BALTIMORE — A federal judge in Maryland on July 3 ruled that investors in a shareholder derivative lawsuit failed to plead transaction causation in arguing that certain current and former officers and directors of a real estate investment trust (REIT) and the company that managed it violated federal securities law and breached their fiduciary duty in negotiating the renewal of the REIT’s management agreement (In re AGNC Investment Corp. Stockholder Derivative Litigation, No. 16-3215, D. Md., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110711).
NEW YORK — Customers of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (BLMIS) may not bring a federal securities law claim against the estate and related entities of one of Madoff’s investors because the claim is derivative of the BLMIS bankruptcy trustee’s fraudulent transfer claim against the investor and is, thus, subject to a permanent injunction barring BLMIS customers or creditors from bringing such a claim, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 27 (A&G Goldman Partnership, et al. v. Irving H. Picard, et al., No. 17-512, 2nd Cir.).
RICHMOND, Va. — A man convicted on claims of money laundering and other crimes was represented on appeal by ineffective counsel, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 26 in vacating a federal district court’s contrary order and remanding the action to the district court for proceedings consistent with the panel’s opinion (United States of America v. Christian M. Allmendinger, No. 17-6447, 4th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 17382).
NEW YORK — A divided Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 25 affirmed the conviction of a portfolio manager for his involvement in an insider trading scheme, ruling that although a federal district court’s jury instruction was not in line with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Newman, the error did not affect the defendant’s substantial rights (United States of America v. Mathew Martoma, No. 14-3599, 2nd Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on June 25 declined to hear appeals in a pair of related securities fraud lawsuits, originally brought by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and stemming from the sale of residential mortgage-backed securities to government-sponsored agencies (GSEs) Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (Freddie Mac) and Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) (David Findlay, et al. v. Federal Housing Finance Agency, No. 17-1300, and Nomura Securities International Inc. v. Federal Housing Finance Agency, No. 17-1302).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a divided opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court on June 21 ruled that Securities and Exchange Commission administrative law judges (ALJs) are “Officers of the United States” and are subject to the appointments clause of the U.S. Constitution (Raymond J. Lucia, et al. v. Securities and Exchange Commission, No. 17-130, U.S. Sup., 2018 U.S. LEXIS 3826).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Securities and Exchange Commission properly determined that a whistleblower is not entitled to a whistleblower award under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 because the information he provided to the SEC did not provide any information that led to the successful enforcement of a covered action, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 19 in an unpublished memorandum opinion (Brad Greenspan v. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, No. 17-72832, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 16496).
NEW YORK — Deutsche Bank AG and its foreign exchange (FX) business on June 20 agreed to pay $205 million to settle claims with the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) stemming from the DFS’s investigation into the global bank’s operation of its foreign exchange business.
NEW YORK — A federal judge erred in dismissing a securities fraud lawsuit because investors properly alleged a “domestic transaction” under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 19 in reversing and remanding the action to the district court (Ryan Giunta, et al. v. James B. Dingman, et al., No. 17-1375, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 16407).
BOSTON — A federal judge in Massachusetts on June 15 substantially dismissed a shareholder class action lawsuit, ruling that lead plaintiffs failed to cure a number of pleading deficiencies noted by the judge during oral arguments on several motions to dismiss filed by the defendants in the action (Steven Tharp v. Acacia Communications Inc., et al., No. 17-11504, D. Mass., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100687).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on June 18 agreed to hear an appeal of an SEC ruling that an investment banker’s two emails sent to prospective investors violated provisions of federal securities laws because there is no split among the federal circuit courts as to the “scope of liability under” provisions of the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and SEC Rule 10b-5 (Francis V. Lorenzo v. Securities and Exchange Commission, No. 17-1077, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A shareholder on June 13 sued an investment adviser and its board of directors in California federal court, seeking to halt the company’s proposed merger deal with a financial planning firm until information necessary for shareholders to vote on the proposed deal is disclosed (Jerry Rubenstein v. Financial Engines Inc., et al., No. 18-3542, N.D. Calif.).
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on June 12 ruled that a lead plaintiff in a securities class action lawsuit properly pleaded falsity and materiality in arguing that a drug maker and certain of its current and former executive officers concealed from investors that the company had overstated its revenues for 2015 in violation of federal securities law (In re Insys Therapeutics Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 17-1954, S.D. N.Y., 218 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100000).
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s Pattern of Unlawful Activity Act allows the state to establish a pattern of unlawful conduct on crimes that fall outside the statute of limitations, the Utah Supreme Court ruled June 12 in reversing and remanding a state trial court’s ruling (Utah v. Scott R. Stewart, No. 20160484, Utah Sup., 2018 Utah LEXIS 76).
SAN FRANCISCO — Monsanto Co. filed a notice of supplemental authority in California federal court on June 12 that it contends supports its motion for summary judgment based on a failure of general causation proof in the multidistrict litigation for Roundup (In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2741, N.D. Calif.).
NEWARK, N.J. — An investor sued a biosciences company and certain of its senior officers and directors in New Jersey federal court on June 13, alleging that the defendants concealed certain weaknesses in the company’s internal controls, allowing it to improperly recognize revenue in violation of federal securities laws (Tim Faulkner v. Akers Biosciences Inc., et al., No. 18-10521, D. N.J.).
ALBANY, N.Y. — In a 4-1 ruling, a divided New York Court of Appeals on June 12 ruled that claims brought pursuant to the Martin Act are governed by a three-year statute of limitations under New York law (The People v. Credit Suisse (USA) LLC, et al., No. 40, N.Y. App., 2018 N.Y. LEXIS 1451).
SAN FRANCISCO — Shareholders in a derivative lawsuit against certain officers and directors of a solar panel manufacturer failed to plead demand futility, and a federal district court did not err in dismissing their complaint as a result, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 13 (Clifford Tindall, et al. v. First Solar Inc., et al., No. 17-15185, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 15837).
ATLANTA — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 24 affirmed a district court’s decision dismissing claims for libel per se and loss of consortium, finding that it did not err in finding that a court-appointed receiver acted within the scope of his authority when he authorized an attorney to speak about whether a party to an underlying case knew about a Ponzi scheme being conducted by a company he controlled (Bruce C. Rosetto, et al. v. Charles Murphy, et al., No. 17-13279, 11th Cir.; 2018 US App LEXIS 13957).
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on June 11 dismissed an amended shareholder complaint in its entirety and with prejudice, ruling that lead plaintiffs failed to plead falsity or scienter in making their federal securities law claims against an animal pharmaceutical company and certain of its senior executives (In re Aratana Therapeutics Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 17-880, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98535).