In the following guest post, Ed Whitworth, the Head of Directors and Officers Liability at Inigo, and Yera Patel, Head of Casualty & Financial Lines Claims and Analytics for Inigo, summarize the results of a recent survey Inigo conducted of U.S. securities litigation defense counsel.. The original of the survey summary previously was published on Inigo’s blog, here. I would like to thank Ed, Yera, and Inigo for allowing me to publish the report summary on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to the 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: Inigo 2022 D&O Defense Survey

In the latest post-SPAC-merger securities class action lawsuit, a plaintiff shareholder has filed a securities suit against a rare earth mining and processing company that completed a SPAC merger in November 2020. Like many SPAC-related securities suits that have been filed in recent months, the lawsuit follows a drop in the company’s share prices following a negative short-seller report. A copy of the February 22, 2022 lawsuit against MP Materials Corp. can be found here.
Continue Reading Mining Company Hit with Post-SPAC-Merger Securities Suit After Short Seller Report

In a lawsuit that captures two of the top current securities class action lawsuit trends, a plaintiff shareholder has filed a securities class action lawsuit against health technology company Butterfly Network. The new lawsuit is both SPAC-related and COVID-related. Butterfly merged with Longview Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), in February 2021. The allegations included, among other things, a contention that the defendant company failed to take into account pandemic’s “broad consequences” in its operations and reporting. A copy of the plaintiff’s February 16, 2022 complaint can be found here.
Continue Reading Post-SPAC-Merger Company Hit with COVID-Related Securities Suit

As I have noted in prior posts on this site, the surge in special purpose acquisition corporation (SPAC) IPO transactions over the last two years has also meant a wave of SPAC-related lawsuits. In the following guest post, Peter Evans, Complex Claims Director – Executive & Professional Lines, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance, Elan Kandel, Member, Bailey Cavalieri LLC and James Talbert, Associate, Bailey Cavalieri LLC, take a look at SPACs and the litigation risks that SPAC sponsors can face, as well as the insurance issues that can arise in claims involving SPAC sponsors. 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: Litigation Risks and Insurance Issues for SPAC Sponsors

In the latest SPAC-related securities class action lawsuit to be filed, a plaintiff shareholder has filed a post-merger lawsuit against a commercial space launch company that merged with a SPAC in June 2021. As is the case with many of the SPAC-related securities lawsuits, the defendant company was sued after its share price declined following the publication of a short-seller report. A copy of the complaint filed against Astra Space, Inc. on February 9, 2022 can be found here.
Continue Reading Post-Merger Commercial Space Launch Company Hit with SPAC-Related Securities Suit

In the latest example of a SPAC-related securities class action lawsuit against a post-SPAC-merger company in the electric vehicle industry, a plaintiff shareholder has filed a securities suit against Electric Last Mile Solutions, Inc. an EV company that merged with a SPAC in June 2021. The lawsuit comes after the company announced the departure of its CEO and its Chairman and the need for the company to restate prior financial statements. A copy of the plaintiff’s February 3, 2022 complaint can be found here.
Continue Reading SPAC-Related Securities Suit Filed Against Electric Vehicle Company

Securities class action lawsuit filings “plummeted” in 2021 compared to recent prior years, largely as a result of declines in M&A litigation and in the number of “core” Rule 10b-5 lawsuits, according to the latest annual report from Cornerstone Research. According to the report, entitled “Securities Class Action Filings: 2021 Year in Review,” the number of new federal and state securities class action lawsuit filings decline 35% compared to 2020, but nevertheless remained “in line” with the 2012-2016 average. The report can be found here. Cornerstone Research’s February 2, 2022 press release about the report can be found here. My summary of the 2021 federal court securities class action lawsuit filings can be found here.
Continue Reading Cornerstone Research: Securities Suit Filings “Plummet” in 2021

One of the biggest stories in the financial world for the last 18-24 months has been the astonishing surge in SPAC-related activity. Some readers will recall that in the midst of the SPAC ballyhoo, three academics had sounded a serious note of caution. In their conspicuous November 2020 paper, “A Sober Look at SPACs” (here), Stanford Law Professor Michael Klausner, NYU Law Professor Michael Ohlrogge, and Stanford Research Associate Emily Ruan warned, among other things, that SPAC shares were highly diluted, that their post-SPAC-merger performance was poor, and that sponsors’ returns were extraordinarily high.

Critics at the time suggested that the academics’ research was out of date, and that later SPACs addressed the concerns the authors noted in their  data set from an earlier time period. In response to the criticisms, the authors have now updated their earlier paper and published their research results in a January 24, 2022 post on the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance entitled “A Second Look at SPACs: Is This Time Different?” (here). As detailed below, the authors conclude, based on their review of more recent SPAC transactions, that, contrary to the assertion of SPAC defenders, “this time is not different,” and that “SPACs remain highly diluted, and their returns remain poor.”

And in a separate paper that provides additional interesting reading about de-SPAC transactions, on January 24, 2022, the Freshfields law firm published a statistical analysis of 2021 de-SPACs entitled “2021 De-SPAC Debrief” (here), which, as also discussed below, provides an abundance of additional  information.
Continue Reading SPACs and De-SPACs: Just the Facts

As I noted in my recent year-end wrap up, one of the top D&O stories of 2021 was the surge of SPAC-related securities litigation during the year. Most of these SPAC-related lawsuits have only just been filed, and it remains to be seen how they will fare. However, in a development that may represent an early sign concerning the prospects for these cases, on January 14, 2022, a federal district court substantially denied the motion to dismiss in the securities class action lawsuit filed last year against electric vehicle battery developer and manufacturer, QuantumScape. As discussed below, the court’s dismissal motion ruling has several noteworthy features. Northern District of California Judge William H. Orrick’s January 14, 2022 in the QuantumScape case can be found here.
Continue Reading SPAC-Related Securities Suit Dismissal Motion Substantially Denied

As I noted in my recent round-up of the Top Ten D&O Stories of 2021, one of last year’s important securities litigation stories was the onslaught during the year of SPAC-related securities class action lawsuit filings. I also added in the year-end round-up my projection that SPAC-related securities suits could be an even bigger factor in 2022. Though we are only in the opening days of 2022, the filing of SPAC-related securities suits in the New Year has already begun. On January 7, 2022, a shareholder plaintiff filed the first SPAC-related securities suit of 2022 against the post-merger company and certain of its officers, as well as against former officers and directors of the SPAC itself and its Sponsor. A copy of the complaint filed against Talkspace, Inc. can be found here.
Continue Reading First SPAC-Related Securities Suit of the New Year Filed