Justia Securities Law Opinion Summaries

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Section 19(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 is not available as a means to challenge the reasonableness of generally-applicable fee rules. At issue in this appeal is whether fees that national securities exchanges charge for access to their "depth-of-book" data violate the Exchange Act. The DC Circuit held that section 19(d)'s text does not contemplate challenges to generally-applicable fee rules, and the remedy and notice provisions are incompatible with a challenge to fee rules that do not target specific individuals or entities. The court exercised its jurisdiction under 15 U.S.C. 78y(a) and granted the petitions for review of the Commission's decision, vacated, and remanded for further proceedings. View "The NASDAQ Stock Market, LLC v. SEC" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of plaintiff's motion to file an amended securities fraud complaint against the manufacturers of an allegedly defective surgical gown. The court held that plaintiff's proposed amendment would be futile, because he failed to raise a strong inference of collective corporate scienter by (1) relying on the knowledge of employees unconnected to the challenged statements or (2) pleading that the challenged statements concerned a key product with which the company's senior management would be expected to be familiar. View "Jackson v. Abernathy" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court ruling against Paraflon Investments, Ltd. on its state-law misrepresentation claims against Fullbridge, Inc. and its principals, Peter Olson and Candice Olson, holding that there was no clear error in the district court's determinations. Fullbridge sought investments from Paraflon regarding a project involving the production of online training courses. After its investment deteriorated, Paraflon brought suit against Fullbridge and the Olsons in federal district court, alleging federal securities fraud claims and common law claims for, inter alia, negligent misrepresentation,and fraudulent misrepresentation. After the case was transferred to the District of Massachusetts the court ruled against Paraflon, finding that Fullbridge did not knowingly or intentionally make a false statement. Paraflon appealed, challenging the district court's disposition of the state-law misrepresentation claims. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) there was no clear error in the district court's determination that Fullbridge had a good faith belief that it had received a lucrative award from a third party related to the project; and (2) there was no clear error in the court's determination that Fullbridge's good-faith belief was objectively reasonable based on its experience with the third-party and what it knew at the time of Paraflon's investment. View "Paraflon Investments, Ltd. v. Fullbridge, Inc." on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed Defendant's convictions of securities and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud, holding that there was no reversible error in the proceedings below. Specifically, the First Circuit held (1) there was sufficient evidence to sustain Defendant's convictions and that, to the extent that the jury instructions may have been overbroad, any error was harmless; (2) this Court need not address whether the wire fraud statute, 18 U.S.C. 1343, applies extraterritorially because Defendant was convicted under a proper domestic application of the statute; and (3) the district court correctly determined that it lacked the authority to order the government to lodge Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties requests with the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland to seek evidence that may have been favorable to Defendant's defense. View "United States v. McLellan" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's complaint under Section 16(b) of the Securities Exchange Act for failure to state a claim. In this case, plaintiff alleged that John Doe was a member of a group with the IVA defendants and IVA's other clients, and that John Doe's investment management agreement with IVA qualified as an agreement to trade in the securities of an issuer under Section 13(d). Plaintiff further theorized that the IVA defendants’ filing of a Schedule 13D automatically caused John Doe to become a member of a group by "silent acquiescence." The court held that an investment management agreement delegating discretionary investment authority to an investment advisor is not an agreement to trade in the securities of an issuer and, therefore, is not a standalone basis for membership in an insider group. The court also held that such an investment advisor's client does not become an insider group member simply because the advisor has filed a Schedule 13D or deputized a director on an issuer's board. Therefore, the court concluded that clients who have not entered an issuer-specific trading agreement are not liable for disgorgement of short-swing profits solely by virtue of their investment advisor's insider status. View "Rubenstein v. International Value Advisers, LLC" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, found liable for multiple securities fraud violations, petitioned for review in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, which is the wrong court. By the time petitioner realized his mistake and filed the petition in the DC Circuit, the 60 day deadline for filing had passed. The DC Circuit did not pass upon whether the statutory time limit to file a petition for review is jurisdictional and subject to equitable tolling. Instead, the court held that, even assuming it is a non-mandatory claims processing rule, petitioner has failed to demonstrate entitlement to equitable tolling. The court stated that filing a petition for review in a state court that clearly lacks jurisdiction over the petition does not toll the deadline for filing in the DC Circuit court. Furthermore, no extraordinary circumstance beyond petitioner's control prevented him from timely filing in this court and thus he is not entitled to equitable tolling. The court dismissed the petition. View "Young v. SEC" on Justia Law

