Ranking the Plaintiffs’ Firms by 2017 Shareholder Recoveries

As I have previously noted (for example here), a number of reports have analyzed the 2017 approved securities class action lawsuit settlements in statistical and numeric terms, such as the aggregate, average, and mean settlement amounts. But what do the 2017 securities suit settlements look like when broken down according to the lead plaintiffs’ firm that negotiated the settlement? An April 4, 2018 study from ISS Securities Class Action Services entitled “The Top 50 of 2017” (here) takes a look at this issue and reports some interesting conclusions, discussed below. The organization’s April 4, 2018 press release can be found here. Continue Reading

Book Review: Governance and Risk Management in China

It is axiomatic in the current global economy that every business needs to have a China strategy. Most business enterprises are drawn to the world’s most populous country and second-largest economy. But while China represents an attractive business marketplace, it can also in many respects be a perilous place to try to do business, particularly from a regulatory and compliance standpoint. While most businesses may recognize these challenges, many may struggle to try and address the concerns. A new book entitled “Governance, Risk and Compliance Management in China” (here), which I review below, may provide substantial help to companies trying to address compliance concerns arising from doing business in China. Of particular interest to this blog’s readers, the book includes an interesting chapter on D&O insurance issues in China.   Continue Reading

Wisconsin Become First State to Mandate Disclosure of Litigation Funding Arrangements

As the use of third-party litigation funding has become more widespread, one issue that has been debated is whether or not the existence and details of a funding arrangement must be disclosed to the adversarial parties. As I have noted in prior posts, courts have struggled with the question of whether or not funding arrangements must be disclosed under existing discovery rules. A number of proposals providing for mandatory disclosure of litigation funding arrangements have been proposed. Now, Wisconsin has become the first state to adopt a provision requiring the disclosure of litigation funding arrangements. The state’s action is just the latest step in what seems to be a general move toward requiring disclosure. Continue Reading

Fintech Company Hit with Securities Suit Completed Reg. A+ Offering in December

One of the changes Congress introduced in the Jumpstart our Business Startups (JOBS) Act of 2012 was the creation of a new securities offering exemption for smaller companies. In March 2015, the SEC introduced rules implementing this provision, known as Regulation A+. The track record for Reg. A+ offerings has been mixed, as discussed further below. Recent events involving Longfin Financial, a blockchain fintech company that just completed a Reg. A+ offering in December 2017 highlights many of the questions and concerns about Reg. A+ offerings. Longfin’s share price plunged over 80% after the company announced on Monday that its offering and a subsequent acquisition are the subject of an SEC investigation. Now the company has been hit with a securities class action lawsuit. As discussed below, these recent developments have a number of implications. Continue Reading

Frequently-Filed FCPA Follow-On Securities Suits Face Formidable Obstacles

As I have often noted (for example, here), a company’s announcement that it is the subject of an FCPA-related investigation frequently leads to the filing of a follow-on civil lawsuit in which investor claimants allege either that the company’s senior officials have violated their oversight duties or that the company’s public disclosure statements were insufficient in some way relating to the alleged misconduct. As I have also noted, these kinds of follow-on lawsuits, while frequently filed, often are unsuccessful.

 

Both of these aspects of the follow-on civil lawsuit track record are relevant in connection with the wave of litigation that has followed in the wake of the massive anti-bribery investigation in Brazil. Many of the companies caught up in the continuing anti-corruption investigation in Brazil have been hit with follow-on securities suits in the U.S. While there have been noteworthy exceptions, many of these cases have been unsuccessful. Most recently, the defendants’ motion to dismiss was granted in the anti-bribery investigation-related securities class action lawsuit that had been filed against the Brazilian airplane manufacturer Embraer. Southern District of New York Richard M. Berman’s March 30, 2018 opinion granting the motion to dismiss can be found here. The decision is interesting and it highlights many of the challenges claimants face in pursuing these kinds of claims. Continue Reading

Guest Post: Cybersecurity: The SEC’s Wake-Up Call to Corporate Directors

David Fontaine

John Reed Stark

As I noted in a post at the time, on February 21, 2018, the SEC released its cybersecurity disclosure guidance for publicly traded companies. In the following guest post, David Fontaine, CEO of Kroll, Inc. and its parent, Corporate Risk Holdings, and John Reed Stark, President of John Reed Stark Consulting and former Chief of the SEC’s Office of Internet Enforcement, take a look at the SEC’s guidance, with a particular focus on what the agency’s statement has to say about the duties of corporate directors. A version of this article originally appeared on The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation (Here). I would like to thank David and John 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 David and John’s article. Continue Reading

We Need to Talk About ICOs, Cryptocurrency, and Blockchain

I am sure that when most people think about the kind of organization that might engage in an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), they typically are thinking of a start-up venture — an enterprise trying to get off the ground. But there have been some high-profile cases of well-established companies trying to jump on board the cryptocurrency bandwagon. For example, Kodak, the iconic film and photographic equipment company that has fallen on hard times in recent years, announced a plan earlier this year to launch KodakCoin, a photography-focused cryptocurrency that is supposed to help photographers manage their collections by creating permanent, immutable records of ownership. (Kodak’s later postponed the planned launch.)

 

The online retailer Overstock.com is another established company that late last year announced plans for a cryptocurrency offering. Overstock’s cryptocurrency plans were derailed earlier this month after its planned offering drew SEC scrutiny. Now, the company has been hit with a securities class action lawsuit relating to its miscarried cryptocurrency initiative, as discussed below. Though much of what happened to Overstock is company- specific, the sequence of events and the overall circumstances may have some important lessons as the cryptocurrency phenomenon evolves.    Continue Reading

Guest Post: Supreme Court Weighs Whether To Extend American Pipe Tolling

Noelle Reed

Austin Winniford

Caroline Van Zile

As I noted at the time, in December 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court granted cert in China Agritech Inc. v. Resh to take up the question of whether the prior filing of a class action lawsuit tolls statutes of limitation to permit previously absent class members to bring a subsequent class action outside the applicable limitations period. Oral argument in the case took place on Monday, October 26, 2018. In the following guest post, Noelle Reed, Austin Winniford,  and Caroline Van Zile of the Skadden Arps law firm provide their analysis of the oral argument. 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’ guest post.

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Is Shareholder Litigation in Delaware in Trouble?

In prior posts (for example here), I noted that a series of Delaware court decisions culminating in the Court of Chancery’s January 2016 opinion in the Trulia case signaled the state’s courts’ hostility to disclosure-only settlements in merger objection lawsuit, which in turn has encouraged merger objectors to file their lawsuits in other jurisdictions. The Trulia line of cases is in fact only one of several recent judicial developments in Delaware that constrain shareholder claimants. So is stockholder litigation in trouble in Delaware? In a March 22, 2018 post on the Delaware Business Litigation Report (here), Edward McNally of the Morris James law firm take a look at this question, discussing where things stand while Delaware’s courts look to find the proper balance. Continue Reading

Scrutinizing Event-Driven Securities Litigation  

The extraordinary levels of securities litigation filings during 2017 have been the subject of numerous commentaries, including on this blog. In a March 19, 2018 post on The CLS Blue Sky Blog, Columbia Law School Professor John Coffee adds his observations to the discussion about the 2017 securities suit filings. In his article, entitled “Securities Litigation in 2017: It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times” (here), Coffee’s commentary about last year’s securities suit filings is consistent with prior reports and analyses. One specific aspect of his commentary – relating to the phenomenon of event-driven securities litigation – is particularly noteworthy, as discussed below. Continue Reading

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