April in Zurich

In the Zurich Aldstadt, along the Limmat River

The D&O Diary’s European assignment continued this week with a stop in Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city and one of the world’s leading financial centers, for meetings and an event there. I was fortunate that the beautiful weather I enjoyed in Lucerne followed me to Zurich. Even though I had many meetings scheduled throughout my time in Zurich, I still did have a little bit of a chance to enjoy the city, as shown in the pictures below. Continue Reading

Guest Post: Six Avoidable Problems Directors Can Have With Their D&O Insurance

Paul Ferrillo

In the following guest post, Paul Ferrillo,  a partner in the law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP in New York City, takes a look a six recurring problems that directors can have with their D&O insurance and how to avoid them. I would like to thank Paul 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 blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit an article. Here is Paul’s article. Continue Reading

Springtime in Lucerne

Mt. Pilatus, above Lake Lucerne

The D&O Diary is on assignment in Europe this week, with a first stop in the Swiss city of Lucerne (or Luzern as it is known to the locals). I had meetings there on Thursday and Friday and then I was fortunate to spend the weekend there as well. I say “fortunate” because the weather over the weekend was dead-solid perfect. Continue Reading

SEC Awards Two Whistleblowers $50 Million, Including Third Largest Ever Individual Award

On March 26, 2019, the SEC announced that it was awarding two whistleblowers a total of $50 million for providing the agency with information that led to a successful enforcement action. The two awards consisted of an award to one individual of $13 million and an award to a second individual of $37million. The $37 million award is the third largest award in the history of the SEC’s whistleblower program. The SEC’s March 26, 2019 press release announcing the awards can be found here. The SEC’s whistleblower award order can be found here. Continue Reading

Supreme Court: Even One Who Did Not “Make” a False Statement May Still be Subject to Scheme Liability

In its 2011 decision in the Janus Group case, the U.S. Supreme Court held that one who does not “make” a false statement cannot be held liable under section (b) of Rule 10b-5. In an enforcement action brought against him by the SEC, the defendant, Francis Lorenzo, argued that under the Janus case, he could not be held liable under the securities laws for forwarding a misleading email his boss had written because he did not “make” the false statement. The case ultimately made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. On March 27, 2019, the Court found that even if Lorenzo could not be held liable under section (b) of the Rule because he did not “make” the statement, he could still be held liable under the scheme liability provisions in sections (a) and (c) of the Rule for disseminating the  document. The Court’s March 27, 2019 opinion in Lorenzo v. Securities and Exchange Commission can be found here. Continue Reading

Cornerstone Research: Securities Suit Settlement Size Increased in 2018

Aggregate, average, and median securities class action lawsuit settlement amounts all rose in 2018, according to the latest report from Cornerstone Research. The 2018 total settlement amount of just over $5 billion dollars is substantially higher than the prior year total and in fact is the third-highest total in the past 10 years. The $5 billion total was driven by a small number of very large settlements. The Cornerstone Research report, which is entitled “Securities Class Action Settlements: 2018 Review and Analysis” can be found here. Cornerstone Research’s March 26, 2019 press release regarding the report can be found here. Continue Reading

Guest Post: Claims Against Directors for Failure to Insure Against Cyber Risk Are More Likely Now

Francis Kean

In the following guest post, Francis Kean, Executive Director FINEX Willis Towers Watson, take a look at an interesting and arguably surprising recent U.K. judicial decision in which a supermarket chain was held liable for the unauthorized Internet disclosure of its employees’ personal data. Francis has some interesting observations about the decision’s possible implications as well. A version of this article previously was published on the Willis Towers Watson Wire blog (here). I would like to thank Francis for allowing me to publish his article as a guest post. 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 Francis’s article: Continue Reading

The Deteriorating D&O Insurance Environment for Foreign U.S.-Listed Companies

For many years, U.S.-listed companies based outside the U.S. have enjoyed a relatively advantageous pricing environment for their D&O insurance. Because many D&O insurance underwriters based outside the U.S. used a different pricing model than their U.S. counterparts, pricing for these foreign filers was in many instances lower than the pricing available to equivalent U.S.-based companies. In recent months, however, as a result of surging claims frequency and loss costs, foreign filers’ D&O insurance costs have jumped significantly. These developments and the claims-related factors causing the changes are detailed in an interesting March 20, 2019 article by Jane Njavro of Woodruff Sawyer entitled “Why D&O Costs Are Soaring for Foreign Filers” (here). The article includes detailed statistical analysis of the relevant U.S. securities class action litigation trends. Continue Reading

Russian Telecom Company Hit with FCPA-Related Securities Suit

There is no private right of action under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. However, regulatory enforcement actions under the FCPA by U.S. government authorities can and often does result in massive fines and penalties. When companies subject to FCPA enforcement are compelled to pay these penalties they often then hit with follow-on civil lawsuits arising out of or based on the anti-corruption enforcement action. In the most recent example of this anti-corruption enforcement and follow-on civil litigation sequence, earlier this week a plaintiff shareholder filed a securities class action lawsuit filed against a U.S.-listed Russian telecom company that was the subject of both criminal and civil FCPA enforcement actions that recently resulted in the company’s agreement to pay substantial fines and penalties. Continue Reading

Proposed Nevada Legislation Introduces Fee-Shifting in Shareholder Litigation

A short time ago, a storm of controversy briefly emerged after a Delaware court endorsed a firm’s adoption of a fee-shifting bylaw. The controversy quieted down after the Delaware legislature adopted a statutory provision prohibiting fee-shifting bylaws. The fee-shifting provision controversy could be back, albeit this time in a different state. A Nevada legislator has introduced a bill in the state senate that would explicitly allow Nevada corporations to adopt  provisions requiring fee-shifting in unsuccessful M&A litigation, as long as the deals were approved by a shareholder majority. University of Nevada Las Vegas Law School Professor Benjamin Edwards describes the legislation in a March 18, 2019 post on the Business Law Prof Blog (here). Continue Reading

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