When the SEC established a Climate and ESG Task Force in March 2021, the agency said that the group would “develop initiatives to proactively identify ESG-related misconduct.” Since that time the Task Force has indeed filed enforcement actions alleging ESG-related misrepresentations. Now the agency has reached a settlement with the Brazil-based mining company Vale, S.A. of the Task Force’s first-filed enforcement action, in connection with alleged misrepresentations in the company’s sustainability report about the safety of the company’s mining dams. In the settlement, the company agreed to pay a total of $55.9 million. The enforcement action and its settlement signify the agency’s increasing focus on ESG-related disclosure and its willingness to pursue enforcement actions using existing procedural mechanisms. A copy of the SEC’s March 28, 2023, press release about the Vale settlement can be found here.
A big factor in the heightened levels of securities litigation filings in 2018 and one of the most important recent litigation trends has been the rise of event-driven securities litigation. These are securities lawsuits based not – as was the case in the past – on accounting misstatements or financial misrepresentations, but on setbacks in a company’s operations that affect a company’s share price. In recent months, securities suits have been filed following wildfires, plane crashes and data breaches. Given this trend and in light of the significance of the event, it arguably should be no surprise that plaintiff lawyers have now filed a U.S. securities class action lawsuit after the most recent Brazilian dam collapse, the January 25, 2019 disaster at Brumadinho, in Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Continue Reading Latest Brazilian Dam Disaster Leads to Event-Driven Securities Suit
On December 7, 2015, in a complaint that reflects a number of current U.S. securities class action lawsuit filing trends, a plaintiff securityholder filed a securities class action lawsuit in the Southern District of New York under the U.S. securities laws against the Brazilian mining giant Vale, S.A. and two of its officers. The complaint relates to the massive dam failure that occurred on November 5, 2015 near Mariana, in the Minas Gerais state, in Brazil. The failed dam is the property of Samarco Mineração, S.A., a joint venture between Vale and BHP Billiton. The securities suit plaintiff claims that the Vale defendants made misleading statements about the company’s safety and environmental standards and risk management, as well as about the spill itself.
Continue Reading A Burst Dam in Brazil, a U.S. Securites Lawsuit, and a Heap of Current Litigation Trends