class action litigation

John Reed Stark

As discussed in the following guest post from John Reed Stark, a recent development in the class action litigation arising out of the massive Marriott International data breach could have significant ramifications for other claimants asserting class action claims — including securities class action claims — based on data breaches or other cybersecurity incidents. Stark is President of John Reed Stark Consulting and former Chief of the SEC’s Office of Internet Enforcement. A version of this article originally appeared on Securities Docket. I would like to thank John for allowing me to publish his 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 John’s article.
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One of the most interesting and significant developments in the corporate and securities litigation arena has been the rise of collective investor litigation outside the United States, as I have discussed in prior posts. This rising tide of litigation has not only included increased numbers of legal actions in a number of different jurisdictions but also has included several substantial settlements, including among others the massive settlements in the Fortis case and in the RBS case. In an updated report July 2019 report entitled “Global Securities Litigation Trends: July 2019 Update” (here), the Dechert law firm takes a detailed look at the “sea change” that has taken place in collective investor litigation in recent years, as a result of which, according to the report, we have entered “a new era of global securities litigation.”
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us capitolIn the early days of the Trump presidency, the new administration has made it clear that it is going to tackle perceived regulatory excess. The new President has also made it clear that he intends to reform the Dodd-Frank Act. In keeping with these initiatives, a Republican congressman has now introduced a legislative proposal to reform class action litigation. According to his February 10, 2017 press release (here), Rep. Rob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act (H.R. 985) to “keep baseless class action suits away from innocent parties, while still keeping the doors to justice open for parties with real and legitimate claims.” The Bill, which is a grab bag of proposed procedural reforms clearly intended make class action litigation more difficult, addresses a host of concerns and includes some surprising features, including, among other things, a provision that would address third party litigation funding.
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france1On October 1, 2014, new statutory provisions went into effect in France allowing consumers the means to seek and obtain relief on a class–wide basis. Though these provisions have been in force for over two years now, the use of the class action mechanism has not really caught on. Because the class action procedures have not yet been widely taken up, there have already been at least two revisions of the original provisions adopted that expanded the scope of the original class action model, and further revisions seem likely. In a November 17, 2016 memo entitled “The Implications of the Expanded Scope of the French Class Action System on Potential Liability and Insurance Coverage for Companies Domiciled in and Doing Business in France” (here), Kevin Dreher and Laura Ferry of the Reed Smith law firm take a look at the modified French class action mechanism and examine the mechanism’s implications for companies doing business in France.
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Europe-Countries-MapIn numerous recent posts, I have noted the global rise of investor collective actions (refer for example here). These lawsuits, which take a variety of different forms according to the applicable forum laws, have been filed in a number of different countries. Among other regions that have seen a recent rise in this type of litigation is Europe. In an interesting November 16, 2016 publication entitled “Rise of European Shareholder Class Action? (here), AIG Europe takes a look at the recent rise of collective investor actions, noting among other things that these types of actions are “on the rise in Europe” as a result of “a number of converging factors.”
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ada
Americans with Disabilities Act

In a prior post, I noted concerns over lawsuits filed under the American Disabilities Act (ADA) relating to website accessibility. I noted at the time that a court holding that a website violated the ADA’s public accommodation accessibility requirement likely would lead to an increase in litigation involving website accessibility. As I suspected might happen, this increase has now materialized. Indeed, according to a September 29, 2016 post on the ADA Title III News and Insights blog (here), website accessibility lawsuits “have become big business” for a number of plaintiffs’ law firms.
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uschamberLitigation Funding is an increasingly important part of the current litigation scene, but it remains controversial. One of the important issues under debate is the question of whether or not litigation funding arrangements must be disclosed. In a recent discovery-related ruling (here), Northern District of California Judge Susan Illston confronted this question of whether or not a class action plaintiff must disclose third-party litigation funding contracts. As discussed below in the following guest post from Lisa Rickard, the President of U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, takes a look at Judge Illston’s decisions and examines its relevance in the ongoing debate regarding litigation funding. I would like to thank Lisa for her willingness to publish her article as a guest post on my site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this site’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit and article. Here is Lisa’s guest post.
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scalia
Antonin Scalia

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death on Saturday has already triggered concerns about the possible outcome of the numerous important cases now pending before the Court, and has further agitated an already tumultuous Presidential election campaign. The furious debate that is already well underway about the nomination of Justice Scalia’s successor could be one of the key issues in the current campaign, and perhaps beyond. While these controversies are likely to continue and to dominate the headlines for some time to come, a different process will also be taking place, and also will likely continue for some time – that is, the debate over Justice Scalia’s legacy.
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increasingOn the panel in which I participated during last week’s PLUS D&O Symposium, one of the important topics we discussed was the question of coverage under a D&O insurance policy for claims under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, a topic about which I have previously written on this blog. That a once-obscure statute like the TCPA has become an important topic of conversation is no accident. The fact is that the number of TCPA actions filed has absolutely exploded, as detailed in a recent study published by the Institute for Legal Reform, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
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spain1The filing of securities class action lawsuits is, of course, well-established in the United States, and in recent years has become a regular phenomenon in Australia and Canada as well. In the wake of various recent scandals, numerous group or mass investor actions, if not full-blown class actions, have been filed or will be filed in a number of other countries, including the U.K. (for example, in connection with the Tesco accounting scandal), Germany (in connection with the VW emissions scandal), Japan (in connection with the Toshiba scandal), Italy (in connection with the Saipem scandal), and possibly Brazil (in connection with various companies’ involvement in the Petrobras scandal).

Now it appears that investors in the troubled Spanish banking company Bankia have initiated a class action lawsuit against the company. According to news reports (here), counsel for 660 individual investors has filed an action in a Madrid court seeking to have the individuals compensated for their investment losses in connection with the company’s 2011 stock flotation. The investors collectively seek recovery of 6.3 million euros (about $7 million).
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