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 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

Eleventh Circuit Clarifies Broker-Dealer’s Liability For Employee’s Fraud

Will a broker-dealer be liable when a financial advisor employed by the firm solicits investments as part of a fraudulent scheme, where the firm specifically prohibited the advisor from soliciting the investment, the fraudulent investment was made away from the firm, and the investors never became customers of the firm?  The Eleventh Circuit recently answered … 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

Supreme Court’s Manning Decision Leaves Questions Unanswered

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision yesterday in Merrill Lynch v. Manning clarified the scope of federal jurisdiction under the Exchange Act in certain important respects, but also left open critical issues that may arise in future cases.  Although the Court rejected federal jurisdiction in resolving the sole issue that was before it, the Court also … 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

NY Court Of Appeals Rejects No-Opt Out Class Action Settlement In Shareholder Litigation

In Jinnaras v. Alfant, decided on May 5, 2016, the New York Court of Appeals rejected a proposed settlement of a shareholder class action, where the proposed settlement would have deprived out-of-state class members of a “cognizable property interest” by failing to provide a mechanism for class members residing outside of New York to opt … 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

No General Jurisdiction Over Out-of-State Firms Registering to Do Business in Delaware

The Delaware Supreme Court ruled yesterday that out-of-state corporations no longer would be subject to general personal jurisdiction in Delaware merely because they had registered to do business in Delaware. In making that ruling, the Court overruled prior state precedent, under which foreign corporations were deemed to have consented to jurisdiction in Delaware when they … 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

Eleventh Circuit Considers Challenge to SEC Administrative Proceedings

Last week, in the consolidated cases of Charles Hill, Jr. v. SEC (No. 15-12831) and Gray Financial Group, Inc. v. SEC (No. 15-13738), the U.S. Court of Appeals for Eleventh Circuit heard oral argument on the question of whether federal district courts have jurisdiction to review constitutional challenges to SEC administrative enforcement proceedings. The Eleventh … 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

FINRA Arbitration Task Force Fails To Reach Consensus On Many Major Issues

The FINRA Dispute Resolution Task Force issued its final report last week, making certain recommendations designed to improve the arbitration process. More notably, however, the Task Force reported that it was unable to reach agreement on a number of more controversial issues, reflecting deep divisions among practitioners in this area.… Continue Reading

Second Circuit Upholds Common-Interest Privilege for Borrower’s Sharing of Legal Advice with Consortium of Lenders

The Second Circuit held last week that a borrower did not waive the attorney-client privilege by providing documents to a consortium of lender banks that shared a common legal interest with the borrower in the tax treatment of a refinancing and corporate restructuring resulting from an acquisition originally financed by the consortium. The November 10, 2015 … Continue Reading
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