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

Category Archives: Corporate Governance

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Delaware House Passes Bill Prohibiting Bylaws on Fee-Shifting

Yesterday, the Delaware House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill prohibiting publicly traded corporations from adopting bylaws that force shareholders to pay legal fees if they do not prevail in lawsuits asserting internal corporate claims against Delaware corporations.  The bill would also allow Delaware corporations to designate Delaware – but not any other state – … Continue Reading

Delaware Senate Passes Bill Prohibiting Bylaws on Fee Shifting

Yesterday, the Delaware Senate passed legislation prohibiting publicly-traded corporations from adopting bylaws that force shareholders to pay legal fees if they bring internal corporate claims against the company in court and do not win. The legislation also allows Delaware corporations to designate Delaware – but not any other state – as the exclusive forum for … Continue Reading

SEC Releases Results of Cybersecurity Examination Sweep

On February 3, 2015, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) issued a Risk Alert that summarized its findings about cybersecurity preparedness in the securities industry.  As part of its Cyber Security Examination Initiative, the OCIE collected and analyzed information about cybersecurity practices and trends from over 100 registered investment advisers and broker-dealers.  … Continue Reading

FINRA Cybersecurity Report Highlights Risks, Best Practices

On February 3, 2015, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) issued its Report on Cybersecurity Practices. Reinforcing FINRA’s emphasis on protecting investor information, the report discusses the results of a recent industry-wide cybersecurity examination and presents a list of principles and best practices to guide the industry’s cybersecurity efforts going forward. 2014 Cybersecurity Examination Last year, FINRA … Continue Reading

OCC No Longer Issuing Anti-Money Laundering Recommendations

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) examiners stated on Monday that they will no longer make recommendations on how banks can better comply with anti-money laundering (“AML”) regulations.  Rather, the policy change designates all AML problems either as matters requiring attention or as violations of law.  Thus, all AML problems could see enforcement … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Defines “Extraterritorial” Applicability of Federal Securities Laws in United States v. Georgiou

Originally published as a Proskauer Client Alert. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit added its voice yesterday to the ongoing judicial effort to construe the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Morrison v. National Australia Bank, concerning the extent to which the federal securities laws apply to securities transactions involving transnational elements. The Morrison decision had … Continue Reading

Alstom to Pay Largest FCPA Criminal Penalty in History

Earlier this week, Alstom S.A., a French multinational power and transportation company, pleaded guilty in the District of Connecticut to a two-count information charging it with violating the accounting provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  The penalty levied against Alstom, over $772 million, will be the largest criminal fine that has ever been imposed … Continue Reading

Delaware Legislature to Resume Debate in January on Bylaws Imposing Liability on Shareholders

The D&O Diary featured a version of this post, entitled “New Debate in January on Delaware Bylaws re Shareholder Liability,” as a guest blog post. Many thanks to Kevin LaCroix of The D&O Diary for publishing our post. The ability of corporations to impose liability on shareholders through bylaws and charter provisions has been the subject of … Continue Reading

Applying Delaware’s Direct vs. Derivative Analysis to Contract Claims

In NAF Holdings, LLC v. Li & Fung (Trading) Limited, 2014 WL 6462825 (2d Cir. Nov. 19, 2014), the Second Circuit considered, but did not decide, whether the usual direct/derivative analysis governing minority stockholder claims against corporate fiduciaries should also apply to bar a contract claim against an unaffiliated outsider.  Finding itself unable to resolve this issue … Continue Reading

SEC Focus on Disclosure Issues for Municipal Securities, Private Equity and ETFs

At the recent Columbia Law School Conference, “Hot Topics: Leading Current Issues in Securities Regulation and Enforcement,” SEC Commissioner Kara M. Stein’s keynote address focused on a number of transparency and disclosure issues regarding municipal securities, private equity and exchange traded funds. Municipal Securities Commissioner Stein highlighted the importance of municipal finance to the growth of … Continue Reading

DOJ Announces Record Year of Over $5 billion in False Claims Act Recoveries

2014 was a banner year for federal recoveries under the False Claims Act (“FCA”). In a press release dated November 20, 2014, the DOJ announced that its total recoveries – including those from both settlements and judgments – amounted to $5.69 billion for the fiscal year ending September 30th. These results mark the first time … Continue Reading

Private Equity Endures Heightened Public Scrutiny

The public scrutiny on private equity fund sponsors has continued to intensify this month, evidenced by at least three recent events. First, the government announced that it was probing performance figures at private equity funds: SEC Probing Private Equity Performance Figures. This focus on performance should not come as a surprise. Financial performance is what … Continue Reading

Business-Judgment Rule Applied in NY to Going-Private Transaction Where Procedural Protections Exist

Originally published as a Proskauer Client Alert. The New York Appellate Division, First Department, ruled yesterday that the business-judgment rule – not the entire-fairness standard of review – can apply to a going-private transaction with the majority shareholder where the majority shareholder did not participate in the board’s vote on the merger, the remaining directors … Continue Reading

Supreme Court May Reject Argument that Opinion Statements Are Actionable Simply Because False

During oral arguments in Omnicare v. Laborers District Council last week, the Supreme Court appeared to signal a rejection of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ position that a sincerely held statement of opinion or belief may be actionable under the Securities Act of 1933 simply because it was incorrect. The case concerns statements such … Continue Reading

Court Follows 5th Circuit Asadi Decision, Dismisses Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Claim

Guest Post from Proskauer’s Whistleblower Defense Blog. Written By Steven J. Pearlman, Lloyd Chinn, Harris Mufson and Noa Baddish on November 12, 2014 The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in Verfuerth v. Orion Energy Systems, Inc., No. 14-cv-352 (E.D. Wis. Nov. 4, 2014) recently ruled that the Dodd-Frank whistleblower protection provision … Continue Reading

Ralph Ferrara on Real-World Crisis Management

Proskauer litigator Ralph Ferrara spoke last week on real-world crisis management – “event horizons and black holes” – at PLI’s 46th Annual Securities Regulation Institute in New York. Recently named to the inaugural class of the Securities Docket’s Enforcement Hall of Fame, Mr. Ferrara presented a complex hypothetical and discussed financial statement disclosure litigation and … Continue Reading

Don’t Get Burned by the “Sunshine:” Risk Factors for Venture Capital Firms in an Era of Increasing SEC Scrutiny

Originally published in the Venture Capital Review, 2014 edition.   Andrew J. Bowden, the Director of the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, gave a speech entitled “Spreading Sunshine in Private Equity” in May 2014. While sounding cheery, the “spreading sunshine” metaphor was an ironic evocation of Justice Brandeis’s famous statement that “sunlight is … Continue Reading

AAG Caldwell Provides Guidance on Adequate Compliance Programs

Recently confirmed Assistant Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division, Leslie Caldwell, has laid out her views as to what comprises the “hallmarks of good compliance programs.” In her new position, AAG Caldwell will repeatedly be in the position to decide whether corporate compliance programs are sufficient when making charging and settlement … 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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