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

Jonathan Richman

Jonathan Richman

Partner

Jonathan Richman represents a variety of companies in securities class actions, shareholder derivative actions, internal investigations, SEC investigations, corporate governance, insider trading, D&O insurance and related matters. Many of those matters involve international elements, including representations of non-U.S. issuers in U.S. litigation and in landmark non-U.S. collective settlements under Dutch law in the Netherlands. Jonathan’s clients have included Hewlett Packard, Royal Dutch/Shell, Zurich Insurance Group, Halliburton, and Waste Management.

Jonathan writes extensively on topics ranging from securities and insider-trading law, corporate governance and fiduciary issues to non-U.S. law on collective actions. His articles have been published in major legal publications.

 

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Supreme Court Hears Argument on Meaning of “Personal Benefit” in Insider Trading

All eyes were on the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday as it heard arguments in Salman v. United States (No. 15-628) concerning the “personal benefit” required to establish a claim for insider trading. After an hour punctuated by the Justices’ constant questioning of attorneys for both the defendant and the government, it appears unlikely that the Supreme Court … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Affirms Exclusion of Certain Foreign Purchasers and Purchases from Securities Class Action

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a lengthy opinion today in the long-running In re Vivendi, S.A. Securities Litigation, affirming the jury’s verdict on liability and addressing issues about loss causation and expert-witness testimony.  But the tail on the proverbial dog also dealt with another set of issues that this blog … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Holds That SOX Disgorgement of Incentive Compensation Does Not Depend on Executives’ Own Misconduct

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held today that the Sarbanes-Oxley Act’s disgorgement provision – which requires disgorgement of certain CEO and CFO compensation when an issuer restates its financial statements “as a result of misconduct” – applies even if the CEO and CFO were not personally involved in the misconduct. Although … Continue Reading

Key Takeaways from Cornerstone Research’s Securities Class-Action Filings 2016 Midyear Assessment

Cornerstone Research recently released its 2016 midyear assessment of federal securities class-actions filings. The report finds an increase in filings in the first half of 2016, with particular increases in M&A filings, filings against U.S.-exchange-listed companies and S&P 500 companies, and filings within both the Financial and Consumer Non-Cyclical sectors. Below are some key takeaways … Continue Reading

First Circuit Affirms Another Insider-Trading Conviction

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit yesterday affirmed another conviction in a pair of appeals arising from insider-trading prosecutions.  The decision in United States v. McPhail confirms that, under current First Circuit precedent, a tipper of inside information can receive “personal benefits” based on expectations of a free dinner, wine, and a massage … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Accepts Materialization-of-Risk Standard for Loss Causation

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit yesterday recognized the “materialization of the risk” standard as a means of proving loss causation in securities-fraud cases. The court’s decision in Ohio Public Employees Retirement System v. Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. aligns the Sixth Circuit with the majority of other circuits, which have also … Continue Reading

SEC Adopts Amendments to Rules Governing Its Administrative Proceedings

Earlier today, the SEC announced that it will adopt certain amendments to its rules of practice governing administrative proceedings. Faced with criticism from practitioners and the media regarding a perceived “home field advantage” in administrative proceedings, as well as various constitutional challenges to the ALJ process, the SEC has now approved amendments “intended to update … Continue Reading

U.S. Court of Appeals to Consider Class-Certification Ruling in Petrobras Securities Litigation

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has allowed the defendants in the Petrobras securities litigation to pursue an immediate appeal from the District Court’s order certifying classes of investors who had purchased unlisted Petrobras securities in off-exchange transactions.  The appeal in In re Petrobras Securities Litigation could help resolve questions about whether … Continue Reading

Wine, Steak, and Massage Parlors Are Personal Benefits for Insider Trading

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held yesterday that friends’ gifts of wine, steak dinners, and other luxury items can constitute the types of personal benefit needed to establish a breach of duty in connection with a prosecution for insider trading. The court’s May 26, 2016 decision in United States v. Parigian also … Continue Reading

California Federal Court Holds That U.S. Securities Laws Do Not Apply to Unsponsored, Unlisted ADRs

The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California held on May 20, 2016 that the federal securities laws do not apply to U.S. transactions in unlisted, unsponsored American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) for a foreign issuer’s shares. The decision in Stoyas v. Toshiba Corporation also held that principles of international comity and forum non … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Clarifies Jurisdiction Under Securities Exchange Act

On May 16, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the provision of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 granting federal district courts exclusive jurisdiction over suits brought to enforce the Exchange Act is subject to the same jurisdictional test established by the general federal-question jurisdictional statute. The Court held in Merrill Lynch v. Manning … Continue Reading

N.Y. Court of Appeals Adopts Business Judgment Rule, with Conditions, for Going-Private Mergers

