In business meetings during my recent European visit, one topic that came up is the widespread liability risks arising out of the opioid crisis. One particular question I was asked was whether, in addition to everything else, the opioid crisis presented D&O risks. I was quick to refer to the various U.S. securities class action claims that have arisen (about which refer here) and to assure my hosts that there were indeed many other opioid-related D&O claims as well. Among the other opioid-related D&O claims is the shareholder derivative action that was filed against the board of McKesson Corp. As it turns out, the McKesson derivative suit recently settled, for an agreement to pay $175 million. As discussed below, this settlement, which is subject to court approval, and which is one of the largest derivative settlements ever, is to be funded entirely by D&O insurance. Continue Reading McKesson Opioid-Related Derivative Suit Settles for $175 Million

In the following guest post, Alison Finn, Claims Counsel, DWF Claims; Elan Kandel, Member, Bailey Cavalieri; and James Talbert, Associate, Bailey Cavalieri, take a look at the most important management and professional liability coverage decisions for 2019, involving the perennial coverage issues for insurers and policyholders. I would like to thank Alison, Elan, and James 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: Key 2019 Management and Professional Liability Insurance Coverage Decisions

Eric C. Scheiner
Jennifer Quinn Broda

The long-standing and traditional view is that corporations’ objectives should be to maximize shareholder value. More recently, a variety of commentators and observers have argued that corporations have larger social responsibilities. However, as discussed in the following guest post from Eric C. Scheiner and Jennifer Quinn Broda, efforts by companies to fulfil corporate social responsibilities may involve their own risks and even result in D&O claims. By the same token, failing to take action could result in claims as well. These trends have important implications for insurers and for policyholders alike. Eric is a Partner and Jennifer is Of Counsel in the Chicago office of Kennedys. I would like to thank Eric and Jennifer 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 Eric’s and Jennifer’s article. Continue Reading Guest Post: Potential D&O Risks Arising from Corporate Social Responsibility

In the course of my various foreign travels, I have had occasion to speak to many underwriters and brokers who place D&O insurance for non-U.S. companies whose American Depository Receipts (ADRs) trade in the U.S. There is a pervasive, inexplicable, and mistaken belief among some underwriters and brokers that companies whose Level I ADRs trade in the U.S cannot be subject to a U.S. securities suit. These individuals persist in this error despite the Toshiba case, in which the Ninth Circuit reversed a district court’s dismissal of the securities suit brought by investors in Toshiba’s unsponsored Level I ADRs. Because of the persistence of the error about the potential liability of companies with ADRs trading in the U.S., it is mandatory for every single underwriter or broker who places D&O insurance for a non-U.S. ADR company to read the latest court ruling in the Toshiba case. As discussed below, the U.S. securities lawsuit brought against Toshiba brought by purchasers of the company’s unsponsored Level I ADRs is going forward.  Continue Reading U.S. Securities Suit of Toshiba’s Unsponsored ADR Investors to Proceed – Including Even Their Japanese Law Claims

Before the ice age, before the flood, before some of the people reading this were even born, the big D&O insurance coverage issue was allocation – that is, the division of loss between covered and non-covered claims or between covered and non-covered parties. After a flurry of judicial decisions in the mid-‘90s, after the addition of entity coverage to the standard D&O insurance policy (also in the mid-‘90s), and after policy allocation language became more or less standardized, litigated allocation disputes became much less frequent. Indeed, the last time I had occasion to write about an allocation coverage decision on this blog was in 2007. (Although, to be sure, allocation is still very much an issue in many D&O insurance claims.) It was with some surprise and interest that I read a recent Delaware Superior Court decision in the long-running Dole Foods insurance coverage dispute dealing with the question of allocating the underlying settlements between covered and non-covered amounts. The decision itself contains some surprises, as discussed below. Continue Reading Delaware Court Rules “Larger Settlement Rule” Governs D&O Insurance Allocation

As I have been wrapping up my various year-end activities, including publishing a list of my own top ten 2019 travel pictures, I have also been publishing pictures that readers have submitted of their own 2019 travels. My first installment of readers’ 2019 travel pictures can be found here, and the second installment can be found here. In this post, I am publishing the latest round of readers’ travel pictures, including an interesting assortment of readers’ pictures take in various U.S. National Parks.  Continue Reading Even More Readers’ Travel Pictures

In my recent year-end summary of corporate and securities liability trends (here), I identified privacy as an important area of growing area of corporate risk and specifically mentioned biometric privacy issues of particular concern. Almost as if to prove my point, on January 29, 2020, in its SEC filing on Form 10-K, Facebook announced that it had agreed to pay $550 million dollars to settle a biometric data privacy class action lawsuit that had been filed on behalf Illinois users in connection with the company’s use of facial recognition software.  According to plaintiffs’ lawyers involved in the case, the settlement represents the largest-ever cash settlement to resolve a privacy-related lawsuit. This massive settlement shows the significance of privacy issues and underscores the likelihood that privacy issues – particularly biometric privacy issues – are likely to be an important corporate liability battleground concern. Continue Reading Facebook to Pay $550 Million in Largest-Ever Privacy Settlement

If you have not yet seen it, you will want to be sure to read the January 29, 2020 Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance post entitled “Challenging Times: The Hardening D&O Insurance Market” by Carl Metzger and Brian Mukherjee of the Godwin Proctor law firm (here). Continue Reading The Current D&O Insurance Market Turmoil: Causes, Effects, and What to Do

Cornerstone Research has released its annual survey of securities class action lawsuit filings for 2019. The year’s version of the report introduces some notable innovations. In prior years, the annual report focused exclusively on federal court securities suit filings. In last year’s report, the survey also incorporated significant state court securities litigation data. This year for the first time the report fully incorporates the state court data in the presentation and analysis. The updated report also includes several new interesting perspectives on the past year’s securities litigation filings, particularly with respect to state court lawsuit filings. As the report details, the state court filings “helped push filing activity to record levels.” Continue Reading Cornerstone Research: Combined Federal and State Data Shows Securities Filings at “Record Levels”

One of the areas of significant concern in the global insurance underwriting community is the potential exposures insurers face from “silent cyber” – that is, the coverage of cybersecurity-related losses under traditional insurance policies that are not expressly designed to cover cyber losses. In a recent ruling in an insurance coverage dispute in which a small business sought insurance coverage for its losses following a ransomware attack, a Maryland federal court judge, applying Maryland law, held that the company’s business owner’s policy (BOP) covered the damages the company incurred.   The ruling highlights the potential coverage available for companies experiencing cyber-security losses under their traditional insurance policies. As discussed below, there are a number of interesting features to this ruling. Continue Reading Court Holds Business Owner’s Policy Covers Ransomware Caused Losses