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  • Middle District Of Florida Dismisses Putative Class Action Against Recycling Company For Failure To Adequately Allege Misrepresentations Or Scienter
     
    08/16/2022

    On August 4, 2022, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida dismissed without prejudice a putative class action asserting claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against a recycling services company, certain of its officers and directors, and the former CEO of a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) that acquired the company.  Theodore v. PureCycle Tech. Inc., No. 6:21-cv-809-PGB-GJK, slip op. (M.D. Fla. Aug. 4, 2022), ECF No. 112.  Plaintiffs alleged that the company made misrepresentations with respect to its management team’s experience, the value of its patented recycling process, and its future production and financial projections, which were allegedly revealed in a short-seller report.  The Court held that the complaint on its face failed to state precisely which statements or omissions were at issue and where they were made, that plaintiffs adequately alleged certain misrepresentations but not others, and that plaintiffs adequately alleged loss causation but not scienter.
  • Central District Of California Dismisses With Prejudice Suit Against Children’s Cartoon Company And Finds That The Complaint Violated Rule 8 Of The Federal Rules Of Civil Procedure
     
    07/28/2022

    On July 15, 2022, the United States District Court for the Central District of California granted a motion to dismiss a putative class action against a children’s cartoon company (the “Company”) and certain of its officers alleging violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  In Re Genius Brands Int’l, Inc. Sec. Litig., CV 20-7457 DSF (RAOx) (C.D. Cal. July 15, 2022).  In a second amended complaint, plaintiffs alleged that the Company made materially false and misleading statements and omissions about the Company’s engagement of a stock promotion company, an impending acquisition by Disney or Netflix, and its economic resilience in the face of COVID-19, among other topics.  The Court dismissed the claims with prejudice for failure to adequately plead falsity or materiality, and further held that the complaint of 289 paragraphs and 84 pages violated Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that requires a “short and plain statement” of the claims.
  • Northern District Of California Dismisses Without Prejudice Putative Class Action Against Synthetic Biology Company For Failure To Allege Scienter
     
    06/07/2022

    On May 31, 2022, Judge Beth Labson Freeman of the Northern District of California dismissed without prejudice a putative class action asserting claims under the Securities Exchange Act against a synthetic biology company and certain of its executives.  Joseph v. Precigen, Inc., No. 20-cv-06936-BLF (N.D. Cal. May 31, 2022).  Plaintiff alleged that the company misrepresented the efficiency and economic viability of its methane conversion program.  The Court held that plaintiff failed to adequately allege scienter and failed to allege falsity with respect to certain alleged misrepresentations; however, the Court granted leave to replead.
  • Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Complaint Against Pharmaceutical Company For Failure To Allege Falsity And Loss Causation
     
    05/24/2022

    On May 19, 2022, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court’s dismissal of a putative class action against a pharmaceutical company (the “Company”) asserting claims under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  In re Nektar Therapeutics Inc. Sec. Litig., No. 21-15170 (9th Cir. May 19, 2022).  Plaintiffs alleged that the Company misled investors about the results of its preliminary trial of the Company’s flagship drug when it presented the information without disclosing that outlier data was included in the average.  In December 2020, the Northern District of California dismissed the complaint for failure to plead falsity, scienter, or loss causation, which we covered here.  The Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal, holding that plaintiffs failed to sufficiently explain how the inclusion of the outlier data misled investors, or how the announcement of subsequent trial results caused a loss.
  • New York District Court Denies Motion To Dismiss Putative Securities Class Action Against Investment Company, Finding Plaintiffs Sufficiently Alleged Misleading Statements And Omissions In The Company’s Offering Documents
     
    05/17/2022

    On May 4, 2022, Judge Victor Marrero of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York denied a motion to dismiss a putative class action alleging, among other things, violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act (the “Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5 thereunder against an investment company (the “Company”), its related entities, and its president and co-founder.  Michael Tecku et al. v. YieldStreet Inc. et al., No. 1:20-cv-07327 (S.D.N.Y May 4, 2022).  Plaintiffs alleged that the Company “misrepresented material facts about the stability and attractiveness of their investment products in its offering documents” by making misleading statements or omissions in private placement memoranda (“PPMs”) and series notes supplements (“SNSs”).  The Court held that, accepting plaintiffs’ allegations as true, plaintiffs sufficiently alleged securities fraud violations for certain alleged misstatements and omissions.
  • Western District Of Texas Largely Denies Motion To Dismiss Putative Class Action Against Information Technology Company
     