The New York Court of Appeals has followed Delaware in holding that the business-judgment rule applies to going-private mergers as long as certain shareholder-protective measures are met. The court’s May 5, 2016 decision in In the Matter of Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc. Shareholder Litigation, Case No. 54, adopts the standard set forth by the Delaware Supreme … Continue Reading

Second Circuit: Intent to Harm Is Not Required for Criminal Conviction Under Investment Advisers Act

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit yesterday affirmed the fraud conviction of a registered investment adviser and held that proof of intent to harm is not an element of a criminal conviction under section 206 of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, 15 U.S.C. §80b-6 (“IAA”).  The court’s decision in U.S. v. Tagliaferri, … Continue Reading

Cornerstone Research Reports “Surge” in Securities Class-Action Settlements in 2015

Cornerstone Research’s latest annual report discloses that the number and average size of securities class-action settlements increased in 2015 as compared to 2014.  Total settlement dollars rose to more than $3 billion – similar to the annual average for the prior five years, but a significant increase from 2014. Cornerstone attributes the 2015 increase in … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Adopts Actual-Knowledge Standard for MD&A Disclosures

The Second Circuit held yesterday that Item 303 of SEC Regulation S-K requires issuers to disclose only those trends, events, or uncertainties about which the issuer has actual knowledge, rather than those matters about which the issuer allegedly should have known.  The court’s decision in Indiana Public Retirement System v. SAIC, Inc. also reinforced prior … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Addresses Statutes of Repose and Tolling in Securities Class Actions

The Second Circuit has clarified the applicable statutes of repose for securities-fraud and proxy-related claims under §§ 9(f), 14(a), and 18(a) of the Securities Exchange Act. The court’s March 17, 2016 decision in DeKalb County Pension Fund v. Transocean Ltd. holds that the five-year statute of repose enacted in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (“SOX”) applies to … Continue Reading

Petrobras Rulings on SLUSA Preemption and Brazilian-Law Damages

In re Petrobras Securities Litigation continues to produce interesting developments – this time on SLUSA preemption and Brazilian law.  On March 12, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York held that the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act (“SLUSA”) does not preempt claims asserted under foreign law and that Brazilian law … Continue Reading

The Netherlands Returns as a Collective-Settlement Forum

Ageas (the former Fortis) and several organizations representing Fortis shareholders announced yesterday a EUR 1.204 billion settlement of shareholder claims under the Dutch Act on Collective Settlement of Mass Claims (the “WCAM”). The proposed settlement, which is subject to approval by the Amsterdam Court of Appeal, marks the reemergence of the Netherlands as a potential forum for … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Reinforces Liability Standard in Securities Cases Based on Statements of Opinion

On March 4, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reinforced the stringency of the new standard for liability in securities cases arising from allegedly misleading statements of opinion. Construing the Supreme Court’s 2015 Omnicare decision, the Second Circuit held in Gen. Partners Glenn Tongue v. Sanofi Pharmaceuticals, Inc. that a statement … Continue Reading

U.S. Court Certifies Classes in Petrobras Securities Litigation

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York yesterday certified two classes of investors who had purchased Petrobras securities on U.S. exchanges or in other U.S. transactions. The February 2, 2016 decision in In re Petrobras Securities Litigation held that potential questions about whether foreign courts would recognize a U.S. class-action judgment and … Continue Reading

Delaware Court of Chancery Rejects Another Disclosure-Only M&A Settlement and Warns of “Increasingly Vigilant” Scrutiny

The Delaware Court of Chancery last week dealt another blow to disclosure-only settlements of merger litigation and refused to approve a proposed class-action settlement arising from Zillow, Inc.’s acquisition of Trulia, Inc. The court’s decision held that the supplemental disclosures that formed the basis of the settlement were not “material or even helpful to Trulia’s … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Rejects Riley Appeal over Personal-Benefit Standard for Insider Trading

The Second Circuit last week affirmed the conviction of a former corporate executive on charges of insider trading.  The court’s unpublished decision on January 14 in United States v. Riley held that the Government had adduced sufficient evidence that the defendant had received a personal benefit – in the form of investment advice – in exchange … Continue Reading

Supreme Court to Review Insider-Trading Decision on Personal Benefit

The Supreme Court agreed today to review the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s decision concerning the “personal benefit” required to establish a claim for insider trading.  The grant of certiorari in Salman v. United States (No. 15-628) could resolve a possible split between the Ninth Circuit and the Second Circuit on the type of … Continue Reading

U.S. Securities Laws Not Applicable to Certain Purchases of Petrobras Debt Securities

The narrowing of the federal securities laws’ applicability to non-U.S. transactions continues. On December 21, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York held in In re Petrobras Securities Litigation that certain purchasers of Petrobras debt securities could not sue under the federal securities laws. In so ruling, the court held … Continue Reading
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