Category Archives: Securities Litigation

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New York Commercial Division Justices Provide Dueling Approaches to Discovery Stays in State Court Securities Litigation

In In re Everquote, Inc. Securities Litigation, 2019 N.Y. Slip Op. 29242, No. 651177/2019, 2019 WL 3686065 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Cnty. Aug. 7, 2019), Justice Andrew Borrok of the New York County Commercial Division stayed discovery pending a motion to dismiss a federal securities class action pursuant to the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of … Continue Reading

United States Supreme Court Holds That Knowing Dissemination of False Statements Made by Others Can Constitute Primary “Scheme Liability” In Violation of Rule 10b-5(a) and (c)

In Lorenzo v. Securities & Exchange Comm., No. 17-1077, 2019 WL 1369839 (U.S. Mar. 27, 2019), the Supreme Court of the United States (Breyer, J.) held that an individual who did not “make” a false or misleading statement within the meaning of Janus Capital Group, Inc. v. First Derivative Traders, 564 U.S. 135 (2011) (blog article … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Holds That Issuer’s Alleged Statements Concerning Its Regulatory Compliance Efforts Do Not Constitute Material Misstatements

In Singh v. Cigna Corp., No. 17-3484-cv, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 6637 (2d Cir. Mar. 5, 2019), the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a class action complaint that purported to base a securities fraud claim upon alleged statements made by defendant Cigna Corporation (“Cigna” or the “Company”) … Continue Reading

Court Finds Cybersecurity-Related Claims Sufficient in Securities Class Action

In the aftermath of Equifax’s data breach, a federal court recently found that allegations of poor cybersecurity coupled with misleading statements supported a proper cause of action. In its decision, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia allowed a securities fraud class action case to continue against Equifax. The lawsuit claims the company issued … Continue Reading

Class Size Doesn’t Matter—Seventh Circuit Holds That Federal Law Bars Private Securities Class Actions Brought Under State Law Regardless of the Number of Putative Class Members

In Nielen-Thomas v. Concorde Investment Servs., LLC, No. 18-2875, 2019 WL 302766 (7th Cir. Jan. 24, 2019), the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act of 1998 (“SLUSA”), Pub. L. 105-353, 112 Stat. 3227, bars all putative class actions brought by private plaintiffs in a … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal Enforces Delaware Forum Selection Bylaw

In Drulias v. 1st Century Bancshares, Inc., No. H045049, 2018 WL 6735137 (Cal. App. Dec. 21, 2018), the California Court of Appeal, Sixth Appellate District, affirmed an order staying a stockholder lawsuit brought in the Superior Court of California, Santa Clara County, on forum non conveniens grounds based upon enforcement of an exclusive Delaware forum … Continue Reading

Delaware Court of Chancery Declares Ineffective Exclusive Federal Forum Provision for 1933 Act Claims

In Sciabacucchi v. Salzberg, C.A. No. 2017-0931-JTL, 2018 WL 6719718 (Del. Ch. Dec. 19, 2018), the Delaware Court of Chancery (Laster, V.C.) held that a forum-selection provision in a Delaware corporation’s charter or bylaws which purported to govern external investor claims not involving the internal affairs of the corporation are not authorized under Delaware law. … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Splits From Other Circuits, Holding That a Negligence Standard Applies to a Claim Challenging Tender Offer Disclosures Under Section 14(e)

In Varjabedian v. Emulex Corp., No. 16-55088, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 10000 (9th Cir. Apr. 20, 2018), the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit split from the Second, Third, Fifth, Sixth and Eleventh Circuits to hold that the liability standard for challenging alleged misstatements or omissions in connection with a tender offer … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Limits Reach of SLUSA Preclusion in State Law Variable Annuity Class Action

In O’Donnell v. AXA Equitable Life Insurance Co., No. 17-cv-1085, 2018 WL 1720808 (2d Cir. Apr. 10, 2018), the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed an order dismissing a variable annuity policyholder’s putative class action against AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company (“AXA”) as precluded by the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal Holds that Demand Futility Must be Reassessed at Time of Filing of Amended Complaint

In Apple Inc. v. Superior Court, No. H044133, 2017 WL 6275830 (Cal. App. Dec. 11, 2017), the California Court of Appeal, Sixth District, considered whether a plaintiff asserting a shareholder derivative lawsuit must plead demand futility with respect to the board of directors in place at the time of the filing of the amended complaint … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Affirms Class Certification Holding that Direct Evidence of Price Impact is Not Always Necessary to Demonstrate Market Efficiency

In Waggoner v. Barclays PLC, No. 16-1912 (2d Cir. Nov. 6, 2017), the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in a Rule 10b-5 securities fraud action, affirmed the district court’s order granting class certification and, in the process, made a number of significant rulings including concluding that direct evidence of price impact … Continue Reading

Nevada Supreme Court Adopts Delaware’s Tooley Test to Determine Whether Shareholder Claims are Direct or Derivative

