Regular readers of this site know that one of the continuing D&O litigation trends over the last several years has been the incidence of securities class action lawsuits and other litigation arising out of cybersecurity incidents at the defendant company. While in many instances these suits have not fared particularly well, plaintiffs’ lawyers have nevertheless continued to file the suits. In the latest suit filing of this type, on May 20, 2022, a plaintiff shareholder filed a securities suit against the cybersecurity firm Octa, Inc., relating to the decline in the company’s share price following revelations of a data breach at the firm. Although in many ways this latest suit is similar to previously filed cybersecurity-related securities suits, there are certain distinct aspect of the suit that make it noteworthy, as discussed below.  A copy of the May 20, 2022 complaint in the new lawsuit can be found here.
Continue Reading Cybersecurity Firm Hit with Data Breach-Related Securities Suit

One of the reasons there have not been as many cybersecurity-related securities lawsuits as some commentators (including me) expected is that the plaintiffs’ track record in the cases that have been filed has been decidedly mixed. To be sure, there have been some very noteworthy successes for the plaintiffs, including the Equifax cybersecurity-related securities suit, which settled for $149 million. But though there have been some noteworthy successes, many of the other cybersecurity related securities suits have ended in dismissal.

Among the more significant recent cybersecurity-related securities suit dismissals was the ruling  in the securities lawsuit relating to the massive Marriott data breach. Now, on appeal, the Fourth Circuit has affirmed the district court’s dismissal in the Marriott case, the latest in a series of high-profile setbacks plaintiffs have experienced in cybersecurity-related securities suits. A copy of the Fourth Circuit’s April 21, 2022 opinion can be found here.
Continue Reading Fourth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Marriott Data Breach-Related Securities Suit

As I have noted in prior posts on this site (most recently here), plaintiffs’ lawyers’ claims in cybersecurity-related D&O lawsuits recently have fared poorly. A number of these suits recently have failed to clear the initial pleading hurdles. However, in a ruling last week, the federal judge presiding over the SolarWinds cybersecurity-related securities suits substantially denied the defendants’ motions to dismiss in an opinion that has a number of interesting features, as discussed below. Western District of Texas Judge Robert Pitman’s March 30, 2022 opinion in the case can be found here.
Continue Reading Dismissal Motion Largely Denied in the SolarWinds Cybersecurity-Related Securities Suit

On March 9, 2022, the SEC finally released its long-anticipated updated cybersecurity disclosure requirements. The proposed rules, inclusive of specifications both for incident reporting and for risk management and governance disclosure, were adopted by a 3-1 vote and are now subject to a public reporting period. The new rules, which the Commission’s press release says are “designed to better inform investors about a registrant’s risk management, strategy, and governance and to provide timely notification of material cybersecurity incidents,” underscore the Commission’s emphasis on cybersecurity reporting and disclosure issues.

The SEC’s March 9, 2022 press release about the proposed new rules can be found here. The Commission’s two-page “fact sheet” about the new rules can be found here. The Commission’s 129-page proposing release can be found here. Cydney Posner’s March 9, 2022 post on the Cooley law firm’s PubCo blog about the proposed rules can be found here.
Continue Reading SEC Proposes New Rules for Cybersecurity Disclosure and Incident Reporting Rules

As I have noted in numerous posts on this site (most recently here), the plaintiffs’ track record in data breach-related securities class action lawsuits is mixed at best. To be sure, there have been cases in which plaintiffs’ have prevailed, but overall the plaintiffs’ track record in data breach-related securities suits has been poor. In the latest setback for plaintiffs in these kinds of cases, the Ninth Circuit has affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of the data breach-related securities suit filed against Zendesk. A copy of the Ninth Circuit’s March 2, 2022 Opinion in the Zendesk case can be found here.
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Affirms Zendesk Data Breach Securities Suit Dismissal

Readers of this blog know that two important current litigation trends involve the filing of claims relating to cybersecurity incidents and the filing of COVID-19-related claims.  A new securities class action lawsuit filed this week touched on both of these securities suit filing trends. Secure technology company Telos Corporation was hit with a securities suit following a decline in the price of its shares after the company experienced revenue delays owing to cybersecurity and coronavirus related “headwinds” that postponed the company’s performance of two key contracts. A copy of the plaintiffs’ complaint filed on February 7, 2022 against Telos can be found here.
Continue Reading New Lawsuit Reflects Cybersecurity and Coronavirus-Related Litigation Trends

The directors’ and officers’ liability environment is always changing, but 2021 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 2022 – and possibly for years to come.  I have set out below the Top Ten D&O Stories of 2021, with a focus on the future implications. Please note that on Thursday, January 13, 2022 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 2021. 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 2021

The filing of data breach and other cybersecurity incident-related shareholder derivative lawsuits against corporate boards is nothing new; plaintiffs’ lawyers have been filing these kinds of claims now for several years. However, in recent months, the plaintiffs’ lawyers have shown an increasing inclination to file these claims based on allegations of breach of the duty of oversight. The latest example of this type of claim is the shareholder derivative suit filed this week against the board of T-Mobile USA. Although the plaintiff’s complaint does not expressly use the words “breach of the duty of oversight” or refer to “Caremark duties,” the complaint does refer to the board’s alleged “failure to monitor” and to the board’s alleged failure “to heed red flags” – the very kind of allegations that are at the heart of breach of the duty of oversight claims. A copy of the plaintiff’s complaint in the November 29, 2021 lawsuit can be found here.
Continue Reading Data Breach-Related Derivative Suit Filed Against T-Mobile USA Board

In the latest example of claimants seeking to assert the newly revitalized type of claim for breach of the duty of oversight against corporate boards, plaintiff shareholders have filed a derivative lawsuit in Delaware Chancery Court against certain past and current directors of technology company SolarWinds, based on the massive cybersecurity incident involving the company’s software and systems discovered in December 2020. As discussed below, there are several interesting features of this lawsuit in light of recent developments involving claims for alleged breaches of the duty of oversight. A copy of the heavily redacted publicly available version of the plaintiffs’ complaint against the SolarWinds board can be found here.
Continue Reading Cybersecurity-Related Breach of the Duty of Oversight Claim Filed Against SolarWinds Board

Rachel Soich

As I have noted in prior posts on this site, cybersecurity issues can lead to D&O claims. In the following guest post, Rachel Soich, FCAS, MAAA. Consulting Actuary at Milliman, considers steps that companies can take to avoid cyber-related D&O costs. A prior version of this article previously was published in Milliman Insight. I would like to thank Rachel 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 Rachel’s article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: Three Ways to Avoid Cyber-Related D&O Costs