SAN FRANCISCO — A federal district court did not err in granting summary judgment in a Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit against a defendant who allegedly participated in a pump-and-dump scheme because material produced by the SEC did not raise triable issues of material fact as to the deceptive nature of a financing agreement with an offshore entity or the defendant’s involvement with the entity, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 8 (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission v. Wayne S.P. Weaver, et al., No. 17-56423, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 13780).
NEW YORK — A federal district court properly dismissed a shareholder lawsuit brought against pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) Express Scripts Holdings Co. and certain of its executive officers because the lead plaintiff in the action failed to sufficiently state a claim for relief in making its federal securities law claims, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 7 in affirming (In re Express Scripts Holdings Co. Securities Litigation, No. 18-1850, 2nd Cir.).
TRENTON, N.J. — The lead plaintiff in a securities class action against health care products manufacturer Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and several of its current and former senior executives has failed to plead any material misstatements or omissions, scienter or loss causation in alleging that the defendants concealed from investors that their talc and baby powder products contained asbestos in violation of federal securities laws, the defendants argue in a May 3 motion to dismiss filed in New Jersey federal court (Frank Hall v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 18-1833, D. N.J.).
OAKLAND, Calif. — Home furnishings retailer RH Inc. and two of its senior executives will pay $50 million to settle claims that they issued misrepresentations regarding the launch of the company’s new line of products and its inventory levels in violation of federal securities laws, according to a motion for preliminary approval of settlement filed May 6 in California federal court (In re RH Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 17-0554, N.D. Calif.).
DALLAS — Several current and former Exxon Mobil Corp. executive officers and directors breached their fiduciary duty and were unjustly enriched by misrepresenting how the oil and gas company’s business model was impacted by climate change, a shareholder argues in a March 2 shareholder derivative lawsuit filed in Texas federal court (Sarah Von Colditz v. Darren W. Woods, et al., No. 19-1067, N.D. Texas).
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal district court erred in denying a federally chartered bank’s motion for preliminary injunction to avoid arbitration with the Financial Industry Regulatory Association (FINRA) because neither the bank nor its corporate trust department (CTD) is a municipal securities dealer subject to the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board’s (MSRB) requirement of arbitration before FINRA, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 2 (BOKF, NA v. Robert Estes, et al., No. 18-15369, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 13236).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A Papa Murphy’s stockholder who owns about $50 worth of shares sued the pizza franchisor, 10 of its directors and the company looking to acquire it in a class action filed April 30 in federal court in Delaware, seeking to halt the merger and alleging that a false and misleading solicitation statement was filed in violation of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 (Richard Scarantino, et al. v. Papa Murphy’s Holdings, Inc., et al., No. 1:19-cv-00791, D. Del.).
ATLANTA — Although a federal district court did not err in appointing a receiver in a Ponzi scheme action and in using certain summary proceedings, those summary proceedings used by the district court failed to provide investors in the Ponzi scheme with a “meaningful opportunity” to challenge the determinations and calculations made by the receiver or to argue the claims and defenses they had, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 30 in reversing and remanding a pair of appeals (Securities and Exchange Commission v. James A. Torchia, et al., Nos. 17-13560 and 17-13561, 11th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 12947).
NEW YORK — A federal district court employed the correct standard in denying lead plaintiffs’ request for leave to amend their complaint in a securities class action lawsuit against a specialty pharmaceutical company and certain of its current and former senior executives after the court had entered judgment, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled April 29 in affirming (Steamfitters’ Industry Pension Fund, et al. v. Endo International PLC, et al., No. 18-1669, 2nd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 12741).
ATLANTA — An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 25 ruled that it lacks jurisdiction over a defendant’s appeal of a federal district court’s order denying his motion to dismiss in a Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement action for failure to comply with the statute of limitations because the order is “not final because it does not end the case on the merits” (Securities and Exchange Commission v. Diane J. Harrison, et al., No. 19-10509, 11th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 12527).
SAN FRANCISCO — Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC and several of its subsidiaries will pay $150 million to settle claims brought by the California attorney general that the defendants deceived investors by misrepresenting the investment quality of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) they sponsored and brokered in years before the 2008 financial crisis, according to documents filed in California federal court on April 25 (People of the State of California v. Morgan Stanley, No. 16-551238, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).
ATLANTA — A federal district court did not err in denying a convicted Ponzi scheme operator’s motion for a judgment of acquittal because sufficient evidence to support his convictions for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and mail fraud was provided at trial, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled April 24 (United States of America v. Billy Wayne McClintock, No. 18-12916, 11th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 12039).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Dismissal of a securities class action lawsuit against technology company Oracle Corp. and certain of its current and former senior executives is warranted because an investor has failed to plead the necessary elements of falsity and scienter in making its federal securities law claims, the defendants argue in an April 19 motion to dismiss filed in California federal court (In re Oracle Corp. Securities Litigation, No. 18-4844, N.D. Calif.).
SEATTLE — A federal judge in Washington on April 19 ruled that lead plaintiffs have cured the pleading deficiencies that led to a prior dismissal of their securities class action complaint against online real estate marketplace provider Zillow Group Inc. and certain of its senior officers by sufficiently alleging that the defendants concealed the development of a co-marketing program that violated the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and encouraged such violations in violation of federal securities laws (In re Zillow Group Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 17-1387, W.D. Wash., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67197).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on April 23 ruled that a petition for writ of certiorari in an appeal of a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling in a securities class action lawsuit that Section 14(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 requires only a showing of negligence and not scienter was improvidently granted (Emulex Corp., et al. v. Gary Varjabedian, et al., No. 18-459, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK — A Nokia Corp. shareholder sued the company and two of its senior executives in federal court in New York on April 19, alleging that the defendants misrepresented the technology company’s business and financial condition in violation of federal securities laws (Tanner Tom v. Nokia Corp., et al., No. 19-3509, S.D. N.Y.).
NEW YORK — A federal district court did not err in holding that the lead plaintiff in a securities class action failed to plead a strong inference of scienter in making its federal securities law claims against an online currency brokerage and its CEO, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled April 17 in affirming the District Court’s dismissal of the second amended complaint for failure to plead any materially misleading statements (Retirement Board of the Policemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago v. FXCM Inc., et al., No. 18-2604, 2nd Cir.; 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 11198).
TAMPA, Fla. — A medical technology company and its CEO misrepresented the clinical study results for its plasma-based surgical product in violation of federal securities laws, a shareholder argues in an April 17 securities class action complaint filed in Florida federal court (Kyle Pritchard v. Apyx Medical Corp., et al., No. 19-0919, M.D. Fla.).
NEW ORLEANS — A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 17 ruled that a federal district court did not err in holding that a law firm’s former attorney, who allegedly assisted R. Allen Stanford in operating his massive Ponzi scheme, was immune from civil lawsuits brought by non-clients, rejecting plaintiffs’ contentions that three exceptions exist permitting the law firm’s liability (Samuel Troice, et al. v. Greenberg Traurig LLP, et al., No. 17-11464, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 11230).
CAMDEN, N.J. — An investor group and a pension trust filed motions on April 12 to consolidate related New Jersey federal court securities class actions against a reinsurance company and former executive officers as well as each seeking appointment as lead plaintiff over allegations of misrepresentation in underwriting and risk management techniques and a reinsurance portfolio’s risk (Michael Wigglesworth v. Maiden Holdings Ltd., et al., No. 19-05296, D. N.J.).