I know from conversations with D&O insurance professionals outside the United States that they find it somewhere between astounding and incomprehensible that a company whose unsponsored level 1 ADRs trade over-the-counter in the U.S. can be subject to a U.S. securities lawsuit – but, as discussed in prior posts (here and here), that is what the Ninth Circuit and District Court held in the Toshiba securities lawsuit. However, a recent ruling in a securities suit involving global mining company Glencore plc suggests a means by which non-U.S. companies with unsponsored Level I ADRs in the U.S. nevertheless may still be able to avoid litigation in the U.S. In a July 31, 2020 ruling, District of New Jersey Judge Susan Wigenton granted the company’s motion to dismiss ADR investors’ securities suit against the company on forum non conveniens grounds.
Continue Reading Unsponsored ADR Investors’ Securities Suit Dismissed on Forum Non Conveniens Grounds

As discussed at length here, in January 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California ruled that the U.S. securities class action lawsuit brought against Toshiba by investors who had purchased the company’s unsponsored Level I American Depository Receipts (ADRs) in the U.S. can proceed. As discussed in the following guest post from the Norton Rose Fulbright law firm and AIG, this ruling has important implications for non-U.S. companies whose ADRs trade in the U.S., as well as for companies contemplating issuing ADRs in the U.S. For more background on the risk of securities class actions and public companies via ADRs please see AIG’s earlier white paper on the subject. I would like to thank Norton Rose Fulbright and AIG 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. The memo follows below.
Continue Reading Guest Post: Post-Toshiba U.S. Securities Litigation Risk for Non-U.S. Companies

In the course of my various foreign travels, I have had occasion to speak to many underwriters and brokers who place D&O insurance for non-U.S. companies whose American Depository Receipts (ADRs) trade in the U.S. There is a pervasive, inexplicable, and mistaken belief among some underwriters and brokers that companies whose Level I ADRs trade in the U.S cannot be subject to a U.S. securities suit. These individuals persist in this error despite the Toshiba case, in which the Ninth Circuit reversed a district court’s dismissal of the securities suit brought by investors in Toshiba’s unsponsored Level I ADRs. Because of the persistence of the error about the potential liability of companies with ADRs trading in the U.S., it is mandatory for every single underwriter or broker who places D&O insurance for a non-U.S. ADR company to read the latest court ruling in the Toshiba case. As discussed below, the U.S. securities lawsuit brought against Toshiba brought by purchasers of the company’s unsponsored Level I ADRs is going forward. 
Continue Reading U.S. Securities Suit of Toshiba’s Unsponsored ADR Investors to Proceed – Including Even Their Japanese Law Claims

As I noted in a recent post, the securities class action lawsuit pending against Toshiba raises the question of whether or not the U.S. securities laws apply to transactions in unsponsored American Depository Receipts (ADRs). The company’s petition to the U.S. Supreme Court posed the larger question of whether there are exceptions to the second-prong of the Morrison standard holding that the U.S. securities laws apply to domestic transactions in securities. A number of organizations and even governments filed amicus briefs urging the Court to take up the case. However, in a June 24, 2019, the Court denied the company’s petition, sending the case back to the lower courts and, as discussed below, leaving behind several unanswered questions.
Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Denies Cert in Toshiba Unsponsored ADRs Securities Suit

daimlerFollowing the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2010 decision in Morrison v. National Australia Bank (here), the lower federal courts have set about implementing the Morrison decision’s holding that the U.S. securities laws do not apply extraterritorially. One issue that the courts have wrestled with is whether or not the U.S. securities laws apply to over-the-counter (OTC) transactions in the U.S. of a foreign company’s American Depositary Receipts (ADRs). A series of recent cases suggest the courts are closer to having these issues sorted out. Most recently, a May 31, 2017 decision by Central District of California Judge James Otero held, consistently with other recent federal district court decisions, that the U.S. securities laws do apply to OTC transactions in Daimler, A.G.’s sponsored level 1 ADRs.  A copy of Judge Otero’s decision can be found here.
Continue Reading U.S. Securities Laws Apply to OTC Transactions in Daimler’s Sponsored ADRs

gavelOne of the practical effects of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Morrison v. National Australia Bank is that, as a result of the decision, it is more difficult to bring a class action in a U.S. court under the U.S. securities laws against a company based outside the U.S. The Court rejected earlier standards allowing U.S. courts to consider securities suits against non-U.S. companies if conduct relating to or effects of an alleged fraud took place in the U.S. Instead, the Court said that U.S. securities laws apply only to “transactions in securities listed on domestic exchanges, and domestic transactions in other securities.”

At the time of the Morrison decision, the expectation was that the number of U.S. securities class action lawsuits filed against non-U.S. companies would decline. As it has turned out however, the number of securities lawsuits filed against non-U.S. companies in each of the years since Morrison has been greater than the number filed in the years prior to the decision. Indeed, for the past several years, non-U.S. companies have been likelier to get hit with a securities class action lawsuit than domestic companies.
Continue Reading The Continuing Question of Morrison’s Applicability to ADR Transactions

toshibaIt has been nearly six years since the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 2010 decision in Morrison v. National Australia Bank, in which the Court restricted the ability of shareholders of non-U.S. companies who purchased their shares outside the U.S. to file securities fraud lawsuit in U.S. courts under the U.S. securities laws. In the intervening years, many of the issues questions that the Morrison decision presented have been resolved by the lower courts. However, one issue that has continued to percolate is the question of whether under Morrison the U.S. securities laws apply to transactions involving foreign companies’ unsponsored ADRs traded over-the-counter (OTC) in the U.S.

These issues were presented in the class action lawsuit filed in June 2015 in the Central District of California against Toshiba Corporation. The consolidated lawsuit purported to be filed on behalf of a class of investors who purchased unsponsored Toshiba American Depositary Shares (ADS) over-the-counter in the U.S., as well as on behalf of investors who purchased Toshiba shares on the Tokyo stock exchange. In an interesting May 20, 2016 opinion (here), Central District of California Judge Dean Pregerson held under Morrison that the U.S. securities laws do not apply to unsponsored OTC transactions in Toshiba’s ADSs. Judge Pregerson also granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss the claims of the investors who purchased Toshiba shares on the Tokyo stock exchange.
Continue Reading Under Morrison, U.S. Securities Laws Don’t Apply to Toshiba’s Unsponsored ADRs Purchased OTC in the U.S.