Every year after Labor Day, I take a step back and survey the most important current trends and developments in the world of Directors’ and Officers’ liability and insurance. This year’s review is set out below. As the following discussion shows, this is a particularly eventful time in the world of D&O. Continue Reading What to Watch Now in the World of D&O

Starting last summer and through the early part of this year, plaintiffs’ lawyers filed several shareholder derivative lawsuits against the boards of a number of companies alleging that the directors had breached their fiduciary duties by failing to include African American individuals on their boards. As I have detailed in previous posts (most recently here), these suits have not fared well, as courts have granted the motions to dismiss each of the cases in which courts have ruled on dismissal motions. In the past week, the courts in two more of these cases – involving the boards of NortonLifeLock and OPKO Health – granted the defendants’ motions to dismiss. The August 30, 2021 order in the NortonLifeLock case can be found here and the September 1, 2021 order in the OPKO Health case can be found here. Continue Reading Two More Board Diversity Lawsuits Dismissed

Peter Selvin

In the following guest post, Peter Selvin discussed the Fifth Circuit’s July 21, 2021 decision in Landry’s Incorporated v. The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania (here), which considered the question of coverage under a commercial general liability policy of damages from a data breach caused by a third-party hacker. Selvin is a partner with Los Angeles-based Ervin Cohen & Jessup. A version of this article previously was published in the LA Daily Journal. I would like to thank Peter for allowing me to publish his article on my 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 Peter’s article. Continue Reading Guest Post: CGL Coverage for Data Breaches: New Developments

In numerous prior posts, I have noted the problems and inefficiencies that the U.S. Supreme Court’s March 2018 Cyan decision have wrought, such as, for example, the possibility of multiplied parallel litigation (discussed here). There are a host of other issues as well, such as the absence in state court of procedural protections available in federal court; the prevalence in state court of weaker suits; and the pressure that multiple suits puts on defendants to settle, as discussed here. These and other concerns arising from Cyan have led the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) to issue a new paper entitled “Courting Confusion: Federal Securities Class Actions Don’t Belong in State Courts,” in which the ILR calls for Congress to “close the loophole” by requiring that all 1933 Act claims must be brought in federal court and authorizing the removal to federal court of ’33 Act liability actions filed in state court. The ILR’s August 30, 2021 press release, to which the paper is attached, can be found here. Continue Reading Institute for Legal Reform: Congress Should Enact Reforms to Address Cyan

In the latest SPAC-related securities class action lawsuit filing, a plaintiff shareholder has filed a class action lawsuit against Katapult Holdings, an ecommerce firm providing online financing and product purchase options for non-prime consumers. The defendants named in the complaint include two former officers of the SPAC with which Katapult merged in June 2021. A copy of the August 27, 2021 complaint can be found here. Continue Reading eCommerce Firm Hit with SPAC-Related Securities Suit

As I noted in prior posts (here and here), in the last few days a group of plaintiffs’ lawyers that includes former SEC Commissioner Robert Jackson and Yale Law Professor John Morley filed shareholder derivative suits against the boards of three SPACs alleging that the SPACs had improperly failed to register as investment companies under the Investment Company Act of 1940. In response, a group of 49 corporate law firms has now issued a joint statement decrying the lawsuits and trashing the plaintiffs’ arguments that SPACs are investment companies merely because the SPACs invest their IPO proceeds in trust accounts while seeking a merger partner. The corporate law firms’ joint statement sheds interesting light on the legal theories asserted in the new lawsuits. A copy of the August 27, 2021 joint statement can be found here. Continue Reading 49 Corporate Law Firms Trash SPACs-Are-Investment-Companies Lawsuits

The Tower of Babel by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

The purpose of this post is to announce a new feature I will be introducing to this site in September. The reason I am announcing the new feature in advance is to try to make the intention of the new feature clear from the outset, and also to let readers know that the new feature – which I am calling “Sunday Arts” – is open to all for readers’ own contributions, as I explain below. Continue Reading Coming Soon: Sunday Arts

When companies are hit with cybersecurity incidents, class action privacy litigation often follows. However, claimants in these kinds of cases face a threshold challenge of showing they have suffered a sufficient “injury in fact” to establish that they have standing to assert their claims. The following guest post, written by Paul Ferrillo, Kristine Argentine, Emily Dorner, and Alexandra Drury of the Seyfarth Shaw law firm, provides a survey of the current state of play for the standing requirements in this type of litigation. 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’ article.  Continue Reading Guest Post: First There was Litigation; And Then There Was Standing

There were more U.S. bankruptcy filings in 2020 than in any year since the global financial crisis, but the number of bankruptcy filings in the first half of 2021 returned closer to historical levels, according to a new report from Cornerstone Research. The report, entitled “Trends in Large Corporate Bankruptcy and Financial Distress: Midyear 2021 Update,” looks at bankruptcy filings involving private and public companies with assets over $100 million. The report can be found here, and Cornerstone Research’s August 25, 2021 press release about the report can be found here. Continue Reading Cornerstone Research: Bankruptcy Filings Returned Closer to Historic Levels in 1H21

Last week, when a group of plaintiffs’ attorneys filed a shareholder’s derivative suit against Bill Ackman’s SPAC seeking damages and alleging the company was really an Investment Company that should be registered under the Investment Company Act, I assumed the attorneys filed the suit because it was Ackman’s firm; because of the size and prominence of the SPAC; and because of Ackman’s unusual plan to invest the SPAC’s IPO proceeds in a minority interest. Well, it turns out, the plaintiffs’ lawyers involved were just getting started. They have now filed two more shareholders derivative suits against two other SPACs’ boards and sponsors, based on the same theory as in the Ackman SPAC suit that the SPACs involved are really Investment Companies that should be registered under the Investment Company Act. Looks like these SPACs-are-Investment-Companies suits are a thing now, and this could all get very interesting. Continue Reading More SPACs-Are-Really-Investment-Companies Derivative Suits Filed