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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.

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.
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After a run of several years where numerous banks failed each year, no banks failed in 2018, and only four failed in 2019. The low number of bank failures last year, and the absence of any bank failures the year before, clearly are signs that the economy is strong and the banking industry generally is profitable. But the banking sector is notoriously volatile and historically registers all of the economy’s ups and downs vividly. Is it possible that the current banking sector calm itself foreshadows trouble ahead? That is the question asked in a January 6, 2020 Wall Street Journal article entitled “Few Bank Failures Could Be a Warning Sign for U.S. Financial System” (here).
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Last August, when prominent litigation funding firm Burford Capital Ltd. was hit with as securities class action lawsuit, I published a post highlighting the new suit. In a post in which I arguably had some fun at Burford’s expense – the post was entitled “Isn’t It Ironic? Litigation Funding Firm Hit With Securities Suit” – I detailed the shareholder plaintiff’s allegations. Having drawn readers’ attention to the lawsuit, it seems only fair for me now to point out to readers what subsequently happened in the lawsuit. The fact is, the plaintiff has voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit, albeit without prejudice.
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The liability environment for directors and officers is always in a state of change, but 2019 was a particularly eventful year in the D&O liability arena, with important consequences for the D&O insurance marketplace. The past year’s many developments have significant implications for what may lie ahead in 2020 – and possibly for years to come, as well.  I have set out below the Top Ten D&O Stories of 2019, with a focus on the future implications.
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Lucerne, Switzerland

Early next week, I will be publishing my annual Top Ten Stories in D&O survey. Last week, in anticipation of the upcoming publication of my annual survey, I published a list of my own Top Ten Travel Pictures of 2019. In my travel pics post, I also invited readers to submit for their favorite pictures of their own travel in 2019. I am pleased to report that many readers have submitted pictures for consideration. I have published a sampling of readers’ submissions below.
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The number of federal court securities class action lawsuit filings during 2019 was consistent with the heightened number of filings in each of the two prior years. The total number of suits during 2019 was significantly increased by the number of federal court merger objection lawsuit filings, but even just with respect to the traditional suit filings, the number of securities suit filings in 2019 was well above historical levels. The 2019 federal court securities litigation rate (that is, the number of lawsuits relative to the number of listed companies) was at an all-time high.
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Umesh Pratapa

As many insurance industry observers know, one of the great concerns within the industry now is the possible impact of “silent cyber” – that is, the potential for cybersecurity-related coverage outside of purpose-built cyber insurance policies. In the following guest post, Umesh Pratapa takes a look at the silent cyber phenomenon.  A version of this article previously was published on Umesh’s website (here). Umesh is an independent insurance consultant based in India. I would like to thank Umesh for allowing me to publish his article as a guest post on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this site’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is Umesh’s article.
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Mount Pilatus above Lake Lucerne

In early January 2020, I will be publishing my annual survey of the Top Ten D&O Stories. For now, though, I know that most readers are not interested in reading about insurance or the law. So today instead of my usual fare, I am posting my favorite pictures that I took in the course of my 2019 travels. In addition, following the pictures below, I am extending an invitation to readers to send me their favorite travel pictures from this past year. As detailed below, I will publish a selection of readers’ picture submissions in future blog post(s).
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Paul Ferrillo

As regular readers of this blog know, one of the many consequences that may follow for a company that experiences a cybersecurity incident is that it could get hit with a D&O claim. In the following guest post, Paul Ferrillo examine whether the increasing move toward cybersecurity-related D&O claims could in turn lead to an increase in prior Delaware Section 220 books and records inspection demands. Paul is a shareholder in the Greenberg Traurig law firm’s Cybersecurity, Privacy, and Crisis Management Practice. I would like to thank Paul for allowing me to publish his guest post as an 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 Paul’s article.
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Francis Kean

Earlier this month I published a guest post in which John McCarrick and Paul Schiavone suggested various policy terms and conditions they proposed should be revisited as D&O insurers seek profitability. My comments on their proposals appeared as an appendix to John and Paul’s article. John and Paul’s article has provoked a series of responses. Last week, I published a second guest post in which Paul Ferrillo provided his thoughts in response to John and Paul’s article. And in yet another guest post, Gil Isidro provided his comments as well. Now, as set out below, Francis Kean adds his voice to the dialog. Francis is Executive Director FINEX Willis Towers Watson. I would like to thank Francis for allowing me to publish his comments. Here is Francis’s article.
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