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Investor Recovery Fund, LLC was the assignee of six claims held by individual investors who lost their investments in the Hopkins Northwest Fund, LLC (the fund). Randall Hopkins and Brian Murphy were the principals of the fund, and together they owned and managed Hopkins Financial Services, Inc. (Hopkins Financial). The individual investors formed Investor Recovery for the purposes of asserting a collective claim against Hopkins Financial and the fund’s principals individually (collectively, Hopkins Associates). The fund declared a moratorium on redemptions in 2008, preventing investors from taking their money out of the fund. The individual investors lost their investments when the fund declared bankruptcy six years later. Investor Recovery sued Hopkins Associates, asserting claims of fraud by nondisclosure. The district court granted the principals’ motion for a directed verdict after seven days of trial, concluding that Investor Recovery did not prove that the individual investors’ losses were causally connected to the principals’ alleged nondisclosures. The Idaho Supreme Court addressed the applicable standard of review when considering a directed verdict in a fraud by nondisclosure case. Finding the district court used the wrong standard in entering directed verdict in favor of Hopkins Associates, the Supreme Court reversed the district court’s directed verdict, vacated the judgment, and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Investor Recovery Fund v. Hopkins" on Justia Law

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The issue raised on appeal to the Delaware Supreme Court centered on the validity of a provision in several Delaware corporations’ charters requiring actions arising under the federal Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act” or “1933 Act”) to be filed in a federal court. Blue Apron Holdings, Inc., Roku, Inc., and Stitch Fix, Inc. were all Delaware corporations that launched initial public offerings in 2017. Before filing their registration statements with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), each company adopted a federal-forum provision. Appellee Matthew Sciabacucchi bought shares of each company in its initial public offering or a short time later. He then sought a declaratory judgment in the Court of Chancery that the FFPs were invalid under Delaware law. The Court of Chancery held that the FFPs were indeed invalid because the “constitutive documents of a Delaware corporation cannot bind a plaintiff to a particular forum when the claim does not involve rights or relationships that were established by or under Delaware’s corporate law.” The Supreme Court disagreed and reversed, finding that such a provision could survive a facial challenge under Delaware law. View "Salzberg v. Sciabacucchi" on Justia Law

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A married couple, Beverly Bien and David Wellman, invested money with Mid Atlantic Capital Corporation (“Mid Atlantic”). Their investments performed poorly. Stung by the losses, Ms. Bien and Mr. Wellman initiated arbitration proceedings against Mid Atlantic. The arbitration panel awarded damages, fees and costs to the couple. The panel also ordered Ms. Bien and Mr. Wellman to reassign their ownership interests in their investments to Mid Atlantic. Mid Atlantic moved the federal district court to modify the arbitration award to correct “an evident material miscalculation of figures.” The district court denied the motion because the alleged error that Mid Atlantic sought to remedy did not appear on the face of the arbitration award. In the amended final judgment, in addition to ordering Mid Atlantic to pay Ms. Bien and Mr. Wellman certain damages, the court ordered that prejudgment interest would accrue on the damages portion of the award and that postjudgment interest would accrue at the federal rate specified in 28 U.S.C. 1961. Both parties appealed the district court’s order. Mid Atlantic specifically challenged the court’s denial of its motion to modify the arbitration award; the couple cross-appealed to challenge the court’s rulings with respect to prejudgment interest and the reassignment of distributions they received since the arbitration award due to their ownership interests in the investments. Finding no abuse of discretion or other reversible error, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court. View "Mid Atlantic Capital v. Bien" on Justia Law

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Investors who purchase Target Corporation stock filed suit against Target and its executives, alleging that Target misled investors about problems in its Canadian stores. Investors' claims stemmed from Target's efforts to open stores in Canada. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal, and denial of investors' motion for reconsideration and leave to amend. The court held that the district court did not err in determining that investors failed to plead fraud with particularity under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PSLRA). In this case, none of the investors' allegations satisfied the PSLRA's mental state requirement and, for one allegation, its falsity requirement. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying leave to amend, because investors failed to allege that Target's executives knew they were making false or misleading statements to investors. Finally, the court held that, because investors' section 10(b) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 claim failed, dismissal of their section 20(a) claim was also appropriate. View "Carpenters' Pension Fund of Illinois v. Target Corp." on Justia Law