Corporate Defense and Disputes

Important developments in U.S. securities law, white collar criminal defense, regulatory enforcement and other emerging issues impacting financial services institutions, publicly traded companies and private investment funds

Qualcomm Escapes Diversity Suit

Another diversity-based derivative suit was dismissed this week by a federal district court, joining a list of decisions that have rejected similar shareholder allegations.

This most recent decision, from the District of Delaware, dismissed claims alleging Qualcomm Inc. had allowed unlawful and discriminatory practices to exist within its executive ranks.  Though the complaint was initially filed in the Southern District of California, Qualcomm’s Bylaws contain a forum-selection provision designating Delaware as the exclusive forum for derivative litigation, and thus the case was transferred to Delaware in March 2021. Continue Reading

DOJ Announces New Guidance for Prosecuting Corporate Crime in Speech by Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco

Late last month, Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco delivered a keynote speech at the ABA’s National Institute on White Collar Crime event in Washington, DC.  Her remarks outlined observed trends in white collar crime as well as AG Merrick Garland’s and her priorities and initial action items for combatting corporate crime.  Corporate defense and in-house counsel, take note. Continue Reading

Second Circuit Holds that Expanding FSIA to Criminal Cases Would Not Save a Turkish Bank from U.S. Prosecution

The Second Circuit recently held that a denial of a motion to dismiss a criminal indictment based on the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (“FSIA”) is immediately appealable under the collateral-order doctrine but concluded that even if FSIA did provide immunity from criminal prosecutions, that immunity would not extend to a foreign sovereign’s or its instrumentality’s commercial activities.

Read the full post on Proskauer’s Minding Your Business blog.

Disgorgement Continues at the SEC

On October 12, 2021, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a disgorgement order issued by the SEC, in—according to the opinion— the first appellate ruling on the topic since the Supreme Court’s 2020 decision in Liu v. SEC. Continue Reading

Over $1 Billion Whistleblower Awards Paid to Date by the SEC

Last week, the SEC announced accumulated awards of over $1 billion paid to 207 whistleblowers since its first award in 2012.  Over $500 million was awarded in fiscal year 2021 alone.

The SEC crossed the billion-dollar milestone with awards of $110 million and $4 million to two whistleblowers on September 15, 2021.  The $110 million award marks the second-highest award to date and consists of $40 million stemming from an SEC case and $70 million for related actions by another agency.

Continue Reading

Northern District of California Dismisses Derivative Lawsuit Alleging Online Child Privacy Law Violations

The acronym “ESG” is shorthand for environmental, social, and governance concerns.  In recent years, companies have used “ESG” to refer to initiatives involving climate change, responding to racial injustice, and supporting workers’ rights.  The “S” in ESG can be a bit nebulous, however, as “social” may refer to any number of issues affecting a corporation, its stakeholders, and the community at large. For example, children’s privacy has always been a hot button social issue, but it has only gained traction during the COVID-19 pandemic as children have transitioned to remote learning and socializing online more than ever before. And a derivative lawsuit suggests that companies may want to ensure they are responding to child privacy concerns as part of their regular ESG practices and policies. Continue Reading

SEC Brings First Enforcement Action Against Alternative Data Provider

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filed a settled securities fraud action against App Annie Inc., one of the largest sellers of market data on how apps on mobile devices are performing, and its co-founder and former CEO and Chairman Bertrand Schmitt.  The settlement is the first enforcement action brought by the SEC against an alternative data provider.  As part of the settlement, App Annie agreed to pay a $10 million civil penalty and Schmitt agreed to pay a $300,000 penalty and to be barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company for three years.

Read the full client alert here.

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