There was a time, not that long ago, when class action securities lawsuits were mostly about accounting and financial disclosure-related issues. In more recent years, securities suits increasingly are about operational issues, in which unfortunate business developments are the basis of securities fraud allegations — a phenomenon that has been called “event-driven litigation.” In the latest example of this kind of litigation, a plaintiff shareholder has filed a securities class action lawsuit against General Motors alleging that the company, which sustained a product recall related to its vehicle airbags and suffered a significant setback in its driverless vehicle development efforts when one of its driverless vehicles struck a pedestrian, misled investors about vehicle safety issues. A copy of the plaintiff’s December 8, 2023, complaint can be found here.Continue Reading Vehicle Safety Issues Trigger Securities Suit Against GM

Throughout 2023, I have noted examples of securities class action lawsuit filings involving companies whose operations or financial results were undercut by adverse macroeconomic conditions. The specific adverse economic conditions involved have included, for example, rising interest rates, heightened economic inflation, and supply chain and labor supply disruptions.

In yet another example of this phenomenon, a plaintiff shareholder has this week sued the software company Expensify in a lawsuit alleging not that a single adverse macroeconomic factor undercut the company’s results, but rather that adverse macroeconomic conditions in general hurt the company’s financial results and caused it to fall short of the growth projections it made in its IPO. As discussed below, the overall macroeconomic conditions that hurt this company and that were such a factor in securities class action litigation frequency overall in 2023 likely will continue as we head into 2024. There also is a D&O practitioner’s pointer below for those willing to read all the way to the end of this post. A copy of the November 2, 2023, complaint filed against the company can be found here.Continue Reading Securities Suit Alleges “Macroeconomic Headwinds” Undercut IPO Company

You all know the pattern: a short seller publishes a splashy report with attention-grabbing revelations about the operations or financial results of a listed company; the company’s shares decline; and a plaintiffs’ securities class action law firm files a securities class action lawsuit, often based solely on the accusations in the short seller’s report. The defendant company will of course file a motion to dismiss – but how will the court assess the accusations in the short seller’s report for purposes of determining the sufficiency of the plaintiffs’ allegations? In a November 2, 2023, Law360 article (here), Richard Zelichov of the DLA Piper law firm considers the way that courts should consider allegations based on short-seller reports.Continue Reading Short-Seller Reports and Securities Class Action Lawsuits

One of the most important securities class action litigation trends in recent years has been the wave of securities lawsuits involving SPACs. And while as time has passed since the peak of the SPAC IPO frenzy in late 2020 and early 2021, SPAC-related securities class action suits continue to be filed. The latest example is the securities suit filed earlier this week against the electric vehicle company Fisker, which merged with a SPAC in 2020. A copy of the November 27, 2023, complaint can be found here.Continue Reading EV Company Hit with SPAC-Related Securities Suit

Throughout the year, macroeconomic considerations have been an important factor in the number of securities class action lawsuit filings, including economic inflation, and supply chain and labor supply disruption. Another important factor has been rising interest rates, which, among other things contributed to several high-profile bank failures earlier this year, and which in turn led to the filing of follow-on securities suits.

In the latest example of macroeconomic factors affecting businesses and translating into a securities class action lawsuit filing, a plaintiff shareholder has filed a securities class action lawsuit against the standby power generator company, Generac Holdings, after the company announced that declining consumer spending due to rising interest rates caused the company second quarter 2023 revenues to fall below expectations. A copy of the November 21, 2023, complaint can be found here.Continue Reading High Interest Rates Undercut Consumer Demand, Leads to Securities Suit Filing

One factor that contributed significantly to the total number of securities class action lawsuits filed in 2021 and 2022 was the proliferation of SPAC-related securities suit filings. Although diminished in number this year relative to the two prior years, and while the filing pace has declined as the year has progressed, SPAC-related securities suits continue to be filed in 2023. In the latest example of this continuing trend, last week a plaintiff shareholder filed a securities suit against the executives and sponsor of a SPAC that merged with a health monitoring technology company that later went bankrupt. The named defendants include officers of the bankrupt company. While the suit is interesting as an example of the continuing threat of SPAC-related litigation, it may be even more important as an illustration of the way that geopolitical risk increasingly can translate into securities litigation.Continue Reading SPAC-Related Suit Shows How Geopolitical Risk Can Translate into Securities Litigation

Jeffrey Epstein’s life, misdeeds, and death make for a sordid and scandalous tale. Epstein’s story is the backdrop of a new securities class action lawsuit that has been filed against Barclays, its former CEO, James “Jes” Staley, and certain other company executives, in which the plaintiff alleges that Staley and Barclays misled investors about

I have long thought that there was more than just a kernel of truth to Bloomberg columnist Matt Levine’s oft-quoted quip that “everything everywhere is securities fraud.” Just the same, there are certain circumstances that I have had a hard time seeing as leading to a securities fraud lawsuit. Like, for instance, the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexican border. The massive influx of migrants into the U.S. is a serious humanitarian and political emergency. But how on earth could the migrant crisis lead to a securities suit? Well, as it turns out, a securities suit filed last week in the federal court in Manhattan may just answer that question.Continue Reading Migrant Crisis Circumstances Lead to Securities Lawsuit Filing

One of the characteristics of “opt-out” class actions in the U.S. is that class members retain the option of opting out of the class settlements. A new study shows that in recent years, opt-outs are becoming an increasingly common phenomenon in securities class action settlements, particularly in connection with securities cases having certain traits. The Cornerstone Research study, entitled “Opt-Outs in Securities Class Action Settlements: 2019-H1 2022” can be found here. Cornerstone Research’s October 25, 2023, press release about the report can be found here.Continue Reading Cornerstone Research: Securities Suit Opt-Outs Increasingly Frequent in Large, Complex Cases

I have long thought that privacy-related issues represent one of the important emerging areas of D&O liability exposure. One case that I thought represented an example of this emerging risk was the securities class action lawsuit brought against Facebook related to the Cambridge Analytica user data privacy scandal. However, when the court granted the motion to dismiss in the case, the relevance of the Cambridge Analytica case to the discussion of privacy-related issues seemed diminished. But the appellate court has now reversed in part the lower court’s dismissal, restoring the relevance of the case to the privacy-related discussion and highlighting the importance of privacy concerns as an area of emerging D&O liability risk. The Ninth Circuit’s October 18, 2023, opinion in the case can be found here.Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Revives in Part Facebook Privacy-Related Securities Suit