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Securities Litigation

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In 2021, approximately on quarter of all federal securities fraud class action lawsuits filed nationwide were against life sciences companies and their officers and directors. These considerations are for directors and officers of life sciences companies looking to manage disclosures and mitigate risk before a suit ever gets filed.
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The Public Weighs In On How the SEC Should Regulate ESG Disclosures

June 22, 2021 | Blog | By Jacob Hupart, Ellen Shapiro

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SEC Discloses Its Recommendations on Key Issues for Private Companies Weighing SPAC Transactions

April 2, 2021 | Blog | By Thomas R. Burton, III, John Sylvia, Sahir Surmeli, Patrick E. McDonough

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Not So Fast: DOL Changes Course on Trump-Era ESG Investment Rule

March 22, 2021 | Blog | By Alyssa C. Scruggs

The United States Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) Employee Benefits Security Administration (“EBSA”) announced on March 10, 2021 that it will not enforce certain final rules put into place under President Trump related to environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) investing.
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In a scathing decision by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, the Court denied class certification of the Allergan securities class action (“Allergan”). See In re Allergan PLC Sec. Litig., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179371 (S.D.N.Y Sept. 29, 2020).
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The August 20, 2020 decision in In re: Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Mktg., Sales Practices, and Prods. Liab. Litig., MDL No. 2672 CRB (JSC) by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California (“the Opinion”), dismissing a significant portion of the SEC’s federal securities claims against Volkswagen as having been previously released by the DOJ, serves as an important reminder for why such coordination is important and how defendants may take advantage of the failure to coordinate, as did Volkswagen.
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Massachusetts Securities Division Begins Enforcement Of New State Fiduciary Conduct Standard

September 2, 2020 | Blog | By Pete Michaels, Michael Pastore

On September 1, 2020, the Massachusetts Securities Division (“MSD”) began enforcing a new state regulation that holds all broker-dealers and their agents to a fiduciary conduct standard requiring them to “make recommendations and provide investment advice without regard to the financial or any other interest of any party other than the customer”.
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In ruling on Defendants’ motion to dismiss in the FX Opt-Outs Action, Judge Schofield narrowed the antitrust claims, denied dismissal on the basis of forum non conveniens, and denied dismissal of the unjust enrichment claim.
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On June 22, 2020, the Court issued its 8-1 opinion in Liu et al. v. Securities and Exchange Commission, holding that a disgorgement award is “equitable relief” permissible under 15 U. S. C. §78u(d)(5), and, as such, is relief that the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) may properly seek as “appropriate or necessary for the benefit of investors.
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In what will likely be the first of many, the SEC brought an action against a company for false and misleading press releases related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Several State Securities Regulators continue to warn investors of investment scams involving COVID-19.
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In a Statement on April 2, the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Jay Clayton, announced that the June 30, 2020 timeline for implementation of Regulation Best Interest (“Reg. BI”) will remain.
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On March 18, 2020, the Delaware Supreme Court (the “Court”) issued a groundbreaking decision reversing the Delaware Court of Chancery’s December 2019 ruling in Sciabacucchi v. Salzberg, 2018 Del. Ch. LEXIS 578 (Del. Ch. Dec. 19, 2018), and holding that charter provisions adopted by public companies that designate a federal forum for securities claims brought pursuant to the Securities Act of 1933 (“Federal Forum Provisions”) are valid and enforceable.
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Massachusetts Securities Division Rolls Out Final Version of Fiduciary Duty Rule

March 3, 2020 | Blog | By Pete Michaels, Michael Pastore, Jason Burrell

The Massachusetts Securities Division (the “Division”) has announced that they will begin to apply a fiduciary conduct standard to broker-dealers and agents when dealing with their customers.
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On November 1, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a summary order rejecting the appeal of an objector to the Foreign Exchange Antitrust Settlement. A few weeks earlier, U.S. District Court Judge Schofield had denied a motion filed by the objector and class counsel seeking an “indicative ruling” on their combined motion for approval of an agreement that would have ended the appeal. These two decision clear the way for the remaining distribution from the settlement fund, which totaled over $2.3 billion dollars.
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Last week, the district court entered an order, granting CalSTRS’ motion for intervention for the limited purpose of tolling the statute of repose. While there is no longer a risk that the complaint will be dismissed (the vast majority of Plaintiffs’ claims have since survived dismissal), CalSTRS has successfully preserved its right to opt out if a class is certified. Allowing CalSTRS (and others) to use motions to intervene to toll the statute of repose rather than forcing such putative class members to choose to forego their rights or file their own opt-out action may preserve resources and encourage efficiency of the courts.
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Years after Plaintiffs brought a federal securities complaint against Petrobras, and more than a year after the case settled for approximately $3 billion, Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ordered the unsealing of the majority of documents attached to parties’ summary judgment papers. Cornell University intends to use these documents in an arbitration in Brazil. Not only does Judge Rakoff’s decision come as an important reminder that sealing orders are not intended to last forever, but this decision also demonstrates how a motion to unseal may be used to bypass the traditional requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 1782, frequently invoked by entities seeking to use U.S. discovery in foreign proceedings.
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