In the following guest post, Dan Gold, Thad Behrens, Kit Addleman, Emily Westridge Black, Carrie L. Huff, Timothy Newman, Matt McGee, and Odean L. Volker of the Haynes and Boone, LLP law firm review the key developments during 2019 in securities litigation and enforcement, including significant securities related decisions by the Supreme Court and federal appellate courts, key developments in SEC enforcement, and significant rulings in state law fiduciary litigation against directors and officers of public companies. A version of this article previously was published as a Haynes and Boone client alert. I would like to thank the authors for their willingness to allow me to publish their 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 the authors’ article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: 2019 Securities Litigation: Key Takeaways and Trends

In its 2011 decision in the Janus Group case, the U.S. Supreme Court held that one who does not “make” a false statement cannot be held liable under section (b) of Rule 10b-5. In an enforcement action brought against him by the SEC, the defendant, Francis Lorenzo, argued that under the Janus case, he could not be held liable under the securities laws for forwarding a misleading email his boss had written because he did not “make” the false statement. The case ultimately made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. On March 27, 2019, the Court found that even if Lorenzo could not be held liable under section (b) of the Rule because he did not “make” the statement, he could still be held liable under the scheme liability provisions in sections (a) and (c) of the Rule for disseminating the  document. The Court’s March 27, 2019 opinion in Lorenzo v. Securities and Exchange Commission can be found here.
Continue Reading Supreme Court: Even One Who Did Not “Make” a False Statement May Still be Subject to Scheme Liability

September is here. Labor Day has come and gone. Time to put away the swim trunks, parasols, flip flops, bungee cords, ukuleles, sun screen, boomerangs, bongos, snorkels, vorpal blades, and unicycles, and get back to work. Yes, it is time to answer all those emails and return all of those phone messages. And most importantly of all, it is time to catch up on what has been happening in the world of directors’ and officers’ liability and insurance. Here is what happened while you were out.
Continue Reading While You Were Out

In a long line of cases, the U.S Supreme Court has grappled with the question of who can be held liable under the federal securities laws for fraudulent misrepresentations. Most recently, in the Janus Funds case, the Court has said that only a “maker” of a misrepresentation can be held liable in a private securities lawsuit. On June 18, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a writ of certiorari to examine whether a person who did not “make” a misrepresentation can nevertheless be held liable under the securities laws on a theory of scheme liability.

The case involves an SEC enforcement action in which the defendant, Francis Lorenzo, sent prospective investors emails at the direction of his boss and with content that he had not created. Lorenzo’s actions were held insufficient to support fraudulent statement liability because he did not “make” the misrepresentations, but Lorenzo nevertheless was held liable for the misrepresentations on a scheme liability theory. The case presents an interesting opportunity for the Court to consider the requirements to establish scheme liability and in particular to determine whether a financial misrepresentation alone is sufficient to support a scheme liability claim. The Supreme Court’s June 18, 2018 order granting the writ of certiorari can be found here.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Grants Cert in Scheme Liability Case

cytrxAs I have previously noted on this blog (most recently here), one of the more distinctive litigation phenomena in recent years has been the rash of securities class action lawsuits involved allegations that the defendant firms’ use of stock promotion firms had resulted in misrepresentations to investors. The difficulty for the plaintiffs in these cases is that under the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2011 Janus Capital Group’s decision (about which refer here), only the “maker” of an allegedly misleading statement can be held liable under Rule 10b-5, and in many of these cases it was the stock promotion firm, not the company itself, that “made” the allegedly misleading statement.

However, in a recent motion to dismiss ruling in one of these stock promotion firm securities class action lawsuit, the plaintiffs’ complaint survived the dismissal motion in part, even though the Court agreed that the company defendants could not be liable for statements “made” by the stock promotion firm. The ruling is interesting in and of itself and also for what it says about theories of liability that apparently survived the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus ruling.

As discussed below, in a July 13, 2015 ruling, Central District of California Chief Judge George H. King, granted in part and denied in part the defendants’ motions to dismiss the securities class action lawsuit that plaintiff shareholders had filed against CytRx Corporation, certain of its officers, and its offering underwriters. A copy of Judge King’s ruling can be found here.
Continue Reading Securities Suit Against Company That Used Stock Promotion Firm Survives Dismissal Motion