Event-driven securities suits

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that this past spring Google had exposed thousands of the Google+ social network users’ private data and then opted to withhold disclosure of the incident because of concerns that doing so would attract regulatory scrutiny and harm the company’s reputation. Following the news reports, questions immediately were asked about a possible SEC investigation of the incident. And now, these developments have drawn two new securities class action lawsuits in which shareholders of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, allege that the company misled investors about the adequacy of the company’s security measures to protect user data from theft and security breaches. As discussed below, the new lawsuits bring together several securities litigation filing trends involving data and privacy-related issues.
Continue Reading Google+ User Data Securities Lawsuits Filed Against Alphabet

As I have often noted (for example, here), a company’s announcement that it is the subject of an FCPA-related investigation frequently leads to the filing of a follow-on civil lawsuit in which investor claimants allege either that the company’s senior officials have violated their oversight duties or that the company’s public disclosure statements were insufficient in some way relating to the alleged misconduct. As I have also noted, these kinds of follow-on lawsuits, while frequently filed, often are unsuccessful.

Both of these aspects of the follow-on civil lawsuit track record are relevant in connection with the wave of litigation that has followed in the wake of the massive anti-bribery investigation in Brazil. Many of the companies caught up in the continuing anti-corruption investigation in Brazil have been hit with follow-on securities suits in the U.S. While there have been noteworthy exceptions, many of these cases have been unsuccessful. Most recently, the defendants’ motion to dismiss was granted in the anti-bribery investigation-related securities class action lawsuit that had been filed against the Brazilian airplane manufacturer Embraer. Southern District of New York Richard M. Berman’s March 30, 2018 opinion granting the motion to dismiss can be found here. The decision is interesting and it highlights many of the challenges claimants face in pursuing these kinds of claims.
Continue Reading Frequently-Filed FCPA Follow-On Securities Suits Face Formidable Obstacles

The extraordinary levels of securities litigation filings during 2017 have been the subject of numerous commentaries, including on this blog. In a March 19, 2018 post on The CLS Blue Sky Blog, Columbia Law School Professor John Coffee adds his observations to the discussion about the 2017 securities suit filings. In his article, entitled “Securities Litigation in 2017: It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times” (here), Coffee’s commentary about last year’s securities suit filings is consistent with prior reports and analyses. One specific aspect of his commentary – relating to the phenomenon of event-driven securities litigation – is particularly noteworthy, as discussed below.
Continue Reading Scrutinizing Event-Driven Securities Litigation  

For some time, observers (including me) have been discussing the extent to which the rising numbers of corporate data breaches would translate into to D&O litigation. There of course have been some data breach-related D&O lawsuits;  indeed, plaintiffs’ lawyers have recently for the first time managed to secure some success with these kinds of suits – as discussed here, Yahoo recently settled a data breach related securities class action lawsuit for $80 million. In light of the Yahoo settlement, the possibility for further data breach-related D&O litigation seems likely. But as I was reading the complaint in a securities class action lawsuit filed earlier this week against Facebook, I began to think that a related but slightly different data security-related concern might actually present an even more significant risk of future D&O claims.
Continue Reading Do Privacy Issues Represent the Next Big D&O Liability Exposure?

In general, securities litigation filing trends emerge gradually and across long stretches of time. These kinds of long term trends have been the subject of a number of recent reports discussed on this site – including, for example, recent reports from NERA Economic Consulting (about which refer here), Cornerstone Research (here), as well as my own report. Though trends often become apparent only over the course of months and years, sometimes they are apparent in much shorter time frames. As it happens, the securities suit filings on a single day last week managed to neatly encapsulate all of the important current securities litigation filing trends.
Continue Reading The Sum of All Securities Litigation Filing Trends

As I noted in a post last week discussing the derivative lawsuit and settlement involving 21st Century Fox, allegations of failure to prevent alleged misconduct within company operations or at company facilities can translate into potential liability exposure for the company and its senior management. Another example of this phenomenon has emerged. In the weeks just after RYB Education completed its late September 2017 IPO, news reports began circulating of alleged child abuse at company preschool education facilities in China. Now a shareholder has filed a securities class action lawsuit in the U.S. against the company and certain of its executives. As discussed below, this new lawsuit represents the latest example of several different securities class action lawsuit filing trends.
Continue Reading Chinese Preschools’ Child Abuse Reports Lead to U.S. Securities Suit Against Recent IPO Company