Justia Securities Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
Knowles v. TD Ameritrade Holding Corp.
The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's order dismissing with prejudice plaintiff's second amended complaint (SAC) against TD Ameritrade. Plaintiff's claims stemmed from a systemic glitch of TD Ameritrade's tax-loss harvesting tool (TLH Tool), which failed to reinvest plaintiff's funds in an effort to avoid violating the "Wash Sale Rule." Plaintiff filed a class action, alleging claims for breach of contract and negligence.The court held that the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act of 1998 (SLUSA) preempts plaintiff's class action claims because he failed to demonstrate these claims are rooted in a violation of any specific contract provision. The court explained that, while, on its face, the operative complaint focuses on TD Ameritrade's alleged improper administration of the TLH Tool, the allegations are insufficient to demonstrate TD Ameritrade breached any contract terms. Therefore, plaintiff's class action claims are rooted in TD Ameritrade's omissions in disclosing information about the operation of the TLH Tool, which triggers SLUSA preemption.Applying Nebraska law, the court also concluded that plaintiff's contract claim was properly dismissed under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) where plaintiff failed to allege TD Ameritrade breached any contract terms or promises in the administration of the TLH Tool. Therefore, the allegations failed to provide TD Ameritrade with reasonable notice of the breach of contract claim as required by Rule 8. The court further concluded that the duty plaintiff alleges in his negligence claim arose out of the contract between the parties and thus activated the economic loss rule, which precludes a negligence cause of action. Finally, the court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing the SAC with prejudice and denying leave to amend as futile. View "Knowles v. TD Ameritrade Holding Corp." on Justia Law
Panircelvan Kaliannan v. Ee Hoong Liang
Plaintiffs, Singapore residents and citizens who invested in a now-defunct North Dakota company called North Dakota Developments, LLC (NDD), filed suit seeking damages from defendant for his role in convincing plaintiffs to buy fraudulent, unregistered securities.The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, concluding that the district court did not err in determining that it had personal jurisdiction over defendant because his conduct and connection with North Dakota were such that he should have reasonably anticipated being haled into court there. The court also agreed with the district court that venue was proper where plaintiffs' claims arose from the sale or solicitation of unregistered, fraudulent North Dakota securities related to real property located in North Dakota. The court declined to consider the issue of forum non conveniens because defendant failed to raise the claim in the district court. Finally, the court concluded that the district court correctly granted summary judgment where defendant decided to stop participating in the district court litigation, including not responding to the motion for summary judgment. View "Panircelvan Kaliannan v. Ee Hoong Liang" on Justia Law
Donelson v. Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.
Plaintiff filed suit against Defendants Sachse, Ameriprise, and individual Ameriprise officers, alleging violations of federal securities law. Plaintiff also sought to represent other Sachse and Ameriprise clients in a class action. Defendants filed motions to strike plaintiff's class action allegations and to compel arbitration, which the district court denied.The Eighth Circuit reversed and remanded for entry of an order striking plaintiff's class action allegations and compelling arbitration. The court concluded that it has appellate jurisdiction to review the district court's denial of defendants' motions to strike class action allegations because this denial was contained in an order reviewable under 9 U.S.C. 16(a)(1)(B). The court also concluded that defendants have not waived their right to arbitrate by moving to strike plaintiff's class action allegations at the same time they moved to compel arbitration where the action was not inconsistent with their right to arbitrate and did not substantially invoke the litigation machinery. On the merits, the court concluded that a valid arbitration clause exists and that it encompasses the dispute between the parties. In this case, the court agreed with defendants that the arbitration clause was valid because it was supported by mutual assent, was supported by consideration, and was not unconscionable. View "Donelson v. Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc." on Justia Law
Carpenters’ Pension Fund of Illinois v. Target Corp.
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
COR Clearing, LLC v. Calissio Resources Group, Inc.
