Justia Securities Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals
Goldstein v. Galvin
Plaintiff filed a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action against Defendant, the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, alleging that, in retaliation for Plaintiff's anti-regulatory stance, Defendant used his oversight powers to retaliate unlawfully against Plaintiff. The federal district court dismissed the complaint on immunity grounds. At issue before the First Circuit Court of Appeals was the scope and extent of the immunities offered to state officials, such as Defendant, whose duties encompass both prosecutorial and adjudicatory functions. The First Circuit affirmed the district court, holding that, notwithstanding Defendant's dual roles, Defendant was, with one exception, entitled to absolute immunity from Plaintiff's suit. View "Goldstein v. Galvin" on Justia Law
Mass. Ret. Sys. v. CVS Caremark Corp.
CVS Corp. and Caremark Rx Inc. merged in 2007, creating CVS Caremark Corporation. In 2010, Plaintiffs filed this putative class action against CVS Caremark and certain of its current and former employees. The complaint was later amended to add new plaintiffs - the retirement systems of the city of Brockton and the counties of Plymouth and Norfolk, Massachusetts (collectively, the Retirement Systems). The Retirement Systems claimed that Defendants made material misrepresentations in violation of the Securities Exchange Act and rule 10b-5 of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Specifically, the Retirement Systems alleged that CVS Caremark's CEO's statements in an earnings call with investors caused a drop in CVS Caremark's share price. The district court granted Defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim for relief. The First Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the dismissal of the complaint and remanded, holding that Plaintiffs' complaint alleged loss causation sufficiently plausible to foreclose dismissal. View "Mass. Ret. Sys. v. CVS Caremark Corp." on Justia Law
Nikitine v. Wilmington Trust Co.
Appellant purchased nonrecourse notes (Notes) in the amount of two million dollars, issued by the Puerto Rico Conservation Trust Fund (PRCTF). The Notes were not registered under the Securities Act based on an exemption from registration. The Notes later went into default, and Appellant sued Banco Popular de Puerto Rico (BPPR), trustee of the Notes, and Wilmington Trust Company (WTC), indenture trustee of the securities that the PRCTF purchased with Note proceeds. Appellant brought suit in federal district court, premising his assertion of subject matter jurisdiction on the Edge Act and the Trust Indenture Act of 1939 (TIA). The district court dismissed the amended complaint for want of subject matter jurisdiction. The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) Appellant's suit did not arise under federal law; and (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to permit Appellant to file a delayed amended complaint asserting a new theory of liability because Appellant proffered no good reason for the delay. View "Nikitine v. Wilmington Trust Co." on Justia Law
Calderon-Serra v. Wilmington Trust Co.
Appellants purchased nonrecourse notes (Notes) in the amount of two million dollars, issued by the Puerto Rico Conservation Trust Fund (PRCTF). The Notes were not registered under the Securities Act based on an exemption from registration. The Notes later went into default, and Appellants sued Banco Popular de Puerto Rico (BPPR), trustee of the Notes, and Wilmington Trust Company (WTC), indenture trustee of the securities that the PRCTF purchased with Note proceeds. Appellants brought their suit in federal district court, premising their assertion of subject matter jurisdiction on the Edge Act and the Trust Indenture Act of 1939 (TIA). The district court dismissed the amended complaint for want of subject matter jurisdiction. The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that Appellants' suit did not arise under federal law. View "Calderon-Serra v. Wilmington Trust Co." on Justia Law
Silverstrand Invs. v. Amag Pharms., Inc.
