wells fargoWells Fargo’s bogus customer account scandal is back in the news again, most recently because of the bank’s release on Monday of the report of its independent directors’ investigation of the bank’s improper sales practices. The April 10, 2017 report, which the bank posted on its website, makes for some interesting reading. Of particular interest, the report discloses that as result of the independent directors’ investigative findings, the bank has imposed compensation clawbacks on former bank officials in excess of $180 million. The clawbacks, which the bank said in its April 10, 2017 press release are “among the largest in corporate history,” raise a number of interesting issues, as discussed below.
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cal sup ctOn August 10, 2015, in an opinion that has already garnered a great deal of attention and commentary, the California Supreme Court ruled that an insurer that funded the payment for its insured of independent counsel (or “Cumis” counsel as independent counsel are known in California) in defense of a claim may seek to recover directly from the independent counsel law firm amounts the insurer paid that the insurer contends were excessive or unreasonable. Though the ruling represents a landmark of sorts, the California Supreme Court’s opinion is much narrower than many commentators have acknowledged, which will limit its applicability in other cases. A copy of the California Supreme Court’s opinion can be found here.
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fourthcircuitIt sometimes comes as a surprise to some policyholders that D&O carriers contend that they have the right to try to recover amounts they have paid as defense expenses if it turns out that coverage for a claim is precluded by a policy exclusion. However, an insurer’s right of defense expense recoupment is by now

virginiaIn a detailed April 23, 2014 opinion (here), Eastern District of Virginia Judge Liam O’Grady, applying Virginia law, held that the guilty pleas of executives of Protection Strategies, Inc. triggered four separate exclusions in the D&O coverage section of PSI’s management liability policy and that the management liability insurer was entitled to

Lee Farkas, the criminally convicted former Chairman and majority shareholder of  the defunct Taylor Bean and Whitaker Mortgage Corporation, must repay the nearly $1 million in defense fees the company’s D&O insurer had advanced on his behalf, according to an April 11, 2013 Fourth Circuit opinion. The terse three-page appellate opinion adopts the ruling of