As I have noted in recent posts (here, for example), SPAC-related securities suit filings continue to accumulate and represent a significant current securities litigation phenomenon. But while the number of suits continues to mount, relatively few of these cases have yet reached the dismissal stage. In a recent ruling, however, the defendant company’s motion to dismiss in a SPAC-related securities suit was substantially denied as to the company itself and its top executives. In particular, the claims based on allegations that the company, Romeo Power, and its senior officials made supply chain misrepresentations were sustained, though the related claims against three former executives of the SPAC with which Romeo had merged were dismissed. A copy of the June 2, 2022 opinion in the case can be found here.
Continue Reading Dismissal Denied in SPAC-Related Securities Suit Alleging Supply Chain Misrepresentations

In the latest edition of its annual report, the Sidley Austin law firm takes a detailed look at important securities litigation developments in 2021 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, both with respect to motions to dismiss in the district courts and on appeal. The law firm’s report, entitled “Securities Class Actions in the Life Sciences Sector: 2021 Annual Survey” can be found here. The same site also includes a link to a short summary of the report.
Continue Reading A Detailed Look at the 2021 Securities Litigation Against Life Sciences Companies

As I have noted in numerous prior posts on this site, over the course of the last two years plaintiffs’ lawyers have filed a host of COVID-19-related securities claims. With the passage of time, many of these cases have now worked their way to the motion to dismiss stage. Although the results have been mixed, the dismissal motions have been granted in several cases. In the latest example of favorable outcome for a COVID-19-related lawsuit defendant, the court in the COVID-19-related securities suit pending against Chembio Diagnostics and its executives recently granted the corporate defendants’ dismissal motion. However, in an odd twist, the court denied the dismissal motion of the company’s offering underwriters. A copy of the court’s February 23, 2022 order in the case can be found here.
Continue Reading COVID-19-Related Securities Suit Against Diagnostic Testing Company Dismissed

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