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

Tag Archives: SEC

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

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

Shining a Spotlight on ESG Disclosures in the Biden Administration

In a period where almost nothing seems certain, it is inevitable that ESG issues will be on the front of the incoming SEC Chair’s mind. Jay Clayton, who resigned as SEC Chairman in December 2020, has urged that one-size-fits-all metrics for environmental disclosures aren’t appropriate given the varied impacts of climate change on different industries. … Continue Reading

SEC Flexes Funny Bone in Fictional Token Offering

The Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) has taken to using humor and sarcasm to educate retail investors about the potential risks of purchasing tokens in initial coin offerings (“ICOs”).This week, the SEC issued a press release presenting “a hot investment opportunity.” The release pointed to a website touting the HoweyCoin—a fictional crypto token intending … Continue Reading

S.D.N.Y Dismisses Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Action

On February 5, 2018, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted Defendant Khan Funds Management America, Inc.’s Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss a whistleblower retaliation claim under Dodd-Frank on the grounds that Plaintiff failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Read the full post on Proskauer’s Whistleblower Defense blog.… Continue Reading

SEC Staff Announces 2018 OCIE Examination Priorities

Last week, the staff of the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) recently released its sixth annual examination priorities announcement. The alert lays out general issues industry can expect OCIE to focus on during the administration of the agency’s examination program in 2018. While reflecting a renewed emphasis of SEC Chair Jay Clayton … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Holds That Securities-Law Statutes of Repose Are Not Subject to Class-Action Tolling

On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the pendency of a securities class action does not allow individual class members to opt out of the class and file separate actions under the Securities Act of 1933 more than three years after the relevant securities offering took place. The Court’s decision in California Public Employees’ … Continue Reading

SEC Continues to Use Advanced Data Analytics to Investigate Insider Trading

The SEC has continued to pursue a number of insider trading cases this year, both large-scale and small. Some of those matters involved trades that yielded relatively small amounts of profits: $40,000-$60,000. Why does the enforcement division spend resources on these smaller cases? First, they serve as a reminder that violations can be identified, even … Continue Reading

Non-Use Agreement Need Not Precede Disclosure of Confidential Information

A Pennsylvania federal court held yesterday that an agreement not to use confidential inside information for trading purposes need not precede the receipt of that information in order to create liability under the misappropriation theory of insider trading. The ruling in SEC v. Cooperman (E.D. Pa.) appears to be the first decision to address the “novel … Continue Reading

SEC Staff Announces 2017 OCIE Examination Priorities

On January 12, 2017, the staff of the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released its annual announcement on examination priorities in the coming calendar year. The 2017 examination priorities are organized around three thematic areas: (i) examining matters of importance to retail investors; (ii) focusing on … Continue Reading

New York Court Upholds Insider-Trading Verdict

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff denied motions for judgment as a matter of law or for a new trial after a jury found the defendants civilly liable for insider trading. The decision in SEC v. Payton (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 29, 2016) held that the jury had sufficient evidence to conclude that the initial tipper of inside information had … Continue Reading

SEC and DOJ Charge Board Member with Trading on Inside Information . . . During a Board Meeting

On Friday, the SEC filed a complaint against James C. Cope, a former member of the Executive Committee of Pinnacle Financial Partners’ (“PFP”) board of directors, alleging that he engaged in insider trading.  The same day, Cope pleaded guilty to related insider trading charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Middle District of … Continue Reading

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

Proskauer Attorneys Pen Cover Article for New York Law Journal’s White-Collar Crime Special Report

Proskauer partner Joshua M. Newville and associate Lindsey A. Olson recently wrote the lead article for New York Law Journal’s White-Collar Crime special report. In the article, they discuss how proposed amendments to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 could affect financial fraud investigations by the SEC and DOJ.  For more information, please read … Continue Reading

SEC Sues Company and its GC/CCO for Failure to Disclose and Accrue Charge for a Pending DOJ Investigation

On September 9, 2016, the SEC filed a complaint against RPM International Inc. (“RPM”) and the company’s General Counsel/CCO. The SEC claims the company filed false and misleading SEC filings that failed to disclose any loss contingency relating to a DOJ investigation that the company eventually settled for $60.9 million.  The complaint also charged the … 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

SEC Overrules Its Own Administrative Law Judge to Clear Customer of Fraud Charges

In a rare reversal of its own administrative law judge in the Matter of optionsXpress, the full Securities and Exchange Commission unanimously held that the SEC’s Enforcement Division had not met its burden of proof that the customer of a broker-dealer had committed securities fraud in connection with his clearing broker-dealer’s failure to deliver stock … Continue Reading

Who Wins in SEC Administrative Proceedings?

A handful of recent SEC defeats in administrative proceedings have caused us to question the conventional narrative that the SEC has a distinct “home field advantage” before its own administrative law judges.  According to analysis conducted by the Wall Street Journal, the SEC had a 90% win rate in contested cases it brought before its … Continue Reading

SEC Announces Settlement with Adviser Found to Have Acted as an Unregistered Broker and Engaged in Conflicted Transactions

On June 1, 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced a $3.12M settlement with Maryland-based registered investment adviser, Blackstreet Capital Management, LLC, and its managing  member and principal owner, Murry N. Gunty. The SEC’s finding that Blackstreet acted as an unregistered broker-dealer in portfolio company transactions highlights the regulatory focus on broker registration for … Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit Rules Disgorgement No Different Than Forfeiture, Barring SEC From Seeking Ill-Gotten Gains Outside Five-Year Limitations Period

A three judge panel in the Eleventh Circuit issued a ruling last Thursday in Securities and Exchange Commission v. Barry Graham et al., Case No. 14-13562, holding—contrary to several other circuits—that the remedy of disgorgement was effectively a forfeiture, and therefore subject to the standard five-year statute of limitations.  The SEC brought this case in … 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 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
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