As I have detailed in a series of post on this blog (most recently here), over the last year plaintiffs’ lawyers have filed nearly 30 COVID-19-related securities class action lawsuits. While the plaintiffs’ lawyers’ have been quick to file these cases, it remains to be seen how the claims will fare. Indeed, in January, in the first case to reach initial pleading hurdles, the Court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss (as discussed here). However, in a more recent ruling one of the first of the COVID-19-related securities suits to be filed, the Court has denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss in significant part. The February 16, 2021 opinion of Eastern District of Pennsylvania Judge Gerald J. Pappert in the securities lawsuit pending against Inovio Pharmaceuticals can be found here.
Continue Reading Dismissal Motion Largely Denied in COVID-19-Related Securities Suit Against Vaccine Company

It has been nearly a year since the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. first led to widespread closures and disruptions. Throughout that time, plaintiffs’ lawyers have continued to file securities class actions and other claims against companies affected by the pandemic. On February 12, 2021, in the latest of these COVID-19-related securities lawsuits, a plaintiff shareholder filed a securities class action lawsuit against the biotechnology firm bluebird bio alleging that the company misrepresented the pandemic’s foreseeable impact on the company’s FDA application plans. A copy of the complaint can be found here.
Continue Reading Biotech Firm Hit With COVID-19-Related Securities Suit

In the latest sign that COVID-19 related securities litigation is on track to continue into 2021, a plaintiff shareholder has filed a securities class action lawsuit against Tyson Foods, Inc. relating to the company’s disclosures and actions in its facilities pertaining to the coronavirus outbreak. The plaintiff’s February 2, 2021 complaint can be found here. As noted below, I have some concerns about the complaint.
Continue Reading Tyson Foods Hit with COVID-19-Related Securities Suit

In the latest sign that coronavirus-related securities class action lawsuit filings will continue into the New Year, on January 20, 2021, a plaintiff shareholder filed a COVID-19-related securities suit against the Chinese Internet social media company Lizhi, Inc. The lawsuit relates to the coronavirus outbreak now more than a year ago in China, and to the company’s January 2020 U.S. IPO. A copy of the plaintiff’s complaint can be found here.
Continue Reading Chinese Social Media Company Hit with Coronavirus-Related Securities Suit

The directors’ and officers’ liability environment is always changing, but 2020 was a particularly eventful year, with important consequences for the D&O insurance marketplace. The past year’s many developments also have significant implications for what may lie ahead in 2021 – and possibly for years to come.  I have set out below the Top Ten D&O Stories of 2020, with a focus on the future implications. Please note that on Wednesday, January 13, 2021 at 11:00 AM EST, my colleague Marissa Streckfus and I will be conducting a free, hour-long webinar in which we will discuss The Top Ten D&O Stories of 2020. Registration for the webinar can be found here. I hope you will please join us for the webinar.
Continue Reading The Top Ten D&O Stories of 2020

In the latest coronavirus outbreak-related securities suit, a Canadian diagnostic medical testing company that hoped to obtain emergency regulatory authorization for its rapid COVID-19 antigen test has been hit with a securities class action lawsuit after the company failed to obtain the regulatory approvals. A copy of the plaintiff’s complaint, filed on December 17, 2020 in the Central District of California, can be found here. In addition, as discussed below, this past week, the SEC separately filed a coronavirus-related enforcement action against a biotechnology company that touted its ability to provide a blood-based diagnostic test for the coronavirus.
Continue Reading Canadian Testing Company Hit with COVID-19-Related Securities Suit

On December 4, 2020, in what is according to the SEC its first proceeding charging an issuer for misleading investors about the financial effects of the pandemic on company finances and operations, the SEC entered into a settled Cease and Desist Order with The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated based on the agency’s determinations that the company’s late March and early April statements that it was “operating sustainably” were, without further information, misleading to investors.  The SEC’s December 4, 2020 Cease-and-Desist Order can be found  here, and the agency’s December 4, 2020 press release about the Order can be found here.
Continue Reading SEC Charges Cheesecake Factory Over Misleading COVID-Related Disclosures

Technology-based education firm K12, Inc., which hoped to be able to profit from the pandemic-related shift to virtual learning , has been hit with a securities class action lawsuit alleging that the company’s share price declined after school systems using its platform to address their online learning needs allegedly experienced disappointing results. A copy of the shareholder plaintiff’s November 19, 2020 complaint can be found here.
Continue Reading Online Learning Firm Hit with COVID-19-Related Securities Suit

Readers of this blog well know that in recent years there has been unprecedented levels of securities class action litigation activity, and that even in the midst of the current global health crisis plaintiffs’ lawyers have filed what one law firm has characterized as a “wave” of COVID-19-related securities litigation. The heightened pace of securities filings over the last several years has already triggered calls for another round of securities litigation reform. Now, organizations representing business interests have filed a petition with the SEC seeking to have the agency implement a number of reforms to protect businesses from “unjustified COVID-19 lawsuits.”
Continue Reading Petition to SEC Seeks Protection for Companies from Pandemic-Related Securities Suits

Fines and other recoveries in SEC enforcement action hit record levels during the agency’s fiscal year ended September 30, 2020, even as pandemic-related work closures dampened the number of enforcement actions the agency was able to file, according to the SEC Enforcement Division’s annual report released Monday. The SEC scored a record total of $4.6 billion in recoveries, largely as a result of big fines and disgorgements in a few large matters, while the 405 new standalone enforcement actions the agency filed was the lowest number in six years. The Enforcement Division’s annual report can be found here. The agency’s November 2, 2020 press release about the report can be found here.
Continue Reading Despite COVID-19 Disruptions, SEC Recoveries at Record Levels in FY 2020