Concurrent Jurisdiction

The Delaware Supreme Court unanimously held that corporate charter provisions requiring claims under the Securities Act of 1933 to be litigated in federal court are facially valid. These kinds of provisions were proposed after the U.S. Supreme Court’s March 2018 decision in Cyan affirming that state court’s retain concurrent jurisdiction for ’33 Act liability actions. However, in December 2018, the Delaware Chancery Court ruled that federal forum provisions are invalid and unenforceable. In its March 18, 2020 decision (here), the Delaware Supreme Court reversed the Chancery Court, holding that federal forum provisions are a valid form of “private ordering.” The ruling has important implications, which are discussed below. And as also discussed below, there is a very interesting backstory – involving key D&O insurance industry players – to this successful appeal.
Continue Reading

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s March 2018 Cyan decision, in which the Court affirmed that state court’s retain concurrent jurisdiction for liability action under the ’33 Act, plaintiffs’ lawyers have initiated a number of Section 11 actions in the courts of a number of states. This new wave of state court Securities Act lawsuits is now making its way through the courts. As the cases have progressed, in some instances the state courts have granted the defendants’ motions to dismiss. The latest example of a state court granting a defendants’ motion has now occurred in the Connecticut state court claim alleging ’33 Act violations in connection with Pitney-Bowes September 2017 debt note IPO. The Connecticut court’s October 24, 2019 order granting the defendants’ motion to strike, a copy of which can be found here, raises a number of interesting issues.
Continue Reading

Regular readers of this blog know that the statistics surrounding U.S. securities litigation in recent years are nothing short of alarming, including, for example, both record numbers of lawsuits and record percentages of listed companies sued. Severity trends are concerning as well. All of these trends are exacerbated by the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 Cyan decision, which opens companies conducting securities offerings to multiple, conflicting lawsuits in state and federal court. Given these trends, it is hardly surprising that there have been renewed calls from business groups for securities class action litigation reform. Now, Chubb, a leading global insurer, has added its voice to the calls for reform. In an interesting June 11, 2019 paper entitled “From Nuisance to Menace: The Rising Tide of Securities Class Action Litigation” (here), the company details the extent of the current securities litigation mess and sets forth a number of proposals for securities litigation reform. 
Continue Reading

In a recent post, I commented on the settlement of a state court securities class action lawsuit relating to the defendant company’s secondary offering, suggesting in the post among other things that the state court suit was noteworthy because it was the first state court secondary offering-related securities suit of which I was aware. In response to the post, I received a helpful and informative email from my friends at Stanford Securities Litigation Analytics, who pointed out that over time there actually have been quite a number of state court secondary offering-related securities suits. Following their direction, I was able to research this issue further myself using their site’s analytic tools and confirm a number of their observations to me about these kinds of lawsuits. Turns out, as they informed me, there have in fact been a number of state court secondary offering-related securities lawsuits, both pre- and post-Cyan, as set out below. This information could have significant implications both for companies conducting secondary offerings and for their D&O insurers.
Continue Reading

As I noted at the time (here), on December 19, 2018, Delaware Vice Chancellor Later held that under Delaware law, a corporate charter provision specifying that liability actions under Section 11 of the Securities Act of 1934 must be brought in federal court are invalid and ineffective. A copy of Laster’s opinion in Sciabacucchi v. Salzburg (referred to below as the Blue Apron decision) can be found here. In the following guest post, Paul Ferrillo, Robert Horowitz, and Steven Margolin of the Greenberg Traurig law firm take a look at the Blue Apron decision and examine whether or not Congress will act to eliminate concurrent state court jurisdiction for state court claims. The authors also examine the steps companies should take now in light of the possibility of facing litigation in both state and federal court. I would like to thank the authors for their willingness to allow me to publish their article as a guest post. 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 the authors’ article.
Continue Reading

Priya Cherian Huskins

As I noted in prior posts, in March 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court held in the Cyan case that state courts retain concurrent jurisdiction for liability actions under the Securities Act of 1933. This development has been regarded as primarily a concern for IPO companies.  However, as discussed in the attached guest from Priya Cherian Huskins of Woodruff Sawyer, the Supreme Court’s affirmation of concurrent state court jurisdiction for ’33 Act claims may also be a concern for M&A companies as well.  A version of this article was previously published in Woodruff Sawyer’s D&O Notebook. I would like to thank Priya for her willingness to allow 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 Priya’s article.


Continue Reading

When the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed in its March 2018 Cyan decision that state courts retain concurrent jurisdiction over ’33 Act liability actions, commentators suggested that plaintiffs’ lawyers would opt to pursue Section 11 claims in state court, either in preference to or in addition to parallel federal court actions. Indeed, in many lawsuits filed in the past few months involving IPO companies, plaintiffs’ lawyers have indeed resorted to state court. However, a recent decision from a Texas state court highlights the fact that  whatever advantages the plaintiffs’ lawyers may think they have by proceeding in state court, their claims will still face scrutiny – and in the specific case at issue in Texas, dismissal. As noted in a November 13, 2018 Law 360 article (here), the Texas court’s dismissal is among the first by a state court following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Cyan.
Continue Reading

As I noted at the time, on March 20, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its unanimous decision in Cyan, Inc. v. Beaver County Employees Retirement Fund, holding that state courts retain concurrent jurisdiction for liability actions under the Securities Act of 1933. In the following guest post, Doug Greene, Jessie Gabriel, Marco Molina, and Brian Song of the Baker & Hostetler law firm take a comprehensive look at the decision, including its context and significance. As the authors note, the decision has important implications for companies and their D&O insurers, as well as for claims going forward. 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

Boris Feldman
Ignacio Salceda

As I discussed in a post last week, on March 20, 2018 the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held in Cyan, Inc. v. Beaver County Employees Retirement Fund that the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act of 1998 (SLUSA) did not eliminate state courts’ concurrent jurisdiction to hear liability lawsuits alleging only violations of the Securities Act of 1933. In the following guest post, Boris Feldman and Ignacio Salceda of the Wilson Sonsini law firm review the court’s decision and consider what may be next for claimants and for companies. A version of this article previously was published on Law 360. I would like to thank Boris and Ignacio for their willingness to allow 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 Boris’s and Ignacio’s article.
Continue Reading

In a unanimous March 20, 2018 opinion written by Justice Elena Kagan, the U.S. Supreme Court held that state courts retain concurrent jurisdiction over class action lawsuits alleging only violations of the Securities Act of 1933’s liability provisions and that these state court class action lawsuits are not removable to federal court. The court’s holding resolves a lower court split in the authorities on question of whether or not the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act of 1998 (SLUSA) eliminated concurrent state court jurisdiction for these ’33 Act class action lawsuits or made the state court ’33 Act lawsuits removable to federal court.

As discussed below, Court’s ruling is likely to result in an increase in ’33 Act claims in state court, a development that could have unwelcome consequences for corporate defendants and their insurers. The Supreme Court’s March 20, 2018 decision in Cyan, Inc. v. Beaver County Employees Retirement Fund can be found here.
Continue Reading