Articles Posted in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

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Plaintiffs, who purchased EveryWare securities in 2013-2014, alleged a “pump and dump” scheme by EveryWare’s principal shareholders and officers to inflate the price of EveryWare shares and then sell their EveryWare shares before prices plummeted. They claim that EveryWare’s CEO released EveryWare’s financial projections for 2013, despite actually knowing those projections to be false and misleading and, months later, told investors, with the intent to deceive, manipulate, or defraud, that EveryWare was on track to meet its projections and that when EveryWare offered a portion of its shares to investors in September 2013, and submitted a registration statement and a prospectus in connection with that offering, EveryWare’s underwriters and directors signed documents, incorporating EveryWare’s financial projections and failing to disclose material downward trends in the business. The Sixth Circuit affirmed dismissal of plaintiffs’ claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the Securities Act of 1933. The Exchange Act claims failed because plaintiffs did not allege particularized facts giving rise to a strong inference that defendants acted with the requisite scienter; the Securities Act claims failed because plaintiffs did not allege any well-pleaded material statement or omission in the registration statement or the prospectus. View "IBEW Local No. 58 Annuity Fund v. EveryWare Global, Inc." on Justia Law

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Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) filed a class action suit alleging securities fraud against Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), a government sponsored entity chartered by Congress that operates in the secondary mortgage market. OPERS alleged that Freddie Mac concealed its overextension in the nontraditional mortgage market (subprime mortgages or low credit and high-risk instruments) and its materially deficient underwriting, risk management, and fraud detection practices through misstatements and omissions to investors. OPERS claimed that the fund suffered foreseeable losses triggered when the risk that had been concealed materialized. The district court dismissed, concluding that OPERS failed to show loss causation. The Sixth Circuit reversed. Considering “the relationship between the risks allegedly concealed and the risks that subsequently materialized,” as well as the close correlation between the alleged revelation or materialization of the risk and the immediate fall in stock price, the court concluded that OPERS had alleged sufficient facts to support a plausible claim. View "Oh. Pub. Employees Ret. Sys. v. Fed. Home Loan Mortgage Corp." on Justia Law

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In October 2012, and again a year later, General Cable announced that it would reissue several public financial statements because they included material accounting errors. Soon after, City of Livonia Employees’ Retirement System initiated a class-action suit against General Cable, under the 1934 Securities Exchange Act, 15 U.S.C. 78j(b), 78t(a), and Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 10b-5, 17 C.F.R. 240.10b-5. Livonia asserted that defendants acted at least recklessly in issuing or approving materially false public financial statements. The defendants countered that the misstatements resulted from accounting errors and a theft scheme in its Brazilian operations of which the defendants were unaware and that they promptly sought to remediate upon discovering them. The district court dismissed Livonia’s complaint with prejudice because it failed to plead scienter adequately. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. Seven factors favored rejecting a scienter inference. Livonia cited no facts with sufficient particularity implicating suspicious insider trading or failure to disclose impending stock sales. View "Doshi v. General Cable Corp." on Justia Law

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When the five investment funds at issue lost nearly 90 percent of their value in 2007-2008, investors lost large sums. Various plaintiffs (investors) initially filed claims with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, participated in arbitration, or filed state suits. In 2013, they filed suit under the Securities Act of 1933, 15 U.S.C. 77k, 77l, and 77o, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. 78j(b) and 78t(a), and SEC Rule 10b-5. They alleged that the funds were overvalued and concentrated in risky securities and that investors relied on misrepresentations in purchasing the funds. The district court initially granted class certification, but dismissed the claims as barred by the statutes of limitations. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, holding that the suits were barred by the applicable statutes of repose. The court declined to “toll” those statutes View "Stein v. Regions Morgan Keegan Select High Income Fund, Inc." on Justia Law

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Internal Revenue Code section 1256 provides that an investor who holds certain derivatives at the close of the taxable year must “mark to market” by treating those derivatives as having been sold for fair market value on the last business day of the taxable year. A “foreign currency contract” is a “section 1256 contract” that an investor must mark to market. Contending that a foreign currency option is within the definition of “foreign currency contract," the Wrights claimed a large tax loss by marking to market a euro put option upon their assignment of the option to a charity. The Wrights’ assignment of the option was part of a series of transfers of mutually offsetting foreign currency options that they executed over three days. These transactions apparently allowed the Wrights to generate a large tax loss at minimal economic risk or out-of-pocket expense. The Tax Court held that the Wrights could not recognize a loss upon assignment of the euro put option because the option was not a “foreign currency contract” under section 1256. The Sixth Circuit reversed. While disallowance of the claimed tax loss makes sense as tax policy, the statute's plain language clearly provides that a foreign currency option can be a “foreign currency contract.” View "Wright v. Comm'r of Internal Revenue" on Justia Law