In a now infamous August 7, 2018 post on his Twitter account, Tesla CEO Elon Musk stated that he was “considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.” This post and several subsequent messages ultimately were the subject of an SEC enforcement proceeding (later settled) as well as several securities class action lawsuits (later consolidated). On April 15, 2020, Northern District of California Edward Chen denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss the consolidated securities lawsuit, finding that the “take private” Tweet and other messages were false and misleading. Judge Chen’s opinion is of interest because of the high-profile nature of the allegations, but also for what it says about corporate securities liability exposure for executives’ social media statements. Judge Chen’s opinion can be found here.
Continue Reading Musk’s “Take Private” Tweets Held Actionable

In my recent year-end summary of corporate and securities liability trends (here), I identified privacy as an important area of growing area of corporate risk and specifically mentioned biometric privacy issues of particular concern. Almost as if to prove my point, on January 29, 2020, in its SEC filing on Form 10-K, Facebook announced that it had agreed to pay $550 million dollars to settle a biometric data privacy class action lawsuit that had been filed on behalf Illinois users in connection with the company’s use of facial recognition software.  According to plaintiffs’ lawyers involved in the case, the settlement represents the largest-ever cash settlement to resolve a privacy-related lawsuit. This massive settlement shows the significance of privacy issues and underscores the likelihood that privacy issues – particularly biometric privacy issues – are likely to be an important corporate liability battleground concern.
Continue Reading Facebook to Pay $550 Million in Largest-Ever Privacy Settlement

In many jurisdictions, corporate officials sued for their actions undertaken in their corporate capacity may be able to defend themselves in reliance on the “business judgment rule.” This rule is designed to prevent courts from second-guessing the decisions of directors and officers. The defense has become particularly important in connection with the extensive litigation the