Among the topics of principal focus on this site are U.S. securities class action lawsuits, although from time to time I do write about collective investor actions outside the U.S (here, for example). The fact is that in recent years there have been a number of important and interesting developments in collective investor actions outside of the U.S. In a recent paper, “Five Current Class Actions Outside of North American Investors Should Be Aware Of,” Jeff Lubitz, Managing Director, ISS Securities Class Action Services, takes a look at some key cases outside of the U.S. to watch in coming months. A copy of the paper can be found here.
Continue Reading Key Collective Investor Actions Outside the U.S. to Watch

Regular readers of this blog know my view that the  rise of collective investor actions outside the United States is one of the most important developments in the world of directors’ and officers’ liability in recent years. The increase in collective investor actions has been particularly noteworthy in Europe. In the following guest post, ISS Securities Class Action Services and the FOX Williams law jointly report on the current state of play in European Class Actions.  The ISS SCAS authors are Jeffrey Lubitz, Managing Director, and Elisa Mendoza, Esq., Associate Director. The Fox Williams authors are Andrew Hill, Partner; Anisha Patel, Senior Associate; and Sam Tarrant and Olwen Mair, Associates. A .pdf version of the report is available here. As the authors note, investors increasingly are finding innovative ways to bring such claims and the courts and legislatures across Europe appear willing to find solutions to ease the burden and costs traditionally associated with these actions, making them more accessible to investors. I would like to thank the authors for allowing me to publish their report 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 Guest Post: An Investor Roadmap: The Jurisdictional Differences and Impact of ESG in European Shareholder Class Actions

In a milestone in the development of collective investor actions in Germany, a plaintiff in a proceeding against Hypo Real Estate Holding and arising out of the global financial crisis had reached an agreement to settle the action for €190 million. The case against Hypo Real Estate Holding was brought under the German Capital Markets Model Case Act, known as KapMuG. As discussed below, this settlement has very important implications for the development of collective investor actions in Germany, and, indeed, worldwide. A copy of the plaintiff law firm’s June 1, 2022 press release describing the settlement can be found here.
Continue Reading German Collective Investor Action Against Hypo Real Estate Holding Settled for 190 Million Euros

The Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) in Marienplatz, in Munich

The D&O Diary’s sojourn in Germany continued last week with travel to Nuremburg and Munich. The same wonderful late spring weather that we  had enjoyed the week before in Frankfurt followed us as we continued our travels in Germany.
Continue Reading Munich and Nuremberg

Frank Hülsberg
Burkhard Fassbach

Regular readers know that I post frequently on this site on whistleblower-related topics. However, my discussion of whistleblower-related topics is generally focused on whistleblowing in the U.S. There have been significant recent whistleblower-related developments outside the U.S. For example, and as discussed in detail in the following guest post, a draft whistleblower protection act is now circulating in Germany. If adopted the new act could have significant implications, as discussed below. This guest post was written by Frank Hülsberg, who is a Chartered Accountant and Tax Advisor in Düsseldorf, Partner Advisory and Member of the Executive Board at Grant Thornton AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft in Germany, and Burkhard Fassbach, a D&O-lawyer in private practice in Germany.  I would like to thank Frank and Burkhard for allowing me to publish their article on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this site’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is Frank and Burkhard’s article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: What Board Members Need to Know About the New German Whistleblower Protection Act

In 1520, the nearly-50-year-old German artist Albrecht Dürer travelled to the Low Countries. The Holy Roman Emperor Maximillian I had just died, and his grandson Charles V was about to be crowed in Aachen as his successor. Dürer, both fleeing plague in his hometown of Nuremberg and seeking to confirm with the new emperor the continuation of his pension, roamed widely for more than a year throughout what is now the Netherlands and Belgium. Dürer meticulously recorded his experience and observations in a journal that miraculously (and fortunately for us) has survived. As memorialized in the journal, the curiosity that guided Dürer’s path was frequently rewarded; among other things, he was among the first to see the incredible first shipment of Aztec treasures that Hernán Cortés shipped back to Europe from his first voyage to Mexico as they were unloaded in Antwerp.
Continue Reading Sunday Arts: Albert and the Whale

Michael Hendricks
Burkhard Fassbach

As I discussed in a blog post at the time, in June 2021 VW announced that a settlement had been reached in the D&O liability action that had been filed against the company’s executives in connection with the “Dieselgate” scandal. The settlement, which had an aggregate value of approximately $351 million, was approved by VW shareholders in July 2021. However, minority shareholders have now filed a legal action against VW in an effort to oppose the settlement. In the following guest post, Michael Hendricks and Burkhard Fassbach review the minority shareholders’ legal action and discuss its implications. Michael is the founder of the German D&O specialist broker hendricks GmbH and Burkhard is a D&O-lawyer in private practice in Germany. I would like to thank Michael and Burkhard 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 Michael and Burkhard’s article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: VW Dieselgate: Minority Shareholders File Suit Against D&O Settlement

Volkswagen, several former executives –including Martin Winterkorn, the former Chair of the company’s Board of Management–  and the company’s D&O insurers have reached an agreement to settle damages claims the company asserted against the executives relating to the company’s “Dieselgate” scandal. In March 2021, following a years-long investigation of the scandal by an outside law firm, the company filed the claims, in which the executives were alleged to have breached their duties to the company. The settlement, worth in the aggregate approximately $351 million in U.S. dollar terms, includes substantial payments both by the individual executives and by the company’s D&O insurers. The D&O insurers’ contribution reflects a separate settlement between the company and its insurers with respect to insurance coverage issues. A copy of VW’s June 9, 2021 press release describing the settlement can be found here.
Continue Reading Former Execs, Insurers Settle VW Dieselgate D&O Liability Claims

Berlin Cathedral

The D&O Diary was on assignment in northern Europe last week, with stops in Berlin, Hamburg, and Paris. I know from past experience that traveling in northern Europe in January can be a formidable experience. On this trip, however, mild and dry weather conditions generally prevailed, allowing for some really pretty enjoyable travel experiences.
Continue Reading January in Northern Europe