COR, a securities clearing and settlement firm, filed suit against Calissio seeking to recover losses resulting from a dividend transaction that it has not already recovered in other proceedings. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment dismissing all claims against SST (the transfer agent) and the Broker Defendants. The court held that the transfer agent had no knowledge of a misrepresentation in the use of a seemingly appropriate "CUSIP" number for additional shares of the same class as existing shares and the transfer agent reasonably relied on attorney opinion letters in issuing the new shares. Furthermore, COR failed to show it reasonably relied on the transfer agent's alleged misrepresentation. Accordingly, the transfer agent was entitled to judgment on plaintiff's fraudulent misrepresentation claims.The court also held that the district court properly dismissed claims against the Broker Defendants. In this case, COR has no conversion claim against the Broker Defendants, who simply acted as pass-through agents of the buyers in receiving and distributing due bill credits. Likewise, COR's unjust enrichment claim failed because the Broker Defendants received due bill credits from DTC for the benefit of their account holders and passed the benefit to their account holders without delay. View "COR Clearing, LLC v. Calissio Resources Group, Inc." on Justia Law
Campbell v. Transgenomic, Inc.
A shareholder of Transgenomic filed a class action against former shareholders, alleging materially misleading statements and omissions in the proxy statement. The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's ruling that any omissions or misstatements in the proxy statement were not materially misleading, and held that the district court improperly resolved the materiality of the omission as a matter of law. The court also held that issues regarding whether a revenue table was misleading were also questions for the trier of fact. Finally, plaintiff's section 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act allegation was sufficiently pled. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Campbell v. Transgenomic, Inc." on Justia Law
Oetting v. Sosne
The class representative of federal securities class actions appealed the dismissal of the unsecured creditor claim and amended claim he filed in the pending Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding of lead class counsel, Green Jacobson, P.C. The Eighth Circuit held that the claim for the cy pres distribution was no longer an issue because the distribution had been returned by the charity and deposited with the district court clerk for ultimate distribution for the benefit of the NationsBank class; the negligent supervision claim was time-barred; the disgorgement claim was not time-barred by Missouri's five year statute of limitations; and the bankruptcy court did not err in disallowing the bankruptcy claim as premature and lacking in supporting foundation. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. View "Oetting v. Sosne" on Justia Law
Zola v. TD Ameritrade, Inc.
Plaintiffs filed separate class action complaints against TD Ameritrade, alleging that the company breached its duty of best execution when it routed client orders to buy and sell securities to trading venues that paid TD Ameritrade top dollar for its order flow. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint because the state law claims were precluded by the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act of 1998 (SLUSA). In this case, the gravamen of plaintiffs' claims involved a misrepresentation or omission of a material fact in connection with the purchase or sale of a covered security. View "Zola v. TD Ameritrade, Inc." on Justia Law
Ryan v. Ryan
Stacy Ryan filed suit against Streck, Inc. and Connie Ryan, alleging violations of section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 10b-5, and multiple violations of Nebraska law in connection with Streck's redemption of Stacy's stock. The Eighth Circuit held that the district court did not err in granting defendants' motion to dismiss because Stacy did not plausibly plea that defendants' wrongful actions caused her loss. Furthermore, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to alter or amend the judgment. However, the district court erred in denying Stacy's Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) motion. Therefore, the court remanded for further consideration of the motion to alter or amend presented newly discovered evidence warranting alteration of the order dismissing her breach of contract claim. View "Ryan v. Ryan" on Justia Law
Lewis v. Scottrade, Inc.
The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's putative class action alleging that Scottrade violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, breach of a common law fiduciary duty, and unjust enrichment. Plaintiff alleged that Scottrade routinely routes customer limit orders for the purchase and sale of securities to trading venues that pay rebates to sending brokers, violating Scottrade's duty of best execution in buying and selling securities on behalf of its customers. The court held that the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act (SLUSA), 15 U.S.C. 78bb(f)(1), preempted plaintiff's action because the allegations in plaintiff's state law class action complaint, fairly read, alleged material misrepresentations or omissions, or the use of a manipulative or deceptive device or contrivance, in connection with the purchase and sale of covered securities. View "Lewis v. Scottrade, Inc." on Justia Law