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

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Julia Alonzo

Senior Counsel

Julia Alonzo is a senior counsel in the Litigation Department with a focus on securities and corporate governance litigation. She is experienced in complex securities and white collar litigation matters, including federal securities class actions, derivative lawsuits, internal investigations and federal white collar defense.

Julia maintains an active pro bono practice, with a focus on immigration law, asylum and child welfare issues. In addition, she sits on the associate board of the Brooklyn Defender Services Family Defense Practice, which aims to provide interdisciplinary representation to low-income parents in Brooklyn Family Court.

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CFTC Head Urges Congressional Action on Crypto while SEC Leader Says Crypto Rulemaking is “Years Away”

Both the head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and leader of the SEC agree that the crypto markets need regulating, and specific rules may help clarify which agency has authority to regulate various cryptocurrency activities. The client alert below discusses both CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam’s comments and SEC Chair Gary Gensler’s remarks during … Continue Reading

New York Law Journal: What Makes a Scheme

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued a decision that may prevent the expansion of scheme liability under the federal securities laws.  The SEC brought scheme liability allegations against Rio Tinto, its CEO, and its CFO, based on their alleged failure to correct prior materially misleading statements that had been made to the company’s … Continue Reading

SEC Adopts Long-Awaited Pay Versus Performance Disclosure Rule

On August 25, 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission, in a 3-2 vote, adopted a new disclosure rule implementing the Dodd-Frank Act’s requirement that public companies disclose the relationship between compensation paid to executives and the company’s financial performance. SEC Chair Gary Gensler’s stated purpose of the new rule, commonly known as the “pay versus … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Holds SEC’s In-House Courts and Judges Unconstitutional

In Jarkesy v. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a remarkable opinion holding numerous aspects of the SEC’s administrative enforcement regime are unconstitutional.  The May 18, 2022 ruling stands to eliminate the SEC’s ability to adjudicate enforcement actions seeking penalties using ALJs, rather than bringing suit in federal … Continue Reading

SEC Issues New Guidance Regarding Russia Sanctions and Public Company Disclosures

In response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine in February, the U.S. government announced sweeping sanctions against Russia. As the conflict nears the three-month mark, businesses around the world are continuing to address compliance with these sanctions. To that end, the SEC recently issued guidance on how companies affected by the Russian … Continue Reading

SEC Proposes Extensive New Rules Applicable to SPACs and de-SPAC Transactions

This week, our corporate colleagues published a handy guide to the SEC’s new proposed rules on SPACs. Of particular note to securities watchers should be potential increases in litigation stemming from changes to the definition of “blank check company” for the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the “PSLRA”). The SEC has long given … Continue Reading

SEC Division of Examinations Announces 2022 Examination Priorities

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Examinations recently announced its examination priorities for fiscal year 2022: Private Funds; Environmental, Social, and Governance (“ESG”) Investing; Standards of Conduct; Information Security and Operational Resiliency; and Emerging Technologies and Crypto-Assets.  The Division seeks to provide investors and registrants with transparency into these areas, and that it expects registrants to … Continue Reading

Major SPAC News, Rules May Be Coming This Week

On Thursday, March 24th, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced an agenda for a March 30th open meeting for the Divisions on Corporate Finance and Investment Management.  The meeting has only one agenda item: SPACs, shell companies, and projections. In December 2021, SEC Chair Gary Gensler compared SPACs to traditional IPOs, and noted that there … Continue Reading

SEC Proposes Broad New Climate Change Disclosure Requirements

Last week, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission proposed a set of sweeping new rules requiring public companies to disclose climate-related risks in their registration statements and periodic reports.  Under the proposed rules, public companies would have to disclose the actual and potential impacts of climate change on their business, management and governance processes to … Continue Reading

Pay Versus Performance Takes Center Stage

In an era where TikTok stars outearn scores of CEOs of top earning publicly traded companies, executive compensation is no less important to the investing public or to companies striving to attract and retain top talent. Indeed, just this year the CEO of Starbucks received a 39% pay increase. Such soaring executive compensation has not … Continue Reading

SEC Defeats Motion to Dismiss Insider-Trading Complaint Alleging Novel “Shadow Trading” Theory

The SEC prevailed on a motion to dismiss a closely watched lawsuit alleging that the defendant had engaged in insider trading based on news about a not-yet-public corporate acquisition when he purchased securities of a company not involved in that deal.  The January 14, 2022 decision in SEC v. Panuwat (N.D. Cal.) marks the first time … Continue Reading

Supreme Court to Decide Whether Discovery Stays Apply to State-Court Securities Lawsuits This Fall

One of the most significant differences between bringing a securities lawsuit in state versus federal court is the application of the mandatory discovery stay set forth in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (the “PSLRA”).  Following the enactment of the PSLRA in 1995, federal courts must stay discovery in securities-law cases until after a complaint … Continue Reading

Supreme Court to Consider Securities Class Action Issue

On December 11, 2020, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in a shareholder securities litigation against Goldman Sachs.[1] On appeal, Goldman argues that federal securities law permits issuer defendants in purported class actions to rebut the presumption of reliance where the alleged misstatements are of such a generic nature that they could not be … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Rejects Adverse-Interest Exception in Fraud-on-the Market Securities Class Actions

Last week, the Ninth Circuit issued a decision that could affect analyses of corporate scienter in securities class actions. The court reversed the dismissal of In re ChinaCast Education Corporation Securities Litigation and held that a malfeasant executive’s knowledge could be imputed to his or her company when the executive acted with apparent authority. The … Continue Reading

Southern District of Florida Case Challenging Bylaw Requiring Minimum Stake to Sue Dismissed

As we have previously discussed, there has been a growing trend of corporations’ adopting various types of bylaws to define the bounds of shareholder litigation. These include forum-selection bylaws (see here) and fee-shifting bylaws (now prohibited in Delaware for stock corporations as discussed here). A novel approach, utilized by at least three Florida corporations, is … Continue Reading

Demand Futility in Delaware Derivative Actions

Introduction written by Tanya Dmitronow and Julia Pizzi. Full analysis written by Sarah Gold and Richard Spinogatti. Although they often involve overlapping issues, shareholder derivative lawsuits are fundamentally different from securities class actions. While the object of a securities class action is to hold the company (and, perhaps, its directors and officers) liable for harming investors and … Continue Reading

Of Wolf Packs, Plans and Pills: Making Puppies Out of Predators

Remember corporate raiders, green-mailers, and sharks? They have all moved up town and been embraced by ISS and its institutional investor clients as shareholder activists committed to corporate ‘‘reform.’’ Cheap capital and the expanded use of derivatives to accumulate enormous equity positions both quickly and quietly have fueled a binge that has more than tripled … Continue Reading
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