For purposes of determining the scienter of a corporate entity defendant under the federal securities laws, a company’s executives’ knowledge generally is imputed to company. There is an exception to these general principles – the “adverse interest exception” – which provides that an executive’s knowledge will not be imputed to the company if the executive acted for his or her own purposes and contrary to the interests of the company. There is also an exception to the exception, which provides further that a rogue executive’s knowledge will nevertheless be imputed to the company when an innocent third-party has relied on the executive’s representations made with apparent authority.
In an October 23, 2015 opinion (here), the Ninth Circuit applied these principles to reverse the district court’s dismissal of the ChinaCast Education Corp. securities class action lawsuit, holding that the knowledge of the company’s CEO, who had embezzled funds and mislead investors through omissions and false statements, could be imputed to the company for purposes of innocent third-party investors’ claims.
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit: Embezzler Executive’s Knowledge Can Be Imputed to Company in Innocent Third Party-Filed Securities Suit