As I noted in posts earlier this month (here and here), even though the COVID pandemic is about to enter its fourth year, COVID-related securities suits continue to be filed. The latest example is the securities class action lawsuit complaint filed late last week against pharmaceutical delivery device firm Catalent, a firm whose revenues soared at the in the early stages of the pandemic but whose fortunes lagged as the pandemic progressed. A copy of the February 24, 2023 complaint against the company can be found here.

Continue Reading Pharmaceutical Delivery Device Firm Hit with COVID-Related Securities Suit

It is frequently the case that my posts on this site occasion so little commentary that I often wonder whether anyone is reading them at all. Every now and then, though, one of my posts seems to stir things up a little bit. That was clearly the case with respect to a recent post in which I commented about the bump-up exclusion – the post has provoked quite a bit of conversation. In light of subsequent discussions I have had about the post, it appears that I should revisit some of the issues discussed in the post. For starters, I have revised parts of the prior post to take into account some of the observations about the post that have been made to me. In addition, I also note the following.

Continue Reading More Thoughts About the Bump Up Exclusion

As I noted in my recent year-end round up of the top D&O stories of 2022, one of the important trends last year was the volume of SPAC-related D&O litigation. Now, in what is the first SPAC-related securities suit of 2023, a plaintiff shareholder has launched a SPAC-related securities suit against satellite company Terran Orbital, related to the company’s March 2022 merger with a publicly-traded SPAC. Although the new lawsuit reflects the ongoing trend of SPAC-related lawsuit filings, the new lawsuit also has some unusual features, as discussed below. The February 17, 2023, complaint in the lawsuit can be found here.

Continue Reading First SPAC-Related Securities Suit Filing of 2023

Through reforms enacted in the PSLRA, Congress intended for lead plaintiffs and courts to exercise some control over the plaintiffs’ law firms that pursue securities class action lawsuits. The securities laws also require courts to determine the amount of plaintiffs’ counsel’s fee awards. Yet, as the authors of recent academic paper suggest, the lead plaintiffs and the courts often lack the tools they need to execute these functions.

To try to derive the kinds of information that would allow lead plaintiffs and courts to fulfill their intended roles, the authors reviewed case records of thousands of cases, as a way to identify important indica of law firm performance as well as to extract detailed information about the fee awards. With the benefit of this information, the authors — Professor Stephen Choi of the New York University Law School, Professor Jessica Erickson of the University of Richmond Law School, and Professor Adam Pritchard of the University of Michigan Law School – suggest a variety of ways that lead plaintiffs and courts can better serve their intended functions under the PSLRA. The authors’ February 2023 paper, entitled “The Business of Securities Class Action Lawyering,” can be found here.

Continue Reading The Plaintiffs’ Law Firms’ Securities Litigation Business

In yet another Delaware court D&O insurance coverage decision that is sure to set the D&O insurance industry spinning, a Delaware Superior Court Judge has held that a SPAC’s post-merger runoff policy provides coverage for the defense fees of former directors of the pre-Merger target company for alleged Wrongful Acts that the occurred prior to the merger – even though the former directors were not directors or officers of the SPAC at the time they allegedly committed the alleged Wrongful Acts. The court’s ruling could even further complicate the already fraught process of placing and structuring D&O insurance in the De-SPAC context. A copy of the Court’s February 6, 2023 opinion can be found here. (Please note that I have linked to the copy of the opinion on the Court’s website; the website copy to which I linked says that the opinion was filed under seal, but the seal reportedly was lifted by the court on February 16, 2023.)

Continue Reading Delaware Court: Pre-Merger Target Company Execs Are Insured Persons Under SPAC’S Post-Merger Tail Policy

In a development with interesting implications, the video gaming company Activision Blizzard has agreed to pay $35 million to settle an SEC enforcement action based on allegations that the company lacked controls and procedures to ensure that disclosures about the company’s workforce were adequate. The SEC’s allegations also pertained to alleged whistleblower violations at the company. The enforcement action, underscores the agency’s willingness to use its authority, as one law firm memo put it, to transform workplace misconduct allegations into securities law violations. The SEC’s February 3, 2023, Press Release about the settlement can be found here. The SEC’s Order relating to the allegations can be found here.

Continue Reading SEC’s Brings an “S”-Related ESG Enforcement Action Based on Alleged Human Capital Control Violations

The D&O Diary was on assignment this week at the PLUS D&O Symposium. As reflected the accompanying picture of Times Square, the weather in New York was uncharacteristically sunny and warm for this time of year. The Symposium itself was also superlative; the event was surprisingly well-attended and the sessions were great. My congratulations to the event co-chairs, and to the PLUS staff and volunteer leadership for another successful event.

Continue Reading PLUS D&O Symposium in New York
Jeff Lubitz
Jarett Sena

In the following guest post, Jeff Lubitz, Managing Director, ISS Securities Class Action Services, and Jarett Sena, Director of Litigation Analysis, ISS Securities Class Action Services, take a look at the recent jury verdict in the securities class action lawsuit investors filed against Tesla CEO Elon Musk about his infamous “take private” tweet. I would like to thank Jeff and Jarett 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 Jeff and Jarett’s guest post.

Continue Reading Guest Post: Musk & Tesla Win Rare Securities Class Action Trial

In the following guest post, Brian Baney, Senior Vice President, Head of Management and Professional Liability Claims, Ascot Group, Peter Trochev, Senior Vice President, Financial Institutions, Ascot Group, Elan Kandel, Member, Bailey Cavalieri LLC and James Talbert, Associate, Bailey Cavalieri LLC, survey the current risk environment for private equity firms. 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 author’s article.

Continue Reading Guest Post: The State of Private Equity in 2023: Is a Maelstrom on the Horizon?  

In what it calls the “world’s first” of its type, the environmental advocacy group ClientEarth has filed a shareholder derivative action against the board of Shell plc, claiming that the company’s directors have failed to take sufficient steps to protect the company from the future impacts of climate change. The action seeks to compel the board to “strengthen its climate transition plans, in the best interests of the company in the long term.” A copy of ClientEarth’s February 9, 2023 press release about the new lawsuit can be found here. The group’s statement of FAQ’s can be found here.

Continue Reading Advocacy Group Sues Shell’s Board for Insufficient Climate Change Action