In Parametric Sound Corp. v. The Eighth Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada, ___ P.3d ___, 2017 WL 4078845 (Nev. Sept. 14, 2017), the Nevada Supreme Court addressed the circumstances under which breach of fiduciary duty claims asserted in connection with a strategic transaction may be brought by shareholders directly (including in a … Continue Reading

Under Delaware Law, the Occurrence of Alleged Illegal Conduct at a Company Is Not Enough to Plead Demand Futility Sufficient to Give Stockholders Standing to Sue Derivatively

In a shareholder derivative action, to survive a motion to dismiss for failure to plead facts showing demand futility, a derivative plaintiff must plead particularized facts showing either actual involvement by a majority of the board in illegal conduct or conduct amount to an intentional dereliction of duty. Illegal conduct at a company, untethered to … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Rejects First Circuit’s “Extreme Departure” Test for Assessing Materiality of an Alleged Omission of Interim Financial Information From Registration Statement

In Stadnick v. Vivint Solar, Inc., 2017 WL 2661597 (2d Cir. June 21, 2017), the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of claims for violations of Section 11 of the Securities Act of 1933, 15 U.S.C. § 77k, arising out of Vivint Solar, Inc.’s (“Vivint”) 2014 initial public offering … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Holds that Alleged Violations of Aspirational Corporate Conduct Standards Are Insufficient to State a Claim for Securities Fraud

In Retail Wholesale & Department Store Union Local 338 Retirement Fund v. Hewlett-Packard Co., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 955 (9th Cir. Jan. 19, 2017), the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit addressed for the first time whether an undisclosed violation of a company’s code of ethics can support a claim of securities … Continue Reading

Eighth Circuit Reverses District Court for Ignoring Price-Impact Evidence That Rebutted the Fraud-on-the-Market Presumption and Defeated Class Certification

In IBEW Local 98 Pension Fund v. Best Buy Co., Inc., No. 14-3178 (8th Cir. Apr. 12, 2016), the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held, in a Rule 10b-5 securities fraud action, that the district court incorrectly analyzed the price-impact evidence submitted by defendants to rebut the fraud-on-the-market presumption of reliance … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Narrowly Applies Supreme Court’s Decision in Omnicare

In In re Sanofi Securities Litigation, No. 15-588-cv, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 4107 (2d Cir. Mar. 4, 2016), the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of class action complaints alleging that the defendants had made materially false or misleading statements or omissions in their registration statement.  The Court examined … Continue Reading

United States Supreme Court Resolves Circuit Split Regarding Section 11 Claims Predicated Upon Allegedly Misleading Statements of Opinion

In Omnicare, Inc. v. Laborers District Council Construction Industry Pension Fund, No. 13-435, 2015 WL 1291916 (U.S. Mar. 24, 2015), the United States Supreme Court addressed the circumstances under which a claim alleging that an issuer made a false statement of opinion in a registration statement suffices to state a claim for relief under Section … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Clarifies that Allegations of Direct Fraudulent Representations Are Not Necessary for Market Manipulation Claims Under Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5

In Fezzani v. Bear, Stearns & Co., Inc., No. 14-3983, 2015 WL 400547 (2d Cir. Jan. 30, 2015) (“Fezzani II”), the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit clarified its opinion in Fezzani v. Bear, Stearns & Co., Inc., 716 F.3d 18 (2d Cir. 2013) (“Fezzani I”), ruling that its earlier decision did … Continue Reading

SEC Staff To Express No Views On Conflicting Shareholder Proposals Under Rule 14a-8(i)(9)

On January 16, 2015, SEC Chair Mary Jo White issued a directive that the staff of the SEC review its position on Rule 14a-8(i)(9) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”).  Concurrent with SEC Chair White’s directive, the Division of Corporation Finance announced that it will “express no views” on the application … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Notes Split with Ninth Circuit Over Whether Failure to Make Adequate Disclosures Under Item 303 of Regulation S-K May Serve as Basis for a Section 10(b) Claim

In Stratte-McClure v. Morgan Stanley, No. 13-0627-cv, 2015 WL 136213 (2d Cir. Jan. 12, 2015), the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of securities fraud claims against Morgan Stanley arising out of its exposure to and losses from a proprietary subprime mortgage trade in 2007.  In reaching its decision, … Continue Reading

Fourth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Securities Fraud Complaint Where Inference of Scienter Was Not Sufficiently Strong

In Yates v. Municipal Mortgage & Equity, LLC, No. 12-2496 (4th Cir. Mar. 7, 2014), the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a securities fraud claim under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”), 15 U.S.C. § 78(b), against defendant Municipal Mortgage & Equity (“MuniMae”) … Continue Reading

Appellate Court Issues Opinion on SEC’s Conflict Minerals Rule

Yesterday, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued its opinion in the challenge to the SEC’s Conflict Minerals Rule.  We have reviewed the D.C. Court of Appeals decision and find that it leaves much of the SEC’s rule intact.  It is specifically the requirement that companies describe products as not “DRC conflict free” … Continue Reading
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