In any discussion these days of emerging directors’ and officers’ risks, the conversation inevitably turns to the topic of Artificial Intelligence (AI). There is a general perception that while AI presents significant opportunities, it also involves significant liability risks. The contours of the risk that AI represents have yet to develop, largely because the claims have yet to emerge. That is, until now.

Earlier this week, a plaintiff shareholder filed a securities class action lawsuit against the AI-enabled software platform company, Innodata. The plaintiff claims the company misrepresented the extent to which the company’s products and services actually employ AI technology and also the extent of the company’s investment in AI. As discussed further below, as far as I know, this case represents the first AI-related securities class action lawsuit to be filed. A copy of the plaintiff’s February 21, 2024, complaint can be found here.Continue Reading First AI-Related Securities Suit Filed

   

I think we all recognize that the disruptions from the COVID pandemic continue to reverberate through the economy. Many industries and many companies are still trying to get back to equilibrium. The pandemic continues to impact companies, their operations, and their financial results. A new lawsuit filed against the sporting goods retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods(DSG)  illustrates how the pandemic-related factors continue to affect companies and translate into securities litigation. DSG was one of the companies that prospered at the outset of the pandemic; when conditions normalized, the company claimed it would be able to keep the positive momentum going. However, after the company announced disappointing results, its share price declined, and now a shareholder plaintiff has filed a securities class action lawsuit, in the latest in a series of COVID-related securities suits. A copy of the February 16, 2024, lawsuit against the company can be found here.Continue Reading COVID-Related Results Lead to Securities Suit    

Three of the five largest bank failures in U.S. history took place over the course of just a few weeks last Spring. Because U.S. government officials acted forcefully at the time, this dangerous sequence did not trigger a contagion event across the banking sector generally. But while the Fed and others managed to stave off further bank failures, underlying problems persisted at certain banks – in particular, problems relating to the commercial real estate sector continued to weigh on banking institutions. As the Wall Street Journal put it in an article late last week, “Investors have wondered when the pain from the downturn in commercial property would hit banks.” As the Journal noted in the same article, the commercial property-related pain has now arrived for some banks. Several banks, including New York Community Bancorp (NYCB), suffered significant stock price drops after the banks last week announced steep increases in their loss reserves in their commercial real estate portfolios.

And now these developments have translated into securities litigation, as a plaintiff shareholder has launched a securities class action lawsuit against NYCB and certain of its executives. These developments and the filing of the lawsuit suggest while the Banking Crisis of 2023 may have been contained, continuing problems in the banking sector could be a factor in the number of securities class action lawsuit filings during the year. A copy of the February 6, 2024 complaint filed against NYCB can be found here.Continue Reading Commercial Real Estate Woes Weigh on Bank, Lead to New Securities Suit

The number of securities class action lawsuit filings increased in 2023 for the first time in four years, according to a new report from NERA. According to the report, the number of filings increased more than 10% in 2023 compared to 2022. On the other hand, the number of cases resolved in 2023 declined during the year. The January 23, 2024 report, entitled “Recent Trends in Securities Class Action Litigation: 2023 Full-Year Review, can be found here.Continue Reading NERA: 2023 Fed Court Securities Suit Filings Increased for the First Time in Four Years

A few days ago when I published a post discussing a new COVID-19-related securities lawsuit I expressed my surprise that pandemic-related suits were still being filed in 2024, particularly after the pace of new coronavirus-related suits tailed off completely in the latter half of 2023. Well, it appears that the recent new case filing not just a single anomaly, as this past week yet another new pandemic-related securities lawsuit was filed.

On January 19, 2024, a plaintiff shareholder filed a securities suit against BioVie, a developmental stage biotech company, after the company reported that clinical trials for its Phase 3 drug candidate produced results the company concluded deviated from protocols and Good Clinical Practice (GCP) because the pandemic had limited patient access to clinical trial sites. A copy of the new complaint can be found here.Continue Reading Biotech Hit with Securities Suit After Pandemic Impact on Clinical Trials

In my recent round-up of the Top D&O stories of 2023, I noted that one of the key drivers contributing to the number of securities class action lawsuit filings last year was the presence of macroeconomic factors affecting company operations and financial results. Among these factors was supply chain disruption. While the pandemic-related disruptions that snarled supply chains in 2021 and 2022 appeared to have eased during 2023, the impact from the earlier supply chain disruptions continues to weigh on some businesses.

 In the latest example of how the prior supply chain disruption continues to affect businesses and how that can translate into securities litigation, on January 16, 2024, a plaintiff shareholder filed a securities lawsuit against advanced driver assistance system company Mobileye Global, after the company announced that it anticipated lower than expected sales of its key product because its leading customers had built up product in 2023 in order to avoid supply disruptions of the type that resulted from supply chain constraints in 2021 and 2022. This latest lawsuit shows how the consequences from pandemic related supply chain disruptions are continuing to weigh on businesses and result in securities litigation. A copy of the January 16, 2024 complaint can be found here.Continue Reading Supply Chain Woes Causing Inventory Build-Up Leads to Securities Suit

One of the most distinct securities class action lawsuit filing phenomena since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S. in March 2020 has been the surge of pandemic-related securities suits,  particularly during the period 2020 through 2022. This securities suit filing trend even continued into 2023, although the incidence of COVID-related suits dwindled during the year. However, in an unexpected development, a plaintiff shareholder has now filed yet another COVID-related securities suit against BioNTech, the German biotechnology company that, along with its partner Pfizer, was lionized for helping to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. The company was hit with a securities suit after its share price declined following a sizeable inventory write-off. A copy of the January 12, 2024, complaint against the company can be found here.Continue Reading A New COVID-Related Securities Suit for the New Year

According to a new report, the number of excess fee and performance lawsuits filed in 2023 declined relative to the extraordinary filings levels in 2022, but excess fee lawsuit filings remained elevated. By contrast to prior years in which plaintiffs’ lawyers seemingly targeted benefit plans of all sizes, in 2023 the excess benefit plan lawsuits filed in 2023 primarily targeted companies with larger benefit plans. The number and aggregate total value of excess fee lawsuit settlements in 2023 was a record levels during the year. The January 8, 2024, report about the excess fee lawsuit filings, written by Daniel Aronowitz of Euclid Specialty, can be found here.Continue Reading Excess Fee Lawsuit Filings Declined in 2023 Due to Backlog of Prior Cases

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

There was a time, not that long ago, when class action securities lawsuits were mostly about accounting and financial disclosure-related issues. In more recent years, securities suits increasingly are about operational issues, in which unfortunate business developments are the basis of securities fraud allegations — a phenomenon that has been called “event-driven litigation.” In the latest example of this kind of litigation, a plaintiff shareholder has filed a securities class action lawsuit against General Motors alleging that the company, which sustained a product recall related to its vehicle airbags and suffered a significant setback in its driverless vehicle development efforts when one of its driverless vehicles struck a pedestrian, misled investors about vehicle safety issues. A copy of the plaintiff’s December 8, 2023, complaint can be found here.Continue Reading Vehicle Safety Issues Trigger Securities Suit Against GM