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: Securities Litigation

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First Circuit Adopts Prevailing Standard for Applicability of Federal Securities Laws to Foreign Investors, But Rejects Second Circuit’s Narrower Test

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held yesterday that the U.S. securities laws apply to foreign brokers’ solicitations of securities purchases by foreign investors if the purchasers or sellers incurred irrevocable liability within the United States to pay for or deliver the securities. The decision in SEC v. Morrone follows the “irrevocable … Continue Reading

Failure to Cruise Past the Pleading Requirements in the Norwegian Cruise Lines Securities Class Action

On April 10, 2021, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida dismissed a securities class action complaint against Norwegian Cruise Lines (“NCL”) relating to the company’s disclosures made as the coronavirus pandemic was starting to unfold in the United States. In Douglas v. Norwegian Cruise Lines, et al., the court found … Continue Reading

Another Diversity Suit Tossed on Forum Selection Grounds

This week, another shareholder derivative suit was dismissed based on a forum selection clause contained in the company’s bylaws. In November 2020, a shareholder filed a derivative action alleging that directors and officers of The Gap, Inc., an apparel company, had failed to create meaningful diversity on the Board of Directors on within the company’s … Continue Reading

Pinterest Diversity Suits Multiply

Late last month, a new batch of plaintiffs filed a stockholder derivative suit against Pinterest, Inc., in Delaware Chancery Court, making similar allegations to those made in a pair of cases filed in the Northern District of California in 2019. The plaintiffs allege that Pinterest executives ignored and failed to correct systemic race and gender … Continue Reading

A Warning to Cryptocurrency Users from the Justice Department’s Tax Division

As you might expect during tax season, the Justice Department’s press releases seem particularly focused on tax-related issues these days.  At the start of this month, DOJ sent a stern reminder to the public that non-traditional currency users should not expect to escape federal tax law enforcement. On April 1, the district court for the … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Upholds Insider Trading Conviction, Finding Sufficient Confidentiality Duty and Personal Benefit

The Second Circuit yesterday affirmed the insider trading conviction of the principal of a potential acquiror who, in breach of a nondisclosure agreement with a potential target company, had provided a tippee with nonpublic information about an impending acquisition of the target. The decision in United States v. Chow held that: The nondisclosure agreement (“NDA”) between … Continue Reading

Decision Diagnostics Saga Continues as Investors Bring Suit

In December, the SEC filed a complaint against Decision Diagnostics and its CEO, Keith Berman, for falsely claiming the company had developed a finger prick blood test that could instantaneously detect COVID-19.  As stated in its complaint, the SEC temporarily suspended trading of Decision Diagnostics’ securities on April 23, 2020. Now, investors have brought suit … Continue Reading

Three Critical Questions That Will (Hopefully) be Answered by the SEC’s Lawsuit against Ripple

In late December 2020, the SEC filed a litigated action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against Ripple Labs Inc. and two of its executive officers (collectively, “Ripple”), alleging that Ripple raised over $1.3 billion in unregistered offerings of the digital asset known as XRP. Ripple opted not to … Continue Reading

Shareholders Cannot Sue Corporate Officers for Forward-Looking Projections that Don’t Pan Out, Ninth Circuit Affirms

It is illegal under the Securities Exchange Act to make false or misleading statements to the investing public about material facts.  At the same time, corporations and their officers must be able to make statements about the company’s future plans, projections, and aspirations without fear of opening themselves up to claims of securities law liability … Continue Reading

Delaware Supreme Court Provides Further Guidance on Books and Records Requests in AmerisourceBergen

This past year, we highlighted a Delaware Chancery case adopting an expansive view in favor of parties seeking information from companies under Section 220 of the Delaware General Corporation Law.  The Delaware Supreme Court recently affirmed the Chancery Court’s ruling, providing additional appellate guidance on Section 220 and endorsing limits the Chancery Court set on … Continue Reading

COVID-19 Misrepresentations: Blood Is Thicker Than Water

Thanks to HBO’s documentary, “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley,” and a barrage of media coverage about Elizabeth Holmes and her defunct company, Theranos, it is unmistakable that big misrepresentations can lie in public statements regarding miniscule quantities of blood. This lesson proved true again last month, when the CEO of Decision Diagnostics, … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Reaffirms that Federal Securities Laws Do Not Apply to Predominantly Foreign Transactions

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reaffirmed yesterday that the federal securities laws do not apply to “predominantly foreign” securities transactions even if those transactions might have taken place in the United States.  The ruling in Cavello Bay Reinsurance Ltd. v. Shubin Stein (No. 20-1371) reinforces the Second Circuit’s prior decisions concerning the … Continue Reading

