PORTLAND, Ore. — Dismissal of a securities class action against a company and its board of directors for allegedly omitting key information in the Securities and Exchange Commission proxy statement for a proposed acquisition deal in an effort to have the company’s stock sell for a lesser price is not proper because lead plaintiffs have shown that the proxy statement was both misleading and material, a federal judge in Oregon ruled March 20 in denying the defendants’ motion to dismiss (Elia Azar, et al. v. Blount International Inc., et al., No. 16-483, D. Ore., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39493).
COLUMBUS, Ohio — An economic expert may opine as to whether the market in which a company’s stock traded was efficient during a class period and whether it is possible to calculate damages on a classwide basis for purposes of liability, an Ohio federal judge ruled March 17 (Alan Willis v. Big Lots Inc., et al., No. 12-0604, S.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38933).
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Class certification in a shareholder lawsuit against a broad line closeout retailer and certain of its executive officers is proper because the lead plaintiff in the action has met all statutory requirements needed for certification, a federal judge in Ohio ruled March 17 (Alan Willis v. Big Lots Inc., et al., No. 12-0604, S.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38926).
Recent securities class action lawsuits filed in federal courts across the country include complaints alleging misrepresentations by officers and directors of various pharmaceutical companies, media-streaming company Netflix Inc., financial institutions and a digital media solutions company.
NEW YORK — A pension fund has met all statutory guidelines to serve as lead plaintiff in a securities class action lawsuit against Xerox Corp. and certain of its executive officers, a federal judge in New York ruled Feb. 28 in appointing the pension fund as lead plaintiff (Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System v. Xerox Corp., et al., No. 16-8260, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28445).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Shareholders in a securities class action lawsuit against the operator of an online marketplace and certain of its executive officers have failed to show that the defendants issued any material misrepresentations or omission or acted with the requisite scienter, a federal judge in New York ruled March 16 in granting the defendants’ motion to dismiss (Saleh Altayyar, et al. v. Etsy Inc., et al., No. 15-2785, E.D. N.Y.).
LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on March 15 substantially dismissed a securities class action complaint against a solar energy products manufacturer and certain of its executive officers, ruling that shareholders failed to plead the requisite elements of a majority of their federal securities laws claims (Kevin T. Know, et al. v. Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd., et al., No. 15-4003, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37223).
NEW YORK — The lead plaintiff and defendants in a securities class action lawsuit against an online foreign exchange market broker and certain of its officers asked the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals recently to decide whether a federal district court judge erred in dismissing the lead plaintiffs’ amended complaint for failure to plead scienter pursuant to federal securities laws (Retirement Board of the Policemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago v. FXCM Inc., et al., No. 16-3775, 2nd Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals erred in determining that disgorgement is not a penalty or forfeiture pursuant to 28 U.S. Code Section 2462, 28 U.S.C. §2462, and thus, is not subject to a five-year statute of limitations, a petitioner argues in a Feb. 24 merits brief (Charles R. Kokesh v. Securities and Exchange Commission, No. 16-529, U.S. Sup., 2017 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 647).
SANTA ANA, Calif. — Lead plaintiffs in a securities class action lawsuit against a drug maker and certain of its executive officers asked a federal judge in California on March 15 to certify a class of investors, arguing that class certification is statutorily appropriate (Hsingching Hsu v. Puma Biotechnology Inc., et al., No. 15-0865, C.D. Calif.).
NEW YORK — Underwriters Royal Bank of Scotland Securities Inc., Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. and Wells Fargo Advisors LLC on March 15 agreed to pay a combined $165 million to settle claims that they took part in a fraudulent scheme to misrepresent the underwriting standards they used in the offering documents for a series of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) (New Jersey Health Fund v. Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC, et al., No. 08-5310, S.D. N.Y.).
DENVER — An appellate panel erred in holding that the Securities and Exchange Commission’s administrative law judges (ALJs) are inferior officers and subject to appointment pursuant to the appointments clause of the U.S. Constitution, the SEC argues in a March 13 petition for rehearing or rehearing en banc filed in the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (David F. Bandimere v. Securities and Exchange Commission, No. 15-9586, 10th Cir.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — Defendants in a securities class action lawsuit over a proposed merger deal have failed to show that a shareholder did not provide sufficient evidence to support his claims that the defendants issued a series of misrepresentations and omissions in a proxy and registration statement for the deal in violation of federal securities laws, a federal judge in Delaware ruled March 13 in denying the defendants’ motion to dismiss (Robert Hurwitz v. LRR Energy LP, et al., No. 15-711, D. Del., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35108).
SAN FRANCISCO — The plaintiff in a shareholder derivative lawsuit against Yahoo! Inc. and certain of its executive officers and directors on March 10 appealed a California federal judge’s order dismissing the shareholder’s second amended complaint with prejudice (UFCW Local 1500 Pension Fund v. Marissa Mayer, et al., No. 17-15435, 9th Cir.).
NEW YORK — A group of reinsurance companies and individuals sued an insurer in a New York state court on March 10, seeking indemnification from the insurer for various governments’ financial department investigations (Beechwood Re Holdings, Inc., et al. v. Starr Indemnity & Liability Company, No. 651263/2017, N.Y. Super., New York Co.).
PHILADELPHIA — Parties in a securities class action lawsuit against a technology company and certain of its executive officers recently asked the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to determine whether a federal judge erred in dismissing a shareholders’ amended complaint for failure to plead scienter based on a misunderstanding of the facts (Ryan Fain v. USA Technologies Inc., et al., Nos. 16-2436 and 16-3796, 3rd Cir.).
HOUSTON — Shareholders in a securities class action lawsuit against an energy company, several of its executive officers and directors and others may amend their complaint to add a claim for relief because their motion was filed prior to the deadline for amendments and amendment would not be futile, a federal judge in Texas ruled March 10 in granting the motion (In re Cobalt International Energy Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 14-3428, S.D. Texas; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34437).
HOUSTON — A Texas federal judge on March 8 denied a motion filed by participants and beneficiaries of BP entities’ employee investment and savings plans covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act to file an amended complaint related to the Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico oil spill that resulted in a steep drop in the BP stock price for failure to state a claim (In Re: BP P.L.C. Securities Litigation, In re: BP ERISA Litigation, No. 4:10-cv-4214, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33302).
NEW YORK — Lead plaintiffs have failed to plead any material misrepresentations or scienter in making claims that Mexican restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. and certain of its executive officers issued certain misrepresentations concealing issues surrounding a widespread series of E. coli outbreaks in violation of federal securities laws, a federal judge in New York ruled March 8 in granting the defendants’ motion to dismiss (Susie Ong v. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., et al., No. 16-141, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33170).
SAN FRANCISCO — A lead plaintiff in a securities class action lawsuit against a biotechnology company and certain of its current and former executive officers has failed to plead specificity or falsity in making claims that the defendants issued misrepresentations concealing issues with its suite of products, certain collaborations and revenue disclosures in violation of federal securities law, a federal judge in California ruled Feb. 24 in granting the defendants’ motion to dismiss (In re Intrexon Corp. Securities Litigation, No. 16-2398, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26401).