In the latest securities class action lawsuit to be filed against a company that has experienced a data breach or other cybersecurity incident, a plaintiff shareholder has filed a securities suit against Capital One in connection with the company’s recent massive data breach. While there have been a number of data breach-related securities suits before, there are some unique features of the Capital One situation that make it distinctive and interesting, as discussed below. The plaintiff shareholder’s October 2, 2019 complaint can be found here.
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Two of the most prominent examples of the rise of privacy-related securities class action lawsuits are the Cambridge Analytica scandal-related suit filed against Facebook in March 2018, and the Earnings Miss/GDPR-readiness and compliance-related securities suit filed against Facebook in July 2018. These two lawsuits were ultimately consolidated. In an interesting and detailed September 25, 2019 order (here), Northern District of California Edward J. Davila granted without prejudice the defendants’ motions to dismiss the consolidated lawsuit, finding that the plaintiffs had failed to adequately plead falsity and scienter. There are a number of interesting features to Judge Davila’s ruling, as discussed below.
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After the U.S. Supreme Court’s March 2018 decision in the Cyan case that state courts retain concurrent jurisdiction for ’33 Act liability actions, one idea that circulated was that companies could avoid securities class action lawsuits in state court by adopting a charter provision designating a federal forum for these kinds of suits. Unfortunately, in December 2018, Delaware Chancery Court Vice Chancellor Travis Laster held in Sciabacucchi v. Salzburg that under Delaware law federal forum provisions are invalid and ineffective, as discussed here. The Sciabacucchi decision, which is now on appeal, is the subject of a comprehensive critique in a recent article by Stanford Law Professor Joseph Grundfest, entitled “The Limits of Delaware Corporate Law: Internal Affairs, Federal Forum Provisions, and Sciabacucchi” (here). Professor Grundfest argues that Sciabacucchi was wrongly decided and that a under a “straightforward” application of applicable Delaware statutory law, federal forum provisions are valid and permitted.
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In a development that some may find more than a little bit ironic, U.K.-based litigation finance firm Burford Capital has been hit with a securities class action lawsuit following a drop in its share price after a short seller published a report questioning the company’s financial reporting. Burford has denied the short seller’s allegations and has also raised interesting questions about trading in its securities at the time of the research report’s release. A copy of the August 21, 2019 complaint filed against the company and certain of its executives can be found here.
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As I have frequently noted on this site (most recently here), plaintiffs’ lawyers often attempt to fashion a securities lawsuit out of on revelations of corporate activities involving alleged violations of anti-bribery laws. A securities class action lawsuit filed this week represents the latest example of this phenomenon. In this instance, the allegedly improper conduct involved activities of an acquired company that reportedly took place prior to the merger. As discussed below, this latest example of the bribery-related securities lawsuits involves several interesting variations on the pattern of these kinds of follow-on securities suits.
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In the following guest post, Stephen J. Choi, Jessica M. Erikson, and Adam C. Pritchard take a look at the plaintiffs’ attorney fee awards in “mega-settlements” in securities class action lawsuits. The authors ask the question whether the lawyers who lead these cases and negotiate the settlements are appropriately rewarded for their efforts. Choi is the Murray and Kathleen Bring Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. Erickson is Professor of Law & Associate Dean for Faculty Development at University of Richmond School of Law. Pritchard is the Frances and George Skestos Professor of Law at University of Michigan Law School. My thanks to 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.
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Nessim Mezrahi

In numerous prior posts on this site (for example, here), I have written about the problems caused by the U.S. Supreme Court’s March 2018 decision in Cyan, Inc. v. Beaver County Employees Retirement Fund. In the following guest post, Nessim Mezrahi, cofounder and CEO of SAR, a securities class action data analytics and software company, issues a call for reform to address the “confusion” that Cyan has caused. A version of this article previously appeared 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 publish a guest post. Here is Nessim’s article.
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Plaintiffs filed federal court securities class action lawsuits at  “near-record levels” during the first six months of 2019, according to a new report from Cornerstone Research. The July 31, 2019 report, entitled “Securities Class Action Filings: 2019 Midyear Assessment,” notes that the elevated filing levels continued in the year’s first half despite reduced numbers of merger objection lawsuit filings. In addition to the number of federal court filings, there were a significant number of state court securities suit filings, bringing overall filing levels close to all-time highs. The new report can be found here. Cornerstone Research’s July 31, 2019 press release about the report can be found here. My own analysis of the first half filings can be found here.
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As a result of  the U.S. Supreme Court’s March 2018 Cyan decision, in which the Court ruled that state courts retain concurrent jurisdiction over ’33 Act liability actions, companies issuing shares now face the risk of having to face parallel securities litigation in state and federal court. Among the many problems this risk poses is the possibility that, due to the differing pleading standards between state and federal court, Securities Act liability suits that would be dismissed in federal court might survive a dismissal motion in state court. New York is among the states where many post-Cyan securities suits are being filed and where differences in pleading standards might lead to a fewer state court lawsuit dismissals relative to the dismissal rate in state court. However, notwithstanding these concerns, a New York state court judge recently entered an order dismissing a post-Cyan securities suit, raising the possibility that defendants may be able to dismiss securities suits filed in New York state court after all.  
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One of the things that happened both in the lead up to and in the wake of the October 2018 legalization of cannabis-based products in Canada is that a number of Canada-based cannabis companies listed their shares on U.S. securities exchanges. From the outset, D&O insurers have regarded the cannabis companies as a distinct risk and as a tough class of business. Earlier on, there were relatively few claims to substantiate these concerns. However, there have now been a number of securities class action lawsuits filed against U.S.-listed Canadian companies, with the latest lawsuit filed just this week.
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