Last week, the Fifth Circuit reversed a decision from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas that had dismissed a class action against Six Flags Entertainment Corporation. The complaint in Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System v. Six Flags Entertainment Corp., et al., alleged Six Flags and its former CEO and CFO violated federal securities laws in connection with statements regarding the construction of new theme parks in China. In overturning the lower court’s decision, the Fifth Circuit provided important guidance regarding the weight of confidential witness allegations in securities class actions, as well as evaluating legal doctrines on forward-looking statements, puffery, and scienter.
Julia Alonzo is a senior counsel in the Litigation Department with a focus on securities and corporate governance litigation. She is experienced in complex civil securities matters and parallel proceedings, including federal securities class actions, shareholder derivative lawsuits, internal investigations, and SEC investigations. In addition, Julia has represented numerous companies facing litigation relating to pending M&A transactions. Julia is also a member of Proskauer’s Asset Management Litigation team.
Julia writes on topics relating to all aspects of civil securities litigation. She regularly updates a definitive treatise on shareholder derivative law, Shareholder Derivative Litigation: Besieging the Board. She is also the co-editor of Proskauer’s Corporate Defense & Disputes blog, which focuses on federal securities litigation, as well as the Minding Your Business blog on commercial litigation.
Julia maintains an active pro bono practice, with a focus on asylum, child welfare issues, and housing law.
In the first insider trading case involving cryptocurrencies, a crypto trader was convicted of insider trading in federal district court and recently sentenced to 10 months in prison.
The defendant, Nikhil Wahi, pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to illegally trading on information tipped by his brother, a former Coinbase product manager. According to his plea, Wahi used that information to trade on 40 different kinds of crypto assets were scheduled to be listed on the Coinbase platform between April 2021 and July 2022, when he was arrested. Prosecutors alleged that Wahi used those tips to sell crypto assets for a profit. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Wahi agreed to serve ten months in prison. Wahi’s brother, Ishan Wahi, has pleaded not guilty and is due to appear in court in March.
Representatives of asset managers often take up positions on the boards of portfolio companies. We have written posts before on some of the litigation and regulatory risks that can arise, both for the asset managers and the individuals including: Portfolio Company Risk: Plaintiffs Set Sights on Sponsors and Board Directors, …
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…
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…
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 performance” disclosure requirement, is to promote transparency and make it easier for shareholders to assess a public company’s decision-making with respect to its executive compensation policies.
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 district court. It also could tee up further argument at the Supreme Court to resolve the scope of the SEC’s – and, perhaps, other administrative bodies’ – adjudicatory powers.
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 invasion of Ukraine should disclose how the conflict is affecting their operations, including the impact of evolving sanctions.