As I have previously noted (here), even though the parties to the consolidated First Energy derivative litigation pending in the Southern District of Ohio reached an agreement to settle the case for a payment of $180 million and the company’s agreement to adopt governance reforms, Northern District of Ohio Judge John Adams has tried to force the plaintiffs’ lawyers to continue to pursue the separate case pending in his court, notwithstanding the settlement. Now, as Alison Frankel reported in a July 15, 2022 post in her On the Case blog (here), Judge Adams has followed through on his threat to boot the plaintiffs’ lawyers and replace them with lawyers that will pursue the case in his court. At first no prospective replacement lawyers appeared. But now, of all things, the famed litigator David Boies has stepped forward to propose his firm as counsel to take over the case in the Northern District of Ohio. All of this comes just as the settlement proceedings in the Southern District of Ohio are about to come to a head.
Continue Reading FirstEnergy Derivative Suit: Cycle of Post-Settlement Weirdness Continues to Unspool

In what is one of the largest ever shareholder derivative settlements, the parties to the Cardinal Health opioid-related shareholder derivative litigation have agreed to settle the suit for $124 million. The Cardinal Health settlement, which is subject to court approval, is the latest massive settlement of opioid-related derivative litigation. It also represents another example of a massive settlement of a breach of the duty of oversight claim. The settlement is to be funded entirely by Cardinal Health’s D&O insurers. A copy of the plaintiffs’ May 25, 2022 unopposed motion for preliminary approval of the settlement can be found here.
Continue Reading Cardinal Health Opioid-Related Derivative Suit Settled for $124 Million

In a pattern that is becoming familiar, Lordstown Motors, an electric vehicle company that recently merged into a publicly traded SPAC and that was the subject of an even more recent short seller report, has been hit with a securities class action lawsuit. The defendants named include only executives of the vehicle company and do not include any former officers of the SPAC. A copy of the March 18, 2021 complaint can be found here.
Continue Reading Another Short Seller-Targeted Post-DeSPAC Electric Vehicle Company Hit with a Securities Suit

One issue I have been monitoring on this site recently is the apparent revival of claims against corporate directors and officers for breach of the duty of oversight. Up until now, my focus has been on developments in Delaware’s courts. However, a recent Ohio federal district court decision in an opioid-related derivative suit against the board of the pharmaceutical distribution firm Cardinal Health examined issues addressed sufficiency of breach the duty of oversight allegations under Ohio law.

In an interesting February 8, 2021 decision (here) highlighting the fact these issues are relevant under other states’ laws, Southern District of Ohio Judge Sarah D. Morrison denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s breach of the duty of oversight claims against the Cardinal Health board, although she granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ claim for waste of corporate assets.
Continue Reading Court Sustains Opioid-Related Duty of Oversight Breach Claims Against Cardinal Health Board

Under claims made insurance policies, policyholders must provide timely notice of claim to their insurers in order to trigger coverage. Late notice is among the most common reasons that insurers deny coverage for claims. In order to try to avoid a coverage denial for late notice, policyholders have tried to argue that late notice should not preclude coverage where the policyholder renewed the coverage and where successive policies with the same insurer are in place. In a recent decision, an Ohio appellate court, applying Ohio law, rejected a policyholder’s attempt to rely on this kind of continuity of coverage argument. The court’s decision raises some interesting issues, as discussed below.
Continue Reading Ohio Court Rejects Continuity of Coverage as Counter to Late Notice

John Reed Stark

Lost amidst all of the turmoil surrounding the dramatic swings in the value of digital currencies is that the original idea for these digital assets is that  they might actually be used as exchange media, in place of traditional currencies. Whether or not someone might use cryptocurrency to, say, buy a cup of coffee at Starbuck’s, Ohio residents, at least, may now use bitcoin to pay their state taxes. In the following guest post, John Reed Stark, President of John Reed Stark Consulting and former Chief of the SEC’s Office of Internet Enforcement, takes a look at Ohio’s recent bitcoin move and reviews what it might mean – for Ohio, and in general. A version of this article previously was published on CybersecurityDocket.com. I would like to thank John for allowing me to publish his guest 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 John’s article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: Ohio Now Accepts Bitcoin for Tax Payments; No Problem, Right?

ohioA standard D&O insurance policy provision specifies that the term “Claim” means, in part, a “written demand for monetary damages or non-monetary relief.” A recurring question that arises under this language is: what exactly is “non-monetary relief”?  In a recent case, an Ohio intermediate appellate court considered the question whether a demand for a software audit from a software industry group alleging unauthorized software copying constituted a written demand for non-monetary relief; the court concluded that it did and that it therefore that the demand represented a claim under the applicable D&O policy. The court also considered the applicability of the policy intellectual property (IP) infringement exclusion. A copy of the Ohio Court of Appeals, Third Appellate District’s October 11, 2016 opinion can be found here
Continue Reading D&O Insurance: Is a Software Audit Demand a “Claim”?