Among jurisdictions outside the U.S. with active securities litigation regimes, one of the most noteworthy and important is Canada. Shareholder litigation in Canadian courts and under Canadian law has been an important feature of the global investor litigation picture for several years. According to the latest annual report from NERA Economic Consulting, the number of Canadian securities class action lawsuits declined in 2022 for the second year in a row, and the number of 2022 filings was also slightly below the long-term annual average number of filings. In addition, as detailed below, the median settlement amount for settlements of Canadian securities class action lawsuits has decline in the most recent years compared to prior years. The report, which is entitled “Trends in Canadian Securities Class Actions: 2022 Update,” can be found here.
Many D&O insurance programs consist of multiple layers of insurance arranged with a layer of primary insurance and one or more layers of excess insurance. In order to ensure that the insurance in the program operates consistently and uniformly, the excess insurance is usually written on a so-called “follow form” basis, meaning that the excess insurance incorporates the primary’s policy’s terms and conditions, subject to any express provisions in the excess policy to the contrary. A recent case from the Court of Appeal for Ontario considered the meaning and impact of excess follow form coverage in the context of a dispute over whether a policyholder could exercise an option to purchase extended reported period coverage from its excess insurer. The decision, while arguable unremarkable in and of itself, nevertheless may have some important lessons for excess insurers. A copy of the Ontario Appeal Court’s July 13, 2022 decision can be found here.
Continue Reading Thinking About Follow-Form Excess Insurance
Regular readers know that a recurring topic I have explored on this site is the scope of the contractual liability exclusion found in many professional liability and management liability insurance policies. In prior posts I have argued that insurers sometimes apply the exclusion over-broadly so as to exclude matters that I believe should otherwise be covered under the policy. However, in a recent appellate ruling, in which the Ontario Court of Appeal concluded that as a result of the application of the contractual liability exclusion, a solar panel engineering company’s E&O insurer did not have a duty to defend the company in an underlying arbitration proceeding. As discussed below, I believe the appellate court’s reasoning is sound and that the case represents an example not only of when the exclusion may be applied appropriately but also of the appropriate limits of the exclusion’s reach. A copy of the Ontario court’s September 10. 2021 opinion can be found here.
Continue Reading Thinking About the Contractual Liability Exclusion
As I have detailed in prior post on this site (most recently here), in recent months plaintiffs’ lawyers have filed a number of securities class action lawsuits against companies in cannabis-related businesses. According to an April 22, 20202 report from the Goodwin Procter law firm entitled “Update on Securities Litigation Against Cannabis Companies” (here), the number of securities suits against cannabis companies jumped significantly in 2019 compared to 2018. As discussed further below, these litigation trends have continued in 2020.
Continue Reading A Closer Look at Securities Suits Against Cannabis Companies
In prior posts, I have noted the series of U.S. securities class action lawsuits that have been filed recently against publicly traded companies in the cannabis business, including several Canadian companies. In the following guest post, Samantha Wu of the Bersenas Jacobsen Chouest Thomson Blackburn law firm in Toronto provides an overview of the unique exposures that directors and officers of Canadian cannabis companies face. A version of this article previously was published on the law firm’s website (here). I would like to thank Sam for allowing me to publish her 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 Sam’s article.…
Continue Reading Guest Post: Canadian Cannabis Companies’ Directors and Officers Face Unique Exposures
One of the things that happened both in the lead up to and in the wake of the October 2018 legalization of cannabis-based products in Canada is that a number of Canada-based cannabis companies listed their shares on U.S. securities exchanges. From the outset, D&O insurers have regarded the cannabis companies as a distinct risk and as a tough class of business. Earlier on, there were relatively few claims to substantiate these concerns. However, there have now been a number of securities class action lawsuits filed against U.S.-listed Canadian companies, with the latest lawsuit filed just this week.
Continue Reading Ontario-Based Firm is Latest Canadian Cannabis Company Hit with U.S. Securities Suit
In the following guest post, Deepshikha Dutt, Douglas B.B. Stewart,of and Frank E.P. Bowman of the Dentons law firm review and analyze a recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice relating to the liabilities of directors and officers under Ontario statutory law for misrepresentations in offering statements. This article is republished here with permission from Dentons. I would like to thank Deepshikha, Douglas, and Frank for allowing me to publish their article here. 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 Deepshikha, Douglas, and Frank’s article.…
Continue Reading Guest Post: Court Dismisses Statutory Misrepresentation Claim against Credit Union Board in Landmark Decision
For those of us involved in day to day D&O insurance transactions, it is a recognized fact that cannabis-related companies represent a tough class of insurance business. Different insurers take different approaches to the business, but at best it is a risk class that most carriers approach warily. There are reasons for the caution, mostly having to do with questions relating to legality across and between jurisdictions. The question of potential claims is a little less certain, as there arguably are relatively few claims examples. However, a recent securities class action lawsuit involving a Canadian-based cannabis business may provide some insight into the kinds of claims in which these kinds of companies may become involved – at least those that are publicly traded.
Continue Reading Plaintiffs Files Cannabis-Related Securities Class Action Lawsuits
There was a time only a few short years ago when the U.S. courts were the preferred forum for the litigation of securities class actions claims, arguably even claims whose relationship to the U.S. and to U.S. laws was slight. The U.S. courts role as preferred forum for securities suits was undermined by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Morrison v. National Australia Bank, which underscored the fact that the U.S. securities laws apply only to domestic U.S. securities transactions. Since Morrison, a free-ranging inquiry has emerged to determine whether another country’s courts might emerge as the preferred forum for cross-border securities suits.
Among other countries, Canada has emerged as a candidate. However, a recent decision by Court of Appeal of Ontario examining the jurisdictional reach of Ontario’s securities laws expressly rejects the possibility that Ontario (where the bulk of Canadian securities suits are filed) “would become the default jurisdiction for issuers around the world.” The Court of Appeal’s July 11, 2018 decision in Yip v. HSBC Holdings can be found here. An August 9, 2018 memo from the Toronto-based Blake, Cassels & Graydon law firm can be found here.
Continue Reading Ontario Court Rejects “Jurisdictional Overreach” for Canadian Securities Suits
Readers undoubtedly are familiar with ISS Securities Class Action Services’ annual report on the Top 100 Securities Class Action Settlements, focusing on the largest U.S. securities lawsuit settlements. The most recent Top 100 report is discussed here. ISS Securities Class Action Services has now published a list of the largest Canadian securities class action lawsuit settlements. The Canadian report, which is entitled “The Top 25 Canadian Class Action Settlements of All-Time,” reflects a number of interesting findings, and can be found here.
Continue Reading ISS Releases List of Top 25 Canadian Securities Class Action Settlements