pandemic represents a “Material Adverse Event” under the merger agreement. A copy of the plaintiff’s May 15, 2020 complaint can be found here. Alison Frankel’s May 18, 2020 post about the lawsuit on her On the Case blog can be found here.
Continue Reading Shareholder Files State Court Class Action Over COVID-19 Impact on Planned Merger

Here at The D&O Diary, we watch securities class action litigation filings closely in order to try to identify trends as they emerge. Recently, we have been watching in particular for coronavirus-related securities litigation filings, and reporting on new filings on this blog. However, it appears that despite all of our vigilance, a coronavirus-related securities class action lawsuit filed last month escaped our notice. This previously overlooked lawsuit is described below. As noted in the discussion section, this case may actually represent a significant example of at least one type of coronavirus-related securities suit that we may see more of in the months ahead.
Continue Reading Add this Previously Filed Suit to the List of Coronavirus-Related Securities Lawsuits

As I have been monitoring coronavirus-related D&O claims activity in recent weeks, one area I have been watching in particular is the filing of SEC enforcement actions based on pandemic-related allegations. As I noted at the time it was filed, there has already been one coronavirus-related SEC action filed. Now, on May 14, 2020, the SEC has filed two more coronavirus-related enforcement actions, and its press release accompanying the filings the agency stated that it is “actively monitoring the markets to detect potential fraudsters” who are trying to exploit the current health emergency in order to reap gains by misleading investors. The SEC’s May 14, 2020 press release about its filing of the two actions can be found here.
Continue Reading SEC Files Two More COVID 19-Related Enforcement Actions

As part of a continuing series, I have been participating in sessions that the Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS) has organized addressing the potential D&O liability and insurance issues arising out of the COVID-19 outbreak. I have been joined in these recorded sessions by my good friends Carl Metzger of the Goodwin Procter law firm

In early March, when I first wrote about the possibility of coronavirus-related D&O claims, there were then a total of 43 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and six deaths. In early April, when I published my first interim update to my initial post, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. had grown to 267,436 and the number of deaths was over 10,400. Now, a month later, the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. has exceeded 1.2 million and the number of deaths is over 78,000. By now it is apparent that the coronavirus-outbreak represents the most significant public health crisis in the U.S. in more than a century. The disease has also had a massive impact on the economy, both within the U.S. and globally, in ways that are only now starting to be fully appreciated.
Continue Reading Coronavirus and D&O Insurance: The Latest Interim Update