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After NASDAQ encountered a variety of technical difficulties in executing Facebook, Inc.'s initial public offering (IPO), retail investors filed suit against NASDAQ. After those claims were eventually settled, NASDAQ filed suit against insurance companies for coverage under both errors and omissions (E&O) and directors' and officers' (D&O) insurance policies. The district court granted ACE and Illinois National summary judgment. The Second Circuit held that federal securities law makes clear that retail investors in company stock are "customers" of NASDAQ within the meaning of the insurance policies at issue; the claims in the underlying complaint arose out of the provision of "professional services" as plaintiffs could not prevail without demonstrating that their losses flowed from NASDAQ's failure to properly process their trades; and thus the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment on the issue of indemnification. View "Beazley Insurance Co. v. Ace American Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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After NASDAQ encountered a variety of technical difficulties in executing Facebook, Inc.'s initial public offering (IPO), retail investors filed suit against NASDAQ. After those claims were eventually settled, NASDAQ filed suit against insurance companies for coverage under both errors and omissions (E&O) and directors' and officers' (D&O) insurance policies. The district court granted ACE and Illinois National summary judgment. The Second Circuit held that federal securities law makes clear that retail investors in company stock are "customers" of NASDAQ within the meaning of the insurance policies at issue; the claims in the underlying complaint arose out of the provision of "professional services" as plaintiffs could not prevail without demonstrating that their losses flowed from NASDAQ's failure to properly process their trades; and thus the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment on the issue of indemnification. View "Beazley Insurance Co. v. Ace American Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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Wilson was the Director, Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO of Imperial, which acquired e-Bio, which ran a fraud scheme, "Alchemy." It involved purchasing biodiesel from a third party and reselling it as though it had been produced by e-Bio, to take advantage of government incentives for renewable-energy production without expending production costs. Wilson was convicted of 21 counts: fraud in connection with the purchase or sale of securities, 15 U.S.C. 78j(b) and 78ff; fraud in the offer or sale of securities, 15 U.S.C. 77q(a) and 77x, and 18 U.S.C. 2; material false statements in required SEC filings, 15 U.S.C. 78ff and 18 U.S.C. 2; wrongful certification of annual and quarterly reports by a corporate officer, 18 U.S.C. 1350(c)(1); material false statements by a corporate officer to an accountant, 15 U.S.C. 78m(b)(5) and 78ff, and 18 U.S.C. 2; and false statements to government investigators, of 18 U.S.C. 1001. The dcourt sentenced Wilson to 120 months’ imprisonment and to pay $16,468,769.73 in restitution. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. None of Wilson’s contentions reach the high threshold of showing that a reasonable jury could not have found him guilty. Viewed in the light most favorable to the prosecution, the evidence adequately supports the jury’s finding that Wilson knowingly and willfully made false statements to investors, regulators, an outside accountant, and government agents, and the reasonable inference that Wilson participated in “Alchemy.” View "United States v. Wilson" on Justia Law

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Goldman Sachs appealed the district court's order certifying a class of plaintiffs who purchased shares of common stock in Goldman Sachs. Plaintiffs alleged that Goldman Sachs made material misstatements about its efforts to avoid conflicts of interest, and those misstatements caused the value of their shares to decline. In light of the Second Circuit's recent pronouncement that defendants bear the burden of persuasion to rebut the presumption in Basic Inc. v. Levinson, 485 U.S. 224 (1988), by a preponderance of the evidence, and for additional reasons, the court vacated plaintiffs' motion for class certification and remanded for further proceedings. The court explained that it was unclear whether the district court applied the correct standard in this case. View "Arkansas Teachers Retirement System v. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc." on Justia Law

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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

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of putative class actions because the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act (SLUSA), Pub L. 105-353, 112 Stat. 3227, deprived the court of subject matter jurisdiction. Plaintiffs filed suit alleging a breach by a securities dealer of the "duty of best execution" in completing trades. The panel held that plaintiffs had Article III standing because they alleged overpaying for securities trades and losses from trades not executed promptly and those concrete injuries, if proven, were redressable through monetary damages. However, plaintiffs' claims were barred by SLUSA, because all of plaintiffs' pleaded causes of action allege deceptive conduct actionable under federal securities law; the challenged conduct occurred in connection with the purchase or sale of a security; the complaint plainly pleaded a manipulative or deceptive device or contrivance in connection with the purchase or sale of a covered security; and thus the claims were SLUSA-barred. View "Fleming v. Charles Schwab Corp." on Justia Law

