As AI becomes an ever-more present component of many companies’ strategies and operations, one concern is the extent to which this technological shift could affect companies’ litigation risk exposures. One risk companies may face is that in seeking to promote their adoption of AI strategies, companies may be susceptible to allegations that they overstated their

Napa Valley

The D&O Diary was on assignment last week in Napa Valley in California. Although I have visited Napa several times in the past, it has been a while since I have been there. I had forgotten what a beautiful place it is and how much fun it is to visit.

My primary purpose

Here at The D&O Diary, our job is to watch for emerging trends in corporate and securities litigation. There is plenty to watch. Because we are always so attentive to what is new, it sometimes surprises us when a development appears that reflects an old or even seemingly played-out trend. That was our reaction to seeing the new COVID-related complaint filed this week against the health Insurer Humana, in which the plaintiff alleges that the company misled investors about the company’s rising costs associated with increased patient utilization rates due to post-pandemic pent-up demand. It is, in fact, a little surprising that even now, more than four years after the coronavirus first emerged in the U.S., COVID-related lawsuits are still being filed. A copy of the Humana complaint can be found here.Continue Reading Health Insurer Hit with COVID-Related Securities Suit

It was roughly this same time a year ago when the banking industry in the U.S. was going through a series of serious events. Within the space of a few weeks during March through May last year, three of the five largest bank failures in U.S. history occurred. At the outset, a wider banking crisis was feared, but the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve, and the FDIC acted forcefully, in effect backstopping all deposits, and the three bank failures did not lead to a systemic event. But while the immediate crisis was averted, many of the underlying problems – interest rate pressure, stress in the commercial real estate sector – continue, and now, a year later, the banking industry remains under stress. Problems have continued to emerge, and signs are that challenges in the industry will continue.Continue Reading Thinking About Banks One Year After Last Year’s Crisis Events

Since OpenAI launched ChatGPT in November 2022, the race to capitalize on emerging artificial intelligence (AI) technologies has super-charged the financial markets. The stock prices of AI-associated companies, such as Nvidia and Super Micro Computer, have soared. Several AI-related companies  — such as, for example, Astera Labs and Rubrik — have recently successfully completed IPOs, so much so that that the long-moribund market for IPOs is showing definite signs of life. Other AI companies – including for example, Zapata and MultiplAI Health Ltd. — recently became public through mergers with SPACs.

With the consuming interest in AI in the financial markets, many companies want to try to catch some of the lightning for themselves. However, what the companies say about AI, their AI prospects, and their AI risks could have significant consequences for the companies’ corporate and securities litigation risks, as well as their risks of regulatory scrutiny.Continue Reading AI, Risk, and Public Company Disclosures

In recent years, one of the curses of the corporate and securities litigation world has been the ubiquitous filing of merger objection lawsuits in connection with proposed M&A transactions. When a deal is announced, plaintiffs’ lawyers almost always file one or more of these suits in which they seek additional proxy disclosures. After the defendant company agrees to make additional disclosures, the plaintiffs’ lawyers dismiss the suits in exchange for the payment of a so-called “mootness fee.” It is a process that the well-respected jurist Richard Posner famously described as “no better than a racket.”

Now, in a recent decision written by Judge Frank Easterbrook, the Seventh Circuit has identified additional tools and ammunition that companies and other objectors can use to try to fight these kinds of lawsuits —  which, the appellate court specially recognized, have no purpose other than to transfer money from companies to plaintiffs’ lawyers.Continue Reading Will the Seventh Circuit’s Recent Opinion Deter Merger Objection Lawsuits?

The IPO market has been in the doldrums since 2021, but there are promising signs that IPO activity could be on the rebound in 2024. Given the potential for the return of significant IPO activity, it is worth noting that IPO transactions entail certain risks, including in particular for the IPO companies’ private equity backers, as discussed in the following guest post written by Michelle Grimaldi, Assistant Vice President, Claims, Fair American Insurance and Reinsurance Company; Elan Kandel, Member, Bailey Cavalieri LLC; and James Talbert, Associate, Bailey Cavalieri LLC. I would like to thank the authors for allowing 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: Looking Ahead: Risks Attendant to a Potential Rebound in the IPO Market for Private Equity

The COVID-19 pandemic was a disruptive event with the consequences continuing to reverberate through the economy and the business environment, in ways that not only affect companies’ operations and financial performance, but, for at least some companies, in ways that lead to securities class action litigation. So even though the initial COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. was over four years ago, businesses continue to experience operational consequences from the pandemic, in some cases resulting in securities suits. The latest example is the lawsuit filed late last week against medical testing and diagnostic company QuidelOrtho Corporation, whose testing services revenue declined as the coronavirus transition to endemic status. A copy of the April 12, 2024, complaint against QuidelOrtho can be found here.Continue Reading Diagnostic Testing Company Hit With COVID-Related Securities Suit

   

I think we all recognize that the disruptions from the COVID pandemic continue to reverberate through the economy. Many industries and many companies are still trying to get back to equilibrium. The pandemic continues to impact companies, their operations, and their financial results. A new lawsuit filed against the sporting goods retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods(DSG)  illustrates how the pandemic-related factors continue to affect companies and translate into securities litigation. DSG was one of the companies that prospered at the outset of the pandemic; when conditions normalized, the company claimed it would be able to keep the positive momentum going. However, after the company announced disappointing results, its share price declined, and now a shareholder plaintiff has filed a securities class action lawsuit, in the latest in a series of COVID-related securities suits. A copy of the February 16, 2024, lawsuit against the company can be found here.Continue Reading COVID-Related Results Lead to Securities Suit    

Governance Issues frequently are the heart of corporate and securities lawsuits. For that reason, the testimony in this type of litigation of corporate governance and management practices experts can be indispensable. In the following guest post, Dr. Stephen Grace, President and Founder of H.S. Grace & Company, Inc., Alvin H. Fenichel, CPA, Senior Advisor at H.S. Grace & Company, Inc., and Joseph P. Monteleone, Esq., the Principal in Catamount Services LLC,  take a look at the ways in which the testimony of these experts can be utilized in these kinds of lawsuits, as well as the related question of who is qualified to serve as a governance expert. I would like to thank the authors for allowing 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 site’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is the authors’ article.Continue Reading Guest Post: Is It Ever Too Early To Engage A Corporate Governance Expert?