As I noted at the time, earlier this year SEC Chair Gary Gensler spoke publicly about the need for revisions to Rule 10b5-1, the regulatory provision that allows corporate executives, subject to certain requirements, to trade in their holdings of their companies’ securities. Rule 10b5-1 has long been criticized because of perceived abuses. On December 15, 2021, the SEC released proposed revisions to the Rule. Among other things, the proposed revisions strengthen the requirements to access the affirmative defenses afforded under the Rule, and also enhance disclosure requirements for companies whose executives enter into trading plans pursuant to the Rule. The proposed changes are subject to a 45-day comment period after the proposed amendments are published in the Federal Register.
Continue Reading SEC Proposes Amendments to Rule 10b5-1 Trading Plan Provisions

In the latest edition of the law firm’s annual report, Sidley Austin takes a detailed look at important securities litigation developments in 2020 relating to life sciences companies. The report includes not only a review of life sciences companies’ securities litigation class action filings trends but also examines life sciences companies’ track record in the courts, on motions to dismiss in the district courts and on appeal. The law firm’s report, entitled “Securities Class Actions in the Life Sciences Sector: 2020 Annual Survey” can be found here. The law firm’s two-page report summary can be found here.
Continue Reading A Detailed Look at 2020 Securities Litigation Against Life Sciences Companies

In my recent annual round-up of the top stories in the world of D&O liability, I noted that among the key D&O issues is the possibility of claims against corporate directors and officers arising out of cybersecurity incidents. One of the more interesting cybersecurity-related D&O claims in recent years is the securities class action lawsuit a plaintiff shareholder filed against FedEx in connection with the company’s disclosures concerning the “NotPetya” virus cyberattack on its European operations. What made the lawsuit interesting is that it involved not the company’s disclosures at the time of the cyber incident but rather concerned the company’s subsequent statements about the company’s recovery from the attack and the attack’s longer-term impact on its finances, operations, and business strategy. In a February 4, 2021 opinion (here), Southern District of New York Judge Ronnie Abrams granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss the FedEx NotPetya securities lawsuit, with prejudice. As I discuss below, the opinion has some interesting lessons on the importance of precautionary disclosure.
Continue Reading FedEx “NotPetya” Cyberattack Securities Suit Dismissed

The plaintiffs alleged that when a real estate investment trust (REIT) disclosed that a financially troubled key tenant was making “partial monthly rent payments” — but omitted to mention that the tenant’s rent payments had been funded by an undisclosed loan from the REIT, not from the tenant’s own revenues — the REIT committed securities fraud. The district court dismissed the plaintiffs’ complaint, concluding that the plaintiffs had failed to plead a strong inference that the REIT had acted with the requisite scienter. However, in an interesting August 3, 2020 opinion (here), the Second Circuit reversed the district court, concluding that the plaintiffs’ allegations were sufficient to satisfy the scienter pleading requirements. The opinion includes an interesting analysis of the scienter pleading requirements in an omission case alleging recklessness.
Continue Reading Second Circuit Reverses District Court, Concludes Plaintiffs Adequately Pled Scienter

As I have documented in prior posts (for example, here), publicly traded life sciences companies are frequent targets of securities class action lawsuits. But life sciences companies’ securities litigation exposure may be well-known, it is not always as appreciated that the securities suits against life sciences companies are often dismissed. Two recent rulings in securities suits against life sciences companies – Antares Pharma and Nabriva Therapeutics – provide recent examples of securities suits in which the courts have granted the companies’ dismissal motions. The rulings illustrate the extent to which life sciences companies often are able to successfully defend themselves against securities suits.
Continue Reading Life Sciences Companies: Frequent Securities Suits Frequently Dismissed

Tim Hoeffner
Paul Ferrillo

In the following guest post, Tim Hoeffner and Paul Ferrillo of the McDermott Will & Emery law firm take a look at Southern District of New York Judge Ronnie Abrams’s April 2, 2020 order granting the defendants’ motion to dismiss in the Adient PLC Securities Litigation. I would like to thank Tim and Paul for allowing me the opportunity 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 Tim and Paul’s article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: Scienter “Takes a Seat” Front Row Center in New SDNY Case

Tim Hoeffner
Paul Ferrillo

In the following guest post, Tim Hoeffner and Paul Ferrillo of the McDermott Will & Emery law firm take a look at the Eighth Circuit’s April 10, 2020 decision in the Target Corporation securities class action lawsuit, in which the appellate court affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of the case. I would like to thank Tim and Paul for allowing me the opportunity 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 Tim and Paul’s article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: Eighth Circuit on Target on Appeal

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 the latest example of a securities class action lawsuit arising out of data breach or other cybersecurity incident, on October 24, 2019, a plaintiff shareholder filed a securities class action lawsuit against California-based software company Zendesk. The lawsuit follows after the company announced disappointing second quarter financial results in July and then announced in early October that customer account information had been accessed. The lawsuit is most recent in a series of lawsuits in which companies experiencing cybersecurity incidents get hit with securities lawsuits.
Continue Reading Zendesk Hit with Data Breach-Related Securities Suit

As I noted when it was filed in 2016, the securities class action lawsuit investors filed against ExxonMobil and certain of its executives represented something of a milestone as it was the first securities class action lawsuit of which I am aware based on climate change-related allegations. In an August 14, 2018 opinion, Northern District of Texas Judge Ed Kinkeade largely denied the defendants motion to dismiss. The opinion contains a number of interesting features, including in particular in its discussion of the plaintiff’s climate change related allegations. Judge Kindeade’s opinion can be found here.
Continue Reading Dismissal Motion Denied in ExxonMobil Climate Change-Related Securities Suit