The U.S. Supreme Court – in a short, concise, unanimous opinion – has ruled that to assert Section 11 claims against Slack in connection with the company’s June 2019 direct listing, the plaintiff must plead and prove that he purchased shares pursuant to Slack’s allegedly misleading registration statement. Slack had offered both registered and unregistered shares in the direct listing. Even though the plaintiff had not alleged that the shares he purchased were registered shares, the Ninth Circuit had allowed the plaintiff’s claims to stand. The Supreme Court vacated the Ninth Circuit’s order and remanded the case to the district court. At a minimum, the Supreme Court’s ruling means Section 11 plaintiffs must plead that their shares are traceable to the offering. The practical implication of the Court’s ruling may be that the companies conducting direct listings cannot be sued under Section 11. A copy of the Court’s June 1, 2023, opinion can be found here.Continue Reading Even in Direct Listing, Section 11 Plaintiff Must Trace Shares to Registration Statement

As readers of this blog know, in the last couple of years a significant number of SPAC-related securities lawsuits have been filed, often arising after the post-merger de-SPAC company stumbles following the SPAC merger. In many of these cases, the securities suit plaintiffs often allege that the pre-merger private company made misleading statements about its business or operations, the truth about which only became apparent after the merger with the SPAC was completed.

In an interesting decision in a securities suit involving the used car consignment company CarLotz, which merged with a SPAC in January 2021, the court held that the named plaintiffs, one who purchased shares of the pre-merger SPAC and another bought shares in the post-merger de-SPAC, did not have standing under the securities laws to sue for alleged misrepresentations made by the pre-merger private company. Because this issue often comes up in SPAC-related securities suits, the court’s ruling potentially could have important implications in other SPAC lawsuits. A copy of the Southern District of New York’s March 31, 2023, order can be found here.Continue Reading Plaintiffs Lack Standing to Sue Over Pre-Merger Statements of SPAC Target Company

The directors’ and officers’ liability environment is always changing, but 2022 was a particularly eventful year, with important consequences for the D&O insurance marketplace. The past year’s many developments also have significant implications for what may lie ahead in 2023 – and possibly for years to come.  I have set out below the Top Ten D&O Stories of 2022, with a focus on future implications. Please note that on Thursday, January 12, 2023 at 11:00 AM EST, my colleagues Marissa Streckfus, Chris Bertola, and I will be conducting a free, hour-long webinar in which we will discuss The Top Ten D&O Stories of 2022. Registration for the webinar can be found here. I hope you will please join us for the webinar.Continue Reading The Top Ten D&O Stories of 2022

On December 13, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court granted the petition of Slack Technologies to have the court take up the question of the plaintiff’s standing to pursue ’33 Act liability claims against the company. The standing question arises because the plaintiff bought his Slack shares in connection with the June 2019 transaction in which Slack went public through a direct listing rather than through a traditional IPO. Though the standing questions arises in the relatively narrow context of the company’s direct listing, the standing questions at issue potentially could affect ’33 Act liability claims in other contexts as well. A copy of the U.S. Supreme Court’s December 13, 2022 order in the Slack case can be found here.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Agrees to Take Up Question of ’33 Act Standing in Slack Direct Listing Case

In one of the largest shareholder derivative lawsuit settlements ever, involving a very unusual derivative claim under Cayman Island law prosecuted in a U.S. court on behalf of a China-based Cayman Islands company, the parties to the Renren derivative litigation have agreed to settle the case for at least $300 million. The settlement is subject to a “true up” process that could increase the ultimate amount of the settlement payments. The settlement is also subject to court approval. The parties’ October 7, 2021 settlement stipulation can be found here. Renren’s October 8, 2021 press release about the settlement can be found here. An October 8, 2021 press release from the lead plaintiff’s counsel about the settlement can be found here.
Continue Reading N.Y. Derivative Suit Against China-Based Cayman Islands Company Settles for $300 Million

When companies are hit with cybersecurity incidents, class action privacy litigation often follows. However, claimants in these kinds of cases face a threshold challenge of showing they have suffered a sufficient “injury in fact” to establish that they have standing to assert their claims. The following guest post, written by Paul Ferrillo, Kristine Argentine, Emily Dorner, and Alexandra Drury of the Seyfarth Shaw law firm, provides a survey of the current state of play for the standing requirements in this type of litigation. 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: First There was Litigation; And Then There Was Standing

Plaintiffs seeking to pursue negligence claims for the disclosure of their personal information in a data breach often face hurdles in pleading a sufficient injury. The claimants’ failure to plead a sufficient injury frequently is the basis for dismissal. However, in a very interesting recent decision, the Georgia Supreme Court reversed the intermediate appellate court’s affirmance of the dismissal of the plaintiffs’ data breach claims, finding that the claimants had sufficient standing to assert their claims where they alleged that the disclosure of their personal information left them at an “imminent and substantial risk of identity theft.” As discussed below, the Court’s holding arguably makes data breach claims under Georgia law less susceptible to dismissal. However, as also discussed below, there are important limitations to the Court’s holding.
Continue Reading Georgia Supreme Court: Risk of Future Identity Theft Sufficient to Support Data Breach Negligence Claim

As courts have wrestled with standing issues in a variety of kinds of cases, the central question has been whether or not under the standard the U.S. Supreme Court enunciated in the Spokeo case the plaintiff alleged an injury that is sufficiently “concrete.” The Supreme Court remanded the Spokeo case itself to the Ninth Circuit for further proceedings to determine whether the plaintiff’s allegations met the high court’s standard. On August 15, 2017, the Ninth Circuit issued its ruling in the remanded case that the injury the plaintiff alleged was sufficiently concrete to meet the Supreme Court’s test. This ruling could boost plaintiffs as they seek to resist defendants’ efforts for an early dismissal in cases in which plaintiffs are alleging a statutory violation, such as Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) cases, Telephone Consumer Protection Act cases, and Truth in Lending Act cases. The Ninth Circuit’s opinion can be found here.   
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit’s Standing Ruling in Remanded Spokeo Case Could Boost Plaintiffs

In the latest decision in which class action consumer data breach claimants have been successful in establishing the requisite standing to pursue their claims, on August 1, 2017, the D.C. Circuit held that the claimants’ risk of future harm is sufficient to meet Article III standing requirements. This decision is the latest in a growing number of federal circuit decisions finding that data breach claimants have satisfied standing requirements, but it also deepens a circuit split that could mean eventual U.S. Supreme Court review of the issue. The D.C. Circuit’s August 1 opinion in the Attias v. Care First case can be found here.  
Continue Reading Deepening Circuit Split on Data Breach Suit Standing

sixth circuit sealOne of defendants’ most significant arguments in opposing data breach victims’ negligence and breach of privacy claims has been that the claimants that have not suffered actual fraud or identity theft can show no cognizable injury and therefore lack Article III standing to assert their claims. Appellate decisions in the Seventh and Ninth Circuit have previously taken a bite out of this defense, in rulings holding that the victims’ fear of future harm is sufficient to establish standing. Now the Sixth Circuit in a case involving alleged victims of a data breach at Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company has joined these other circuits, holding that the  claimants’ heightened risk for fraud and mitigation costs were sufficient to establish Article III standing. The Sixth Circuit’s September 12, 2016 opinion, which can be found here, represents the latest in a series of developments evincing courts’ increasing willingness to recognize fear of potential future harm as sufficient to establish standing, which in turn may make it easier for the plaintiffs’ claims in these kinds of data breach cases to go forward.
Continue Reading Sixth Circuit: Data Breach Victims’ Heightened Risk of Future Harm Establishes Article III Standing