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Kevin M. LaCroix is an attorney and Executive Vice President, RT ProExec, a division of RT Specialty. RT ProExec is an insurance intermediary focused exclusively on management liability issues.

According to the latest annual report from ISS Securities Class Action Services, there were two securities class action settlements in 2022 that were large enough to make the firm’s list of the Top 100 U.S. Securities Class Action settlements. These two settlements took place in a year in which there were a total of 141 approved monetary securities class action settlements totaling $4.77 billion. The details of the settlements included the two largest during 2022 can be found in the ISS Securities Class Action Services report entitled “The Top 100 U.S. Class Action Settlements of All-Time,” here.

Continue Reading ISS Releases 2022 Top 100 Securities Class Action Lawsuit Settlements List

Largely due to the decline in the numbers of merger objection class action lawsuit filings and a decline in the number of Rule 10b-5 filings, the number of new federal court securities class action lawsuit filings declined in 2022 for the fourth consecutive year, according to the latest annual report from NERA Economic Consulting. The report, entitled “Recent Trends in Securities Class Action Litigation: 2022 Full-Year Review” also shows that aggregate, average, and median securities class action lawsuit settlements increased in 2022 relative to 2021. NERA’s January 24, 2023, press release about the report, with a link to the full report, can be found here.

Continue Reading NERA: Securities Suit Filings Declined in 2022 for the Fourth Consecutive Year

Among the various provisions of the D&O insurance policy, one of the most litigated provisions is the Insured vs. Insured exclusion, which, in simple terms, precludes coverage for claims brought by one insured against another insured. However, the exclusion typically has several carve-back provisions preserving coverage for various kinds of claims that otherwise would be excluded. One of these carve-back provisions came into play in a court’s recent determination, applying Kentucky law, that coverage for a claim brought by a group of plaintiffs that included both insured and non-insured persons was precluded, because the claim had not been brought independently of the participation of an insured person.

A copy of Southern District of New York Judge Valerie Caproni’s December 9, 2022, opinion in the case can be found here. A January 18, 2023 post on the Wiley law firm’s Executive Summary blog about the decision can be found here.

Continue Reading Coverage Precluded Where Claims Brought by Both Insured and Non-Insured Persons

It is a standard D&O insurance policy feature that if two claims are “related” within the meaning of the policy then they are “deemed” a single claim first made at the time of the earlier claim. However, in a recent coverage dispute, a Delaware court held, in reliance on policy language the court found to be clear and unambiguous, that two related claims were deemed first made not at the time the earlier claim but rather during the policy period of the policy in force at the time the later claim was made. Confused? Read on!

Continue Reading Two Claims Related But Deemed Made During the Later Claim’s Policy Period

Nessim Mezrahi
Stephen Sigrist

In the following guest post, Nessim Mezrahi and Stephen Sigrist take a look at a variety of economic and marketplace factors that they suggest may lead to securities litigation lawsuit filings in 2023, particularly with respect to IPO companies. Mezrahi is co-founder and CEO and Sigrist is Senior Vice President of Data Science at SAR LLC. A version of this article previously was published on Law360. I would like to thank the authors for allowing me to publish their 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 the authors’ article.

Continue Reading Guest Post: Securities Class Actions May Spur IPO Investigations in 2023

One of the hotly contested issues in recent years has been whether or not there is D&O insurance coverage for shareholder appraisal actions. In a recent decision that was largely focused on choice of law issues, the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of a policyholder’s action to try to obtain coverage for defense costs incurred in an underlying shareholder appraisal action. Though the insurers prevailed in this coverage dispute, the Court’s holding on the choice of law issues could have ominous implications for insurers’ prospects in future coverage disputes, as discussed below. The Delaware Supreme Court’s January 10, 2023, opinion in the Stillwater Mining Company coverage dispute can be found here.

Continue Reading Delaware Supreme Court: No Coverage for Appraisal Action

The so-called “Bump-Up” Exclusion found in many D&O insurance policies typically excludes coverage for claims alleging that the insured company, as the acquiror, underpaid or sought to underpay for the acquisition of a target company. However, in a recent decision following a bench trial, in which the court interpreted an unusually worded exclusion that arguably applied to preclude coverage whether or not the insured company was the acquiror or the acquisition target, the court held that the exclusion unambiguously precluded coverage for the settlement of a claim that the directors of Onyx Pharmaceuticals, the insured company, had breached their duties by accepting an inadequate amount for the sale of their company. The judge’s opinion is a cautionary tale for anyone involved in the placement of D&O insurance and also has important implications about the wording of the bump-up exclusion. A copy of the court’s December 30, 2022, post-trial Final Statement of Decision can be found here.

Continue Reading Exclusion Bars Coverage for Insured Company’s Acquisition Underpayment

In two dismissal motion grants last week in pending SPAC-related securities suits, the respective courts’ rulings could have potential significance for other pending or prospective SPAC-related cases. The January 10, 2023, ruling in the SPAC-related suit involving DraftKings has important implications for the many pending SPAC-related cases based on short seller reports, and the January 11, 2023, ruling in the Lucid case has potential implications for SPAC-related securities suits based on alleged pre-merger misrepresentations. The two rulings and their potential significance are discussed below.

Continue Reading SPAC-Related Securities Suit Dismissals Could Be Significant for Other Cases

On January 4, 2023, Delaware Vice Chancellor Lori Will denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss in the breach of fiduciary duty case a shareholder of the SPAC, Gig Capital3 Inc. (Gig3), against the SPAC’s sponsor and its board of directors in connection with the SPAC’s May 6, 2021, merger with Lightening eMotors. Essentially, the plaintiff alleged that the defendants withheld information about the dilutive impact of the transaction on the cash value of the investors’ shares, depriving the investors of the information they need to decide whether or not to redeem their shares.

In a ruling substantiating well-publicized contentions of Stanford Law Professor Michael Klausner about SPACs’ structural flaws (doubly noteworthy because Klausner acted as co-counsel for the plaintiff in the Gig3 case), Vice Chancellor Will denied the defendants’ dismissal motion, raising questions about whether similar allegations could be raised against a host of other SPACs, as discussed below. A copy of Vice Chancellor Will’s opinion can be found here.

Continue Reading Will Del. Court’s Ruling Mean a SPAC Lawsuit “Gold Rush”?