The directors’ and officers’ liability environment is always changing, but 2023 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 2024 – and possibly for years to come.  I have set out below the Top Ten D&O Stories of 2023, with a focus on future implications. Please note that on Thursday, January 11, 2024 at 11:00 AM EST, my colleagues Marissa Streckfus, Chris Bertola, and I will be conducting a free, hour-long webinar in which we will discuss The Top Ten D&O Stories of 2023. Registration for the webinar can be found here. I hope you can join us for the webinar.Continue Reading The Top Ten Stories in D&O of 2023

D&O insurers closely track the annual number of securities class action lawsuit filings. The number of annual filings can provide some indication of the insurers’ ultimate loss costs for the year. The current year’s filing patterns can also inform the insurers’ efforts to try to determine the profit-making price for their insurance product.

In 2023, the number of federal court securities class action lawsuits filed increased more than 7% compared to 2022, although the number of federal suit filings still remained well below the elevated levels seen in the recent past. Several factors contributed to the increased number of securities suit filings during the year, including disruption in the banking sector as well as the overall impact of macroeconomic factors.Continue Reading Federal Court Securities Class Action Lawsuit Filings Increased in 2023

For some time now, one of the hottest bets in the U.S. economy has been the electric vehicle industry. Until recently, manufacturers struggled to meet consumer demand. However, as 2023 progressed, something unexpected happened. Consumer demand for electric vehicles began to decline. A number of factors – including heightened interest rates – contributed to this development, but the perception of declining demand has set off alarm bells, particularly among EV manufacturers’ suppliers.

In an example both of how the declining demand can affect EV suppliers and the way that the decline can translate into securities litigation, on December 13, 2023, a plaintiff shareholder filed a securities suit against electric vehicle semiconductor supplier ON Semiconductor after the company announced declining sales of its automotive business segment products because of declining consumer EV demand. A copy of the plaintiff’s complaint can be found here.Continue Reading Semiconductor Company Hit with Securities Suit as EV Demand Declines

Throughout 2023, I have noted examples of securities class action lawsuit filings involving companies whose operations or financial results were undercut by adverse macroeconomic conditions. The specific adverse economic conditions involved have included, for example, rising interest rates, heightened economic inflation, and supply chain and labor supply disruptions.

In yet another example of this phenomenon, a plaintiff shareholder has this week sued the software company Expensify in a lawsuit alleging not that a single adverse macroeconomic factor undercut the company’s results, but rather that adverse macroeconomic conditions in general hurt the company’s financial results and caused it to fall short of the growth projections it made in its IPO. As discussed below, the overall macroeconomic conditions that hurt this company and that were such a factor in securities class action litigation frequency overall in 2023 likely will continue as we head into 2024. There also is a D&O practitioner’s pointer below for those willing to read all the way to the end of this post. A copy of the November 2, 2023, complaint filed against the company can be found here.Continue Reading Securities Suit Alleges “Macroeconomic Headwinds” Undercut IPO Company

Throughout the year, macroeconomic considerations have been an important factor in the number of securities class action lawsuit filings, including economic inflation, and supply chain and labor supply disruption. Another important factor has been rising interest rates, which, among other things contributed to several high-profile bank failures earlier this year, and which in turn led to the filing of follow-on securities suits.

In the latest example of macroeconomic factors affecting businesses and translating into a securities class action lawsuit filing, a plaintiff shareholder has filed a securities class action lawsuit against the standby power generator company, Generac Holdings, after the company announced that declining consumer spending due to rising interest rates caused the company second quarter 2023 revenues to fall below expectations. A copy of the November 21, 2023, complaint can be found here.Continue Reading High Interest Rates Undercut Consumer Demand, Leads to Securities Suit Filing

According to Renaissance Capital (here), in the heady days during the two-year period 2020 and 2021, 618 traditional U.S. IPOs were completed, raising over $220 billion. (These stats do not include SPAC IPOs). By contrast, in the period 2022-2023 YTD, there have only been 171 traditional U.S. IPOs completed, raising just $27 billion. While many market observers yearn for a return of the buoyant IPO market that prevailed two years ago, signs are that it could be a while before the IPO market takes off again. As detailed in a November 14, 2023, Wall Street Journal article about the state of the IPO market, and as discussed below, there are a host of concerns weighing on the IPO market.Continue Reading It Could be a While Before a Buoyant IPO Market Returns

Earlier this year, three of the largest banks failed in a sequence of events that was dubbed the Banking Crisis of 2023. With the passage of time, fears that the three failures could foreshadow further failures and deeper woes seemingly subsided, though a wave of banking institution downgrades in August 2023 briefly rekindled concerns. More recently, things have been quiet. Does that mean it is time to sound the all-clear signal? Perhaps, but there are signs out there suggesting continued vigilance may be in order.Continue Reading Checking in on the 2023 Banking Crisis

Earlier this year three large U.S. banks failed in a sequence of events that has been called The Banking Crisis of 2023. While federal regulators acted decisively and forcefully to prevent the bank failures from triggering a contagion event, the underlying problems that caused the three banks to fail continued to trouble many other U.S. lending institutions. Among the banks that faced continued challenges and continuing questions is the California-based bank Pac West, which in July 2023 announced that as a way to try to deal with its woes it was being acquired by the Bank of California. Now, a plaintiff shareholder has filed a securities class action lawsuit against Pac West and certain of its directors and officers alleging misrepresentations in connection with the events surrounding the other banks’ failures ad leading up to the July merger. The new lawsuit is the latest example of the ways in which ongoing issues in the banking sector are leading to securities class action lawsuit filings. A copy of the new complaint can be found here.Continue Reading Regional Bank Hit with Banking Crisis-Related Securities Suit

Earlier this year, challenges arising from rising interest rates, as well as concerns surrounding liquidity and other issues, led to three of the largest banking failures in U.S. history. The three that failed were not the only banks facing challenges in the rising interest rate environment, and while there have been no further failures since May, questions from the turbulence earlier this year remain for many banks. Now, in a sign that these kinds of challenges and questions can lead to securities litigation even in the absence of bank failure, a plaintiff shareholder has filed a securities class action lawsuit against KeyCorp (the bank holding company of KeyBank) after questions about the bank’s liquidity and interest rate income in a rising interest rate environment caused a drop in the company’s share price. A copy of the August 4, 2023, complaint filed against Key can be found here.Continue Reading Liquidity and Interest Income Concerns Draw Securities Suit Against Bank

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic is now into its fourth year, plaintiffs’ lawyers continue to file pandemic-related securities class action lawsuits, increasingly in conjunction with allegations involving other macroeconomic factors, such as rising interest rates, economic inflation, supply chain disruption, and labor supply shortages. In the latest example of litigation of this type, last week plaintiffs’ lawyers filed a securities class action lawsuit against tool maker Stanley Black & Decker, alleging that the company misled investors that the pandemic-fueled surge in demand for the company’s product would continue even as conditions changed. A copy of the March 24, 2023, complaint against the company can be found here.Continue Reading Stanley Black & Decker Hit with COVID-Related Securities Suit