Item 303 Disclosure Duty Case Off Supreme Court’s Docket Due to Reported Settlement

As I noted at the beginning of the U.S. Supreme Court’s current term in my summary of securities cases on the Court’s docket, one of the three key securities cases the court was to consider this term was Leidos, Inc. v. Indiana Public Retirement Systems. As discussed in greater detail here, this case, which was to be argued on November 6, 2017, was to address the recurring question of whether the failure to make disclosure required by Item 303 of Reg. S-K is an actionable omission under Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5. However, as a result of developments in the case, the case is now in “abeyance,” oral argument in the case has taken off the calendar, and the case ultimately may be removed from the court’s docket altogether. Continue Reading

Tenth Circuit: SEC Subpoenas Issued After Formal Investigative Order Not Covered

As I have frequently noted on this blog (most recently here), a recurring D&O insurance issue is the question of coverage for costs incurredin responding to SEC investigations. This question can be complicated both by the features of the specific SEC investigation involved as well as by the specific wording of key policy provisions. These complications were definitely involved in a recent case before the Tenth Circuit, in which the appellate court concluded that policy coverage did not extend to the costs MusclePharm incurred in responding to SEC subpoenas issued pursuant to a formal order of investigation. The decision raises a number of important issues, as discussed below. The Tenth Circuit’s October 17, 2017 opinion can be found here. Continue Reading

Guest Post: Breaching the Firewall: D&O Exposure from Cybersecurity Incidents

Andrew G. Lipton

Laura Schmidt

Although a number of high-profile data breaches have led to D&O claims, so far the plaintiffs’ track record in these kinds of cases has been poor. However, as a result of a number of recent developments, there may be good reason for corporate directors and officers to be concerned about these kinds of claims going forward, as discussed in the following guest post by Andrew G. Lipton and Laura Schmidt, both associates at the White & Williams law firm. I would like to thank Andrew and Laura for submitting their article for publication as a guest post. 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 Andrew and Laura’s guest post.   Continue Reading

Tokyo

Imperial Palace and Nijubashi Bridge

The D&O Diary is on assignment in Asia this week, with the first stop for meetings in Tokyo, Japan’s capital city. Tokyo is such an amazing place. With a population of 13.8 million in the city itself and a total of 37.8 million in the Tokyo prefecture, it is by some measures the most populous city in the world.  It is also a fascinating place. It is such a study in contrast, between the traditional and the modern, and between incredible organization and the disorder of its massive crowds. Continue Reading

Guest Post: FAQs about Regulation A+ Securities Offerings

Jay Knight

Will Lay

In March 2015, the SEC released its final rules implementing the provision of the JOBS Act to try to facilitate small companies’ access to capital and to provide new investors with new investment choices, in the form of Regulation A+. In the following guest post, Jay Knight and Will Lay of the Bass, Berry & Sims law firm provide an overview of Regulation A+, as well as the specifics of the kind of offerings that the regulation authorizes. I would like to thank Jay and Will for their willingness to allow 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 Jay and Will’s guest post. Continue Reading

On the Meaning of “War”

Many insurance policies contain a war exclusion precluding coverage for loss caused by war. But in world where violent conflicts involve a wide variety of different groups and parties, what exactly constitutes “war”? In a recent coverage dispute presenting this issue, a federal judge concluded that the 2014 armed conflict between Israel and Hamas disrupted its film production activities involved both “war” and  “warlike action,” and therefore that coverage for the Universal Cable Production for the costs it incurred as a result of the conflict was precluded under the company’s insurance policy. The case raises a number of interesting issues that are likely to recur in our current unstable and violent world. Northern District of California Judge Percy Anderson’s October 6, 2017 decision in the Universal Cable case can be found here. Continue Reading

D&O Insurance Coverage and the Rise of Appraisal Litigation

As I have detailed on this blog (most recently here), due to two Delaware court decisions — the Delaware Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Corwin v. KKR Financial Holdings LLC  (here) and the Delaware Chancery Court’s January 2016 court decision in the In re Trulia Shareholder litigation (here)—deal litigation that in the past would have been filed in Delaware is now being filed elsewhere. But while the deal litigation in Delaware generally may be declining, in recent years there has been a significant uptick in Delaware appraisal litigation. As these cases have become more common in recent years, the question of whether or not D&O insurance covers the costs companies incur in defending appraisal actions has become increasingly common as well. Indeed, in the October 11, 2017 Advisen Quarterly D&O Claims Trends Webinar (refer here), the question of D&O insurance coverage for appraisal claim-related defense expenses was a key topic of conversation. In the following post, I review the issues involved in the question of whether or not a D&O insurance covers the costs defendants incur in defending appraisal claims. Continue Reading

Supreme Court Docket: Is the Leidos Case a “Nothing Burger”?

In a post earlier this month, I summarized the three securities law cases that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear its current term. Among the three cases on the Court’s docket is Leidos, Inc. v. Indiana Public Retirement System. As discussed in greater detail here, in Leidos, the Court will address the question whether or not the alleged failure to make a disclosure required by Item 303 of Reg. S-K is an actionable omission under Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5. In an interesting September 26, 2017 article entitled “Ask Me No Questions and I Will Tell You No Lies: The Insignificance of Leidos Before the United States Supreme Court” (here), Stanford Law Professor Joseph Grundfest argues that the Leidos case is “not a big deal” and is a “nothing-burger,” because, he contends, regardless of which way the Court comes out in the case, the outcome will make little practical difference. Continue Reading

Addressing the Use of Confidential Witnesses in Securities Litigation

As a result of the PSLRA’s heightened pleading standard and pre-dismissal motion discovery bar, as well as the requirements of cases such as Tellabs, plaintiffs in liability suits under the federal securities laws frequently rely on confidential witnesses. This practice has led to  the “confidential witness problem” in securities litigation. In a September 25, 2017 post on The CLS Blue Sky Blog entitled “Confidential Distortion: Dealing with Confidential Witnesses in Securities Litigation” (here), Columbia Law School Professor John Coffee takes a look at the problems that have arisen in connection with confidential witness practices and the ways court have tried to deal with the problems. He then explores some possible “best practices” for courts and parties to use to try to avoid the problems, which I discuss below. Continue Reading

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