As I have noted in prior posts (most recently here),over the last several months plaintiff shareholders have filed numerous SPAC-related securities class action lawsuits. In an interesting variant of SPAC-related litigation, a claimant has filed a post-merger SPAC-related class action lawsuit in the Delaware Court of Chancery against the former directors of a SPAC and against the SPAC’s sponsor, in which the claimant alleges the defendants breached their fiduciary duties to the pre-merger SPAC shareholders. The lawsuit has a number of interesting features, as discussed below. A copy of the plaintiffs’ August 4, 2021 complaint in the action can be found here.
Continue Reading SPAC-Related Class Action Breach of Fiduciary Duty Lawsuit Filed in Delaware Chancery Court

In its recent report on securities suit filings in the year’s first half, Cornerstone Research noted that while securities suit filings generally in the first six months of the year were down, SPAC-related securities suit filings were up, with first half suit filings involving SPACs double the number of SPAC-related suits during the full prior year. As further evidence that this first half 2021 securities suit filing trend will continue as the year progresses, last week a plaintiff shareholder filed a securities class action lawsuit against a home healthcare equipment company that merged with a publicly traded SPAC in November 2019. As discussed below, this latest suit has much in common with many of the prior SPAC-related lawsuits, but it also has certain distinctive features as well.
Continue Reading Home Health Equipment Company Hit with SPAC-Related Securities Suit

As I noted in a prior post, last week the SEC filed an enforcement action against Stable Road Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), and its intended merger target, Momentus, relating to Momentus’s alleged misrepresentations, as well as Stable Road’s alleged lack of due diligence. Perhaps inevitably, a plaintiff shareholder has filed a securities class action lawsuit against Stable Road; Momentus; and other defendants, adding to the growing number of SPAC-related securities suits that have been filed this year. A copy of the July 15, 2021 complaint in the new securities lawsuit can be found here.
Continue Reading SPAC Subject to SEC Enforcement Action Hit with Follow-On Securities Suit

In a series of statements, comments, and staff actions, the SEC has in recent months evinced a growing concern with SPAC-related activities in the financial marketplace. The agency has now brought its first SPAC-related enforcement action (at least during the current era) against Momentus, Inc., a SPAC-merger target; Stable Road Acquisition Corp., the SPAC itself; and several other participants involved in the SPAC transaction, including the SPAC sponsor. This proceeding may be the first of many. The SEC’s July 13, 2021 press release about the proceedings can be found here. The SEC’s administrative order instituting cease-and-desist proceedings can be found here. The SEC’s separate civil action complaint against the CEO of the merger target can be found here.
Continue Reading SEC Charges SPAC, Merger Target, and Others with Securities Law Violations

One of the most distinct securities litigation phenomena so far this year has been the increase in securities litigation involving post-SPAC-merger operating companies. In the latest example of this type of litigation, a plaintiff shareholder has filed a securities class action lawsuit against used vehicle consignment re-seller CarLotz, which became a public company through a January 2021 merger with a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC). As discussed below, CarLotz’s first financial reports as a public company disappointed investors and litigation has now ensued. A copy of the July 8, 2021 complaint against the company can be found here.
Continue Reading Used Vehicle Re-Seller Hit with SPAC-Related Securities Suit

On April 12, 2021, when John Coates, the acting director of the SEC Division of Corporate Finance, and Paul Munter, the SEC’s acting chief accountant, issued a statement noting their concerns about the way that SPACs were accounting for warrants issued in connection with SPAC IPOs, they also noted that some entities may need to reclassify the warrants from equity to liabilities, and that the change in accounting treatment might require some entities to restate prior financial statements. As it has turned out, many SPACs have in fact reclassified their warrants and many have in fact restated their financials, as discussed below. In at least one case, discussed in earlier post on this site (here), a SPAC-acquired company that restated its financial based on the warrant accounting issue has been hit with a securities class action lawsuit – which raises the question whether other restatements by other SPACs and de-SPACs will trigger further securities class action litigation.

That is the question asked in a June 22, 2021 Law360 article by Elaine Harwood, Steven McBridge and Laura Simmons of Cornerstone Research entitled “Will SPAC Restatement Wave Trigger Shareholder Litigation?” (here). As discussed below, the authors’ article addresses several interesting and important questions about the warrant accounting issue and the possibility for further litigation.
Continue Reading Will SPAC Warrant Accounting Restatements Result in Further Securities Class Action Litigation?

When senior SEC staff issued a statement in April saying that most warrants issued by SPACs should be treated as liabilities rather than as equity, it triggered a huge slowdown in the previously hot SPAC IPO market. It also forced many existing SPACs to review the way they had previously accounted for warrants; in some instances, individual SPAC companies concluded that they needed to restate their prior financial statements. Now, in a development that highlights the risks that these seemingly obscure accounting issues present, a plaintiff shareholder has filed a securities class action lawsuit against  Virgin Galactic Holdings, a post-SPAC-merger company that restated its financials based on the warrant accounting issue. The May 28, 2021 complaint, a copy of which can be found here, alleges that the company had previously improperly accounted for its warrants, and that the prior accounting treatment violated the securities laws.
Continue Reading Virgin Galactic Hit with Securities Suit Over SPAC Warrant Accounting Issue

Paul R. Bessette
Chris Crawford

As I have documented on this site, along with the rapid rise of SPAC-related transaction activity has come a surge in SPAC-related litigation. In the following guest post, Paul R. Bessette and Chris Crawford consider the likelihood for even further litigation relating to SPAC transactions and review the steps that well advised companies involved in SPAC transactions can take to try to reduce their litigation risks. Paul is co-chair of the King & Spalding law firm’s Corporate & Securities Litigation Practice and Chris is a Senior Vice President and Client Executive with Marsh in Los Angeles. A version of this article was previously published in Westlaw Today, 2021 WL 1990398. I would like to thank Paul and Chris for allowing me to publish their article 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 Paul and Chris’s article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: SPACs and SPAC-Related Litigation: A Primer on Reducing Litigation and Enforcement Risk

In the latest securities class action lawsuit involving a company that recently became publicly traded through a merger with a SPAC, a biodegradable plastics company and certain of its directors and officers have been hit with securities suit following media reports questioning the company’s claims about the biodegradability of its products. The company, Danimer Scientific, is one of several recently sued companies that completed a SPAC merger in December 2020. A copy of the May 14, 2021 complaint against Danimer can be found here.
Continue Reading Post-SPAC Merger Securities Suit Filed Against Bio Plastics Firm

In the latest example of a company that went public through a recent merger with a SPAC getting hit with a securities class action lawsuit, a plaintiff shareholder has filed a securities suit against plastics recycler PureCycle Technologies, certain of its executives, and the former chairman of the company’s SPAC merger partner. Like many of the recent SPAC-related securities lawsuit filings, this new lawsuit followed shortly after the publication of a highly critical short-sellers report. A copy of the plaintiff’s complaint can be found here.
Continue Reading SPAC-Related Securities Suit Filed Against Plastics Recycling Company