In the following guest post, Jay Knight, Taylor Wirth and Chris Johnson of the Bass, Berry & Sims law firm review the key developments at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) during 2019, and consider what to expect in the months ahead. I would like to thank the authors for allowing 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

As was the case for the last two reporting years, there were relatively few larger securities class action lawsuit settlements during 2019 compared to prior years. As reported in latest large securities class action lawsuit settlement report from ISS Securities Class Action Services (ISS), there were only two settlements finalized in 2019 large enough to make the list of all time large settlements. However, there are a number of pending tentative securities class action lawsuit settlements that are likely to be finalized in 2020, and thus are likely to lead to an increase in the number of Top 100 settlements during the year. The February 20, 2020 report, entitled “The Top 100 U.S. Class Action Settlements of All Time (as of December 31, 2019)” can be found here.
Continue Reading

Over the last several years, plaintiffs’ lawyers have filed a number of D&O lawsuits against companies that had been hit with a cybersecurity incident. These suits have largely been unsuccessful, with the exception of the lawsuits filed against Yahoo in the wake of that company’s data breach. While the plaintiffs’ track record in data breach-related D&O lawsuits so far has not been good, a recent development could suggest that that has changed. On February 13, 2020, the parties to the Equifax data breach-related lawsuit filed a stipulation of settlement stating that the case has been settled based on the defendants’ agreement to pay $149 million. The settlement is subject to court approval. This settlement has a number of interesting implications, as discussed below. A copy of the parties’ stipulation of settlement can be found here.
Continue Reading

In the course of my various foreign travels, I have had occasion to speak to many underwriters and brokers who place D&O insurance for non-U.S. companies whose American Depository Receipts (ADRs) trade in the U.S. There is a pervasive, inexplicable, and mistaken belief among some underwriters and brokers that companies whose Level I ADRs trade in the U.S cannot be subject to a U.S. securities suit. These individuals persist in this error despite the Toshiba case, in which the Ninth Circuit reversed a district court’s dismissal of the securities suit brought by investors in Toshiba’s unsponsored Level I ADRs. Because of the persistence of the error about the potential liability of companies with ADRs trading in the U.S., it is mandatory for every single underwriter or broker who places D&O insurance for a non-U.S. ADR company to read the latest court ruling in the Toshiba case. As discussed below, the U.S. securities lawsuit brought against Toshiba brought by purchasers of the company’s unsponsored Level I ADRs is going forward. 
Continue Reading

Cornerstone Research has released its annual survey of securities class action lawsuit filings for 2019. The year’s version of the report introduces some notable innovations. In prior years, the annual report focused exclusively on federal court securities suit filings. In last year’s report, the survey also incorporated significant state court securities litigation data. This year for the first time the report fully incorporates the state court data in the presentation and analysis. The updated report also includes several new interesting perspectives on the past year’s securities litigation filings, particularly with respect to state court lawsuit filings. As the report details, the state court filings “helped push filing activity to record levels.”
Continue Reading

As I noted in my recent analysis of the 2019 securities class action litigation filings, one of the significant factors driving the near-historical levels of securities suit filings during the year was the elevated levels of securities litigation against life sciences companies. A January 21, 2020 report from the Dechert law firm, entitled “Dechert Survey: Developments in Securities Fraud Class Actions Against U.S. Life Sciences Companies: 2019 Edition” (here), details the 2019 securities lawsuit filings against life sciences companies, and reports that once again life sciences companies were “popular targets” for securities litigation claims.
Continue Reading

Nessim Mezrahi

In the following guest post, Nessim Mezrahi, takes a look at event analysis, price impact, and damages in securities class action lawsuits. Mezrahi is cofounder and CEO of SAR, a securities class action data analytics and software company.  A version of this article previously was published on Law 360. I would like to thank Nessim for allowing me to publish his article 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 Nessim’s article.
Continue Reading

Securities class action lawsuit filings remained at elevated levels in 2019, but the mix of cases changed during the year, according to the recently published annual report from NERA Economic Consulting. According to the report, which is entitled “Recent Trends in Securities Class Action Litigation: 2019 Full-Year Review,” there were relatively fewer merger objection lawsuits during the year, and relatively more standard securities suits. NERA’s January 21, 2020 press release about the report can be found here, and the report itself can be found here. My own analysis of the 2019 securities litigation can be found here.
Continue Reading

As the various stories and revelations came to light during the peak of the #MeToo movement, there were also a number of D&O lawsuits filed against companies whose executives were the target of the stories. Among these lawsuits was the #MeToo-related securities class action lawsuit filed against CBS. On January 15, 2020, in a lengthy and detailed opinion, Southern District of New York Judge Valerie Caproni largely granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit, although the lawsuit did survive as to one set of allegations involved alleged statements by former CBS executive Leslie Moonves. The court’s ruling underscores the difficulty for plaintiffs in trying to translate sexual misconduct allegations into securities claims.
Continue Reading

On January 6, 2020, solar panel company First Solar announced that it had settled the securities class action lawsuit  pending against the company and certain of its executive officers for a payment of $350 million. During the long course of this matter, the case made its way to the Ninth Circuit a couple of times; the case even involved an unsuccessful petition to the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari. In addition to its sheer size, there are a number of other interesting aspects to this settlement, as discussed below. The settlement is subject to court approval. The company’s January 6, 2020 press release can be found here.
Continue Reading