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

I hope many readers saw and read my recent post “What to Watch in the World of D&O.”  A few days ago I recorded a podcast as part of the Rising Edge Ltd’s podcast series in which I discuss several of the themes raised in the “What to Watch” post. In the podcast recording, I

In a September 15, 2022 speech, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced new Department of Justice guidelines for prosecutors to use when assessing corporate criminality. Although the new guidelines address several issues, the primary focus of the guidelines is on individual accountability. Monaco emphasized at the outset of her speech that “the Department’s number one priority is individual accountability.” The new guidelines represent a clear signal of the Department’s renewed focus on corporate criminality enforcement. The text of Monaco’s speech can be found here, and the September 15, 2022 DOJ memo outlining the new guidelines can be found here.
Continue Reading Updated DOJ Corporate Enforcement Policies Emphasize Individual Accountability

As I discussed at the time (here), in March 2022, the SEC published proposed climate-related disclosure guidelines. The agency’s proposal is now in the public comment period, and it remains to be seen in what form the guidelines will be put into effect. However, it seems probable that that the guidelines will be implemented in some form, despite concerns expressed in public comments so far. If the rules are put into effect in some form close to the initial proposal, there will be a risk that claimants may seek to rely on the guidelines in connection with future corporate and securities lawsuits. A detailed and interesting September 12, 2022 memo from the Cleary Gottlieb law firm (here) discussed the possibility that the climate change disclosure guidelines could give rise to a host of potential future litigation risks. (Hat tip to the TheCorporateCounsel.net blog for the link to the law firm memo.)
Continue Reading Will Corporate and Securities Litigation Follow SEC Adoption of Climate Disclosure Guidelines?

Readers of this blog know that in recent years, plaintiffs’ lawyers have filed a number of D&O lawsuits against companies that experience cybersecurity-related incidents. Overall, the plaintiffs’ track record on these cases is at best mixed, and a number of high-profile cases have been dismissed. In the latest example of the dismissal of a cybersecurity-related securities suit, the court in the Capital One Financial Corporation data breach-related securities class action lawsuit has granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss. The September 13, 2022 dismissal order in the case can be found here.
Continue Reading Capital One Data Breach-Related Securities Suit Dismissed

In the following guest post, Gregory A. Markel, Christopher F. Robertson, and David J. Winkler of the Seyfarth Shaw law firm take a look at the Second Circuit’s August 5, 2022 decision in Murray v. UBS Securities LLC. As the authors discuss, the Second Circuit’s ruling creates a split within the federal judicial circuits on the question of whether or not a SOX whistleblower retaliation claimant must prove retaliatory intent in order to prevail. I would like to thank 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.
Continue Reading Guest Post: The Second Circuit Creates a Circuit Split on Whistleblower Claim Standards

As I have noted in numerous posts on this site, since the initial outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020, plaintiffs’ lawyers have filed a host of coronavirus-related securities class action lawsuits. As I also noted, the plaintiffs’ track record in these cases has been mixed at best, with a number of the cases being dismissed. In the latest example of the hurdles the plaintiffs are facing in these cases, a federal court has entered an order dismissing the COVID-19 related securities suit that was filed against the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca relating to the company’s troubled efforts to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. A copy of the September 12, 2022 opinion in the case can be found here.
Continue Reading AstraZeneca COVID-19-Related Securities Suit Dismissed

In the midst of its battles with Elon Musk over Musk’s attempt to walk away from his proposed takeover of the company, Twitter was rocked by the news that a whistleblower had sent Congress and federal agencies explosive reports of “major security problems” at the company. According to the news reports, the whistleblower’s disclosure not only detailed privacy and cybersecurity vulnerabilities at Twitter, but also included allegations that company management had misled its own corporate board and government regulators about the vulnerabilities. Among other things, these revelations triggered a Congressional inquiry. And now, a plaintiff shareholder has launched a securities class action lawsuit against the company and several of its executives, based on the whistleblower’s allegations. As discussed below, the complaint has several interesting features.
Continue Reading Twitter Hit with Cybersecurity-Related Securities Suit Over Whistleblower Allegations

Yet another Delaware court has issued a noteworthy management liability insurance coverage opinion. In a detailed September 12, 2022 opinion in a dispute between Godiva Chocolatier and its management liability insurers over coverage for underlying consumer protection claims against the company, Delaware Superior Court Judge Mary M. Johnston rejected many – but not all — of the insurers’ coverage defenses. A copy of Judge Johnston’s opinion can be found here.
Continue Reading Del. Court Narrows Godiva’s Insurers’ Defenses in Dispute Over Coverage for Consumer Protection Claims

A claim alleging a board’s breach of duty of oversight has long been regarded as one of the most difficult for a plaintiff to sustain. But after the Delaware Supreme Court’s 2019 opinion in Marchand v. Barnhill, breach of the duty of oversight claims (or Caremark claims, as they are sometimes called) have in recent years, as Vice Chancellor Sam Glasscock put in in his recent opinion in the SolarWinds case, “bloomed like dandelions after a warm spring rain.” Some commentators questioned whether oversight breach claims were in fact as difficult to sustain as is so often said. However, in his recent opinion, the Vice Chancellor emphasized the oversight breach claims remain “one of the most difficult claims” to sustain and granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss the cybersecurity-related oversight breach claims asserted against the board of Solar Winds.  A copy of Vice Chancellor Glasscock’s September 6, 2022 opinion in the SolarWinds case can be found here.
Continue Reading Del. Court Dismisses Cybersecurity-Related Oversight Claim Against SolarWinds Board

In my recently published survey of the top topics in the world of directors’ and officers’ liability and insurance, and in connection with my discussion of ESG issues, I briefly mentioned the lawsuit that was filed last week against directors and officers of Starbucks in connection with the company’s “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” (DEI) policies. Because there are a number of notable aspects of this lawsuit, it is worth taking a closer look at the suit. As discussed below, the lawsuit represents yet another instance of anti-ESG backlash and illustrates how companies taking the initiative on ESG issues could incur scrutiny and litigation risk. A copy of the recent complaint can be found here and a copy of the plaintiff’s August 31, 2022 press release can be found here.
Continue Reading Starbucks Execs Hit With Suit Alleging the Company’s DEI Policies Violate Civil Rights Laws