Pinning Down Corporate Leadership

An interesting shareholder derivative suit was filed on November 30, 2020 in the Northern District of California against Pinterest, Inc. Pinterest, a visual discovery engine popular for collecting ideas for weddings and aggregating recipes, went public in April 2019. The complaint alleges that Pinterest executives “breached their fiduciary duties to the [c]ompany by perpetrating or … Continue Reading

Cakes Gone Bad: The Cheesecake Factory Faces Securities Scrutiny

COVID-related securities claims continue to rattle the marketplace. On December 7, a leading plaintiffs firm announced an investigation on behalf of shareholders of The Cheesecake Factory Inc., just days after the SEC announced it was settling charges against the company for making misleading disclosures about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its business operations … Continue Reading

SolarWinds Government Data Breach Leads to Securities Action

The massive data breach of the United States Commerce and Treasury Departments that has roiled the federal government has resulted in federal securities litigation. On January 4, 2021, Plaintiff-Shareholder Timothy Bremer filed a class action complaint against SolarWinds and SolarWinds’ corporate executives in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas. SolarWinds … 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

Second Circuit Upholds Insider-Trading Conviction and Clarifies Scope of Requisite Fiduciary Relationship

The Second Circuit yesterday affirmed the insider-trading conviction of a doctor who, in breach of a confidentiality agreement, had traded on nonpublic information about a drug trial in which he had been participating.  The decision in United States v. Kosinski (2d Cir. Sept. 22, 2020) held that: A person can be convicted of insider trading under both … Continue Reading

Corporate Scienter Requires Link Between Employees with Knowledge and the Alleged Misstatements

The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held yesterday that a securities-fraud plaintiff cannot establish corporate scienter without pleading facts showing that employees who allegedly knew of underlying corporate misconduct had some connection to the corporation’s purportedly false or misleading public statements. The decision in Jackson v. Abernathy should prevent securities plaintiffs from establishing “collective” … Continue Reading

Delaware Supreme Court Rejects Presumption of Confidentiality for Books-and-Records Productions

The Delaware Supreme Court yesterday rejected a presumption of confidentiality for documents produced pursuant to books-and-records inspection requests under § 220 of the Delaware General Corporation Law.  The decision in Tiger v. Boast Apparel, Inc. (Del. Aug. 7, 2019) holds that courts can impose confidentiality restrictions in appropriate cases, but that some justification of confidentiality is necessary – … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Hearing Raises Questions About Private Rights of Action Under § 14 of Securities Exchange

One of the more intriguing rulings of this Supreme Court Term is the Court’s one-sentence order yesterday dismissing as improvidently granted the writ of certiorari issued in Emulex Corp. v. Varjabedian (No. 18-459).  The Court had taken the case to review a Circuit split on the liability standard under § 14(e) of the Securities Exchange Act, which … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Holds that Persons Who Do Not “Make” Misstatements Can Nevertheless Be Liable for Other Securities-Fraud Violations

The Supreme Court held on March 27 that persons who do not “make” material misstatements or omissions, but who disseminate them to potential investors with fraudulent intent, can be held to have violated other provisions of the securities laws that do not depend on actually “making” the misstatements or omissions.  The Court’s decision in Lorenzo … Continue Reading

First Appellate Decision Holds that SEC Can Bring Extraterritorial Enforcement Action Based on Conduct or Effects in United States

The Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held today that the Securities and Exchange Commission may bring an enforcement action based on allegedly foreign securities transactions involving non-U.S. residents if sufficient conduct occurred in the United States.… Continue Reading

Second Circuit Again Upholds Tipper/Tippee Liability from Gift of Information Without Close Relationship

The Second Circuit confirmed this week that a “meaningfully close personal relationship” is not required for insider-trading liability where a tipper discloses inside information as a gift with the intent to benefit the tippee.  The June 25, 2018 decision on panel rehearing in United States v. Martoma (No. 14-3599) retreats from the panel’s original decision and no longer … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Rules That Federal Courts Are Not Bound to Give Conclusive Effect to Foreign Governments’ Statements About Their Laws

The Supreme Court ruled today that, when a foreign government presents a formal submission to a federal court about the content of the government’s own laws, the court should accord “respectful consideration” to the government’s statements, but is not bound to grant them “conclusive effect.”  The decision in Animal Science Products, Inc. v. Hebei Welcome … Continue Reading
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