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In this appeal, the issue before the Delaware Supreme Court was the limits of the stockholder ratification defense when directors make equity awards to themselves under the general parameters of an equity incentive plan. In the absence of stockholder approval, if a stockholder properly challenges equity incentive plan awards the directors grant to themselves, the directors must prove that the awards are entirely fair to the corporation. But, when the stockholders have approved an equity incentive plan, the affirmative defense of stockholder ratification comes into play. Here, the Equity Incentive Plan (“EIP”) approved by the stockholders left it to the discretion of the directors to allocate up to 30% of all option or restricted stock shares available as awards to themselves. The plaintiffs alleged facts leading to a pleading-stage reasonable inference that the directors breached their fiduciary duties by awarding excessive equity awards to themselves under the EIP. Thus, a stockholder ratification defense was not available to dismiss the case, and the directors had to demonstrate the fairness of the awards to the Company. The Supreme Court reversed the Court of Chancery’s decision dismissing the complaint and remanded for further proceedings. View "In Re Investors Bancorp, Inc. Stockholder Litigation" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit vacated the district court's judgment in favor of defendants in a class action alleging that several national securities exchanges mislead them about certain products and services that the exchanges sold to high-frequency trading firms. The court held that it had subject matter jurisdiction over the case; the exchanges were not entitled to absolute immunity; and the district court erred in dismissing the complaint. In this case, plaintiffs have sufficiently pleaded that the exchanges engaged in manipulative or deceptive conduct in violation of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. 78j(b), and Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 10b‐5, 17 C.F.R. 240.10b‐5. View "City of Providence v. BATS Global Markets, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff Antoinette Rossetta appealed the dismissal of her second amended complaint after the trial court sustained a demurrer by defendants CitiMortgage, Inc. (CitiMortgage) and U.S. Bank National Association as Trustee for Citicorp Residential Trust Series 2006-1 (2006-1 Trust). The complaint asserted multiple causes of action sounding in tort, and unlawful business practices in violation of the Unfair Competition Law arising from loan modification negotiations spanning more than two years. Rossetta also appealed the trial court’s dismissal of a cause of action for conversion that appeared in an earlier iteration of the complaint to which CitiMortgage and the 2006-1 Trust (collectively, CitiMortgage, unless otherwise indicated) also successfully demurred. After review, the Court of Appeal concluded: (1) the trial court erred in sustaining the demurrer to the causes of action for negligence and violations of the Unfair Competition Law; (2) the trial court properly sustained the demurrer to the causes of action for intentional misrepresentation and promissory estoppel, but should have granted leave to amend to give Rossetta an opportunity to state a viable cause of action based on an alleged oral promise to provide her with a Trial Period Plan (TPP) under the Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP) in April 2012; and (3) the trial court properly sustained the demurrer to the causes of action for negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress and conversion without leave to amend. View "Rossetta v. CitiMortgage, Inc." on Justia Law

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The remaining petitioners in this matter were former stockholders of Dell, Inc. who validly exercised their appraisal rights instead of voting for a buyout led by the Company’s founder and CEO, Michael Dell, and affiliates of a private equity firm, Silver Lake Partners (“Silver Lake”). In perfecting their appraisal rights, petitioners acted on their belief that Dell’s shares were worth more than the deal price of $13.75 per share, which was already a 37% premium to the Company’s ninety-day-average unaffected stock price. The Delaware appraisal statute allows stockholders who perfect their appraisal rights to receive “fair value” for their shares as of the merger date instead of the merger consideration. Furthermore, the statute requires the Court of Chancery to assess the “fair value” of such shares and, in doing so, “take into account all relevant factors.” The trial court took into account all the relevant factors presented by the parties in advocating for their view of fair value and arrived at its own determination of fair value. The Delaware Supreme Court found the problem with the trial court’s opinion was not that it failed to take into account the stock price and deal price; the court erred because its reasons for giving that data no weight (and for relying instead exclusively on its own discounted cash flow (“DCF”) analysis to reach a fair value calculation of $17.62) did not follow from the court’s key factual findings and from relevant, accepted financial principles. "[T]he evidence suggests that the market for Dell’s shares was actually efficient and, therefore, likely a possible proxy for fair value. Further, the trial court concluded that several features of management-led buyout (MBO) transactions render the deal prices resulting from such transactions unreliable. But the trial court’s own findings suggest that, even though this was an MBO transaction, these features were largely absent here. Moreover, even if it were not possible to determine the precise amount of that market data’s imperfection, as the Court of Chancery concluded, the trial court’s decision to rely 'exclusively' on its own DCF analysis is based on several assumptions that are not grounded in relevant, accepted financial principles." View "Dell, Inc. v. Magnetar Global Event Driven Master Fund Ltd, et al." on Justia Law