Plaintiffs brought this putative class action under sections 11, 12, and 15 of the Securities Act, alleging that a prospectus and registration statement (the offering documents) issued by AMAG Pharmaceutical, Inc. in connection with a secondary stock offering held in 2010 contained two serious omissions: (1) a failure to disclose almost two dozen reports of serious adverse effects linked to a make-or-break drug for AMAG's future; and (2) failure to disclose information the FDA revealed in a warning letter issued after the offering. The district court dismissed the entire complaint on the ground that Plaintiffs failed sufficiently to plead section 11 claims pursuant to an SEC regulation. The First Circuit Court of Appeals (1) reversed the dismissal of the claims of actionable omissions because of the undisclosed reports because the reports gave rise to uncertainties AMAG knew would adversely affect future revenues and risk factors that made the offering risky and speculative; (2) affirmed as to the claims of omissions regarding the FDA information; and (3) reversed the dismissal of Plaintiffs' sections 12 and 15 causes of action. Remanded. View "Silverstrand Invs. v. Amag Pharms., Inc." on Justia Law
Cody v. SEC
Petitioner sought review of an administrative determination sustained by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that Petitioner mismanaged various brokerage accounts under his supervision. The original determination including sanctions was made by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding, inter alia, (1) FINRA gave Petitioner the substance of due process as required by statute; (2) FINRA and the SEC did not err in finding that investments Petitioner made were unsuitable even though the investments ultimately turned a profit; (3) the findings against Petitioner were well supported; and (4) although one of the exhibits offered against Petitioner had errors, the exhibit's exclusion cured any potential error in the analysis. View "Cody v. SEC" on Justia Law
In re: Boston Scientific Corp. Sec. Litigation
A substantial portion of Boston Scientific's sales in 2008-2009 were of cardiac rhythm management devices handled by a group within the company devoted to such products. In August 2009, Boston Scientific began an audit of CRM sales expense reports from recent trips of sales representatives who accompanied physician customers on tours of Boston Scientific manufacturing facilities; in September Boston Scientific received a subpoena from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, requesting information about contributions made by CRM to charities with ties to physicians or their families. Neither the audit nor the subpoena were initially disclosed to the public. After stock prices dropped, a purported class of shareholders sued for securities fraud, Securities Exchange Act, 15 U.S.C. 78j(b), 78t(a)), and associated regulations, 17 C.F.R. 240.10b-5, alleging that statements made by the company were materially false or misleading. The district court dismissed. The First Circuit affirmed, noting other possible causes of loss and finding that plaintiffs did not establish scienter. View "In re: Boston Scientific Corp. Sec. Litigation" on Justia Law
Auto. Indus. Pension Trust Fund v. Textron Inc.
In 2007-2008, Textron made public statements assuring investors of the strength and depth of the backlog of orders to carry it through difficult economic times. In January 2008 an officer referred to "unusually low cancellations." Several similar statements followed. In a 2009 analyst report, J.P. Morgan wondered "how we go from 3.5 years of backlog six months ago to a 20% y/y production decline for 2009 that is only 80% sold out." Plaintiffs, purchasers of Textron securities, claim that for more than 18 months, Textron misstated the strength of the backlog. The complaint does not challenge the technical accuracy of most of Textron's statements, but claimed that Textron deliberately omitted material information, that Textron's officers could not have believed the truth of their unrelentingly positive statements, and that certain factual statements about cancellation figures were false when made. The main thrust of plaintiffs' complaint concerned failure to disclose information about the weakness of the backlog due to relaxed financing arrangements and other practices. The district court dismissed. The First Circuit affirmed. The complaint was deficient; the materiality issue was a close call, but the complaint failed to plead facts justifying a reasonable inference of scienter. View "Auto. Indus. Pension Trust Fund v. Textron Inc." on Justia Law
Katz v. Pershing, LLC
Defendant sells brokerage and investment products and services, typically to registered broker-dealers and investment advisers that trade securities for clients. One of its services, NetExchange Pro, an interface for research and managing brokerage accounts via the Internet, can be used for remote access to market dynamics and customer accounts. A firm may make its clients' personal information, including social security numbers and taxpayer identification numbers, accessible to end-users in NetExchange Pro. Some of defendant's employees also have access to this information. Plaintiff, a brokerage customer with NPC, which made its customer account information accessible in NetExchange Pro, received notice of the company's policy and filed a putative class action, alleging breach of contract, breach of implied contract, negligent breach of contractual duties, and violations of Massachusetts consumer protection laws. The district court dismissed. The First Circuit affirmed. Despite "dire forebodings" about access to personal information, plaintiff failed to state any contractual claim for relief and lacks constitutional standing to assert a violation of any arguably applicable consumer protection law. View "Katz v. Pershing, LLC" on Justia Law
OK Firefighters Pension v. Smith & Wesson Holding Corp.
A class representing purchasers of securities sued the company and two high-ranking officers, alleging that the company issued false or misleading public statements about demand for its products in violation of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. 78j(b), and related regulations. The district court granted summary judgment to the company. The First Circuit affirmed. Once a downward trend became clear, the company explicitly acknowledged that its forecasts had been undermined. Whether it was negligent to have remained too sanguine earlier, there was no evidence of anything close to fraud. View "OK Firefighters Pension v. Smith & Wesson Holding Corp." on Justia Law