SALT LAKE CITY — A developer of genetic diagnostic products and certain of its current and former executive officers on Oct. 30 asked a federal judge in Utah to dismiss a securities class action lawsuit that alleges that the defendants concealed their involvement in a scheme to overbill Medicare for certain genetic tests in violation of federal securities laws (Matthew Kessman v. Myriad Genetics Inc., et al., No. 18-0336, D. Utah).
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A federal magistrate judge in New Mexico on Oct. 31 issued an amended final judgment in a securities enforcement action, ordering a defendant to disgorge more than $5 million, plus pay more than $5 million in prejudgment interest and civil penalties (SEC v. Charles R. Kokesh, No. 09-1021, D. N.M., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186412).
TRENTON, N.J. — Honeywell International Inc. made materially false and misleading statements to investors about asbestos-related liabilities stemming from its previous ownership of Bendix Friction Materials, a securities class alleges in an Oct. 31 complaint (David Kanefsky, et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., et al., No. 18-15536, D. N.J.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A federal judge in North Carolina on Oct. 26 ruled that lead plaintiffs in a securities class action failed to sufficiently plead scienter in making their federal securities law claims against a biopharmaceutical company and certain of its executive officers (Johnathan Hirtenstein v. Cempra Inc., et al., No. 16-1303, M.D. N.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18343).
PHILADELPHIA — The lead plaintiff in a securities class action lawsuit against a generic drug company and certain of its current and former senior executives asked a federal judge in Pennsylvania on Oct. 26 to deny a motion to dismiss the action, which claims that the defendants violated federal securities laws by concealing their involvement in an anti-competitive generic drug price-fixing scheme (Alexandre Pelletier v. Endo International PLC, et al., No. 17-5114, E.D. Pa.).
NEW YORK — A federal district court did not err in ruling that an investor in E*TRADE Securities LLC (E-Trade) failed to plead the necessary element of reliance in bringing his federal securities claims against the broker-dealer, its parent company and certain current and former executive officers of the company, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 25 in affirming (Craig L. Schwab v. E*TRADE Financial Corp., et al., No. 18-461, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30192).
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will pay $166 million to settle claims that it and its CEO violated federal securities laws by covering up a bribery scheme involving Wal-Mart’s Mexican subsidiary, according to documents filed in Arkansas federal court on Oct. 26 (City of Pontiac General Employees Retirement System v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., et al., No. 12-5162, W.D. Ark.).
NEW YORK — A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 25 rejected a man’s appeal of his conviction for insider trading, ruling that the defendant failed to show that subsequent legal developments rendered a jury instruction on personal benefit in error (Doug Whitman v. United States of America, No. 15-2686, 2nd Cir.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Oct. 24 ruled that a lead plaintiff in a securities class action pertaining to the failed merger between Rite Aid and Walgreens drug stores lacks standing to bring federal securities law claims on behalf of a class of investors because his last purchase of Rite Aid stock occurred before Walgreens’ first actionable misstatement or omission (Jerry Hering v. Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., No. 15-2440, M.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 182177).
NEW YORK — New York Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood sued Exxon Mobil Corp. in New York state court on Oct. 24, alleging that the oil company misled investors about the measures it was taking as a business in response to growing climate change regulations (People of the State of New York v. Exxon Mobil Corp., No. 452044/2018, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on Oct. 23 ruled that a consumer failed to “articulate the legal bases for his claims” in bringing a class action lawsuit against a bitcoin exchange and certain of its executive officers (Jeffrey Berk v. Coinbase Inc., et al., No. 4:18-cv-01364, N.D. Calif.).
NEW ORLEANS — A federal district court committed no plain error in determining that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) order against a securities broker and dealer was a prior administrative order for purposes of U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Section 2B1.1(b)(9)(C), and it did not err in applying a two-level sentencing enhancement against the broker-dealer because his operation of a Ponzi scheme violated the FINRA order, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 18 (United States v. John S. Blount, No. 17-30623, 5th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 29406).
SAN FRANCISCO — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 17 ruled that a federal district court did not err in denying a defendant’s 28 U.S. Code Section 2255, 28 U.S.C. § 2255, motion, arguing that the U.S. government breached the terms of a plea agreement in a criminal action stemming from the defendant’s operation of a Ponzi scheme by failing to move for a downward adjustment of the defendants’ sentence based on his cooperation with the government in its investigation and agreement to the plea deal (United States v. William J. Wise, No. 17-15129, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 29553).
HOUSTON — A federal judge in Texas should approve a more than $146 million settlement in a securities class action lawsuit against an energy company, certain of its officers and directors and others because it has met statutory and Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals standards for approval, lead plaintiffs argue in an Oct. 12 motion for preliminary approval of settlement filed in Texas federal court (In re Cobalt International Energy Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 14-3428, S.D. Texas).
CINCINNATI — A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 27 ruled that a federal district court erred in dismissing a shareholder class action against a drug company and its CEO for failure to plead scienter because lead plaintiffs have shown that the defendants’ statements regarding the clinical test results for its cholesterol drug and anticipated U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval were more plausible and because neither of the defendants’ explanations to the contrary are “more plausible than the knowing and reckless fraud alleged” by the lead plaintiffs (Ronald E. Wallace, et al. v. Esperion Therapeutics Inc., et al., No. 17-1701, 6th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 27590).
SAN FRANCISCO — Services provided by a company that prepared applications for Federal Communications Commission cellular spectrum licenses on behalf of third-party fundraising entities were not securities governed by federal securities law; therefore, a federal district court erred in granting summary judgment against the company, its founders and others, defendants in a securities fraud lawsuit argue in a Sept. 24 appellant brief filed in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Janus Spectrum LLC, et al. v. United States Securities and Exchange Commission, No. 18-15403, 9th Cir.).
SAN DIEGO — Investors filed a securities class action complaint against a provider of genetic sequencing products and certain of its executive officers in California federal court on Oct. 4, alleging that the defendants concealed material flaws with the company’s internal controls and forecasting processes in its Securities and Exchange Commission financials in violation of federal securities laws (Braden Van Der Wall, et al. v. Illumina Inc., et al., No. 18-2307, S.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on Oct. 9 ruled that lead plaintiffs in a securities class action against a solar energy company and certain of its senior executives failed to cure the pleading deficiencies in their federal securities law claims that led to the dismissal of the lead plaintiffs’ first amended complaint (In re SunPower Corp. Securities Litigation, No. 16-4710, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173777).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — An investment banker’s sending of two emails to prospective investors was done with the requisite scienter in violation of federal securities laws, and the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ ruling holding him liable for disseminating those false and misleading emails is in line with the U.S. Supreme Court’s holding in Janus Capital Group, Inc. v. First Derivative Traders, the Securities and Exchange Commission argues in an Oct. 5 respondent’s merits brief filed in the Supreme Court (Francis V. Lorenzo v. Securities and Exchange Commission, No. 17-1077, U.S. Sup.).
ATLANTA — An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 4 ruled that the U.S. government provided sufficient evidence to support a viatical investments trustee’s convictions for mail fraud, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with his involvement in a Ponzi scheme (United States v. Anthony Livoti, Nos. 14-11699 and 15-12697, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 28098).