    04/05/2022

    On March 30, 2022, Judge Robert Pitman of the Western District of Texas denied the majority of a motion to dismiss a putative class action asserting claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against an information technology company, certain of its executives, and private equity firms that owned the company’s securities.  In re SolarWinds Corp. Sec. Litig., No. 1:21-CV-138-RP (W.D. Tex. Mar. 30, 2022).  Plaintiffs alleged that company statements regarding its cybersecurity policies and practices were revealed to be false and misleading upon the disclosure of a security breach.  The Court held that plaintiffs adequately alleged falsity, scienter, and loss causation, except as to the company’s CEO, the allegations as to whom the Court granted plaintiffs leave to replead.
  • Eastern District Of Pennsylvania Declines To Dismiss Putative Class Action Against Pharmaceutical Company
     
    04/05/2022

    On March 25, 2022, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania largely denied a motion to dismiss a putative class action asserting claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against a pharmaceutical company and certain of its executives.  Halman Aldubi Provident & Pension Funds Ltd. v. Teva Pharm. Indus. Ltd., No. 20-cv-4660-KSM (E.D. Pa. Mar. 25, 2022).  Plaintiff alleged that the company made misrepresentations with respect to the reasons one of its drugs was commercially successful.  The Court held that except for allegations against the company’s CFO, plaintiff adequately alleged misrepresentations, scienter, and loss causation.
  • Southern District Of New York Grants Motion To Dismiss Exchange Act Claims Against Pharmaceutical Company For Alleged Omissions About Drug’s Safety
     
    04/05/2022

    On March 21, 2022, Judge Lewis J. Liman of the Southern District of New York granted a motion to dismiss a claim under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, as well as Section 20(a) of the Exchange Act against a pharmaceutical company (the “Company”) and certain of its executives.  Rice v. Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Inc., No. 1:21-cv-00036 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 21, 2022).  Plaintiffs alleged that defendants omitted material information concerning the safety of the Company’s liver disease drug that resulted in a stock drop once alleged corrective disclosures were made.  The Court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ first amended complaint (the “FAC”), holding that plaintiffs failed to sufficiently allege material omissions, scienter, or loss causation, but granted plaintiffs leave to replead.
  • Southern District Of New York Dismisses Putative Class Action Against Global Commercial Electronic Vehicle Company For Failure To Plead Scienter And Loss Causation
     
    03/23/2022

    On March 15, 2022, Judge George B. Daniels of the Southern District of New York dismissed a putative class action against a global company that focuses on facilitating the adoption of commercial electronic vehicles (“EV”) through its China-based division (the “Company”) and certain of its directors and officers for violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  In re Ideanomics Sec. Litig., No. 20 CIV. 4944 (GBD), 2022 WL 784812 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 15, 2022).  Plaintiffs alleged that the Company’s executives made numerous misstatements about the China-based sales hub (the “Center”) in earnings calls, YouTube interviews, and the press.  The Court dismissed the complaint with leave to amend, holding that although the complaint plausibly alleged misstatements, it failed to allege scienter or loss causation.
  • Southern District Of Ohio Declines To Dismiss Putative Class Action Against Energy Company Regarding Alleged Bribery Scheme
     
    03/15/2022

    On March 7, 2022, Judge Algenon L. Marbley of the Southern District of Ohio largely denied a motion to dismiss a putative class action asserting claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) and the Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”) against an energy company, certain of its executives and directors, and certain underwriters of its bond offerings.  In re FirstEnergy Corp. Sec. Litig., No. 2:20-cv-3785 (S.D. Ohio Mar. 7, 2022).  Plaintiffs alleged that the company engaged in an anti-competitive scheme that included bribing state officials in exchange for a government bailout of its nuclear power facilities.  The lawsuit relates to the Ohio House Bill 6 scandal, in connection with which Ohio’s former Speaker of the House and others have been arrested on racketeering charges, political strategists and lobbyists have pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy; the company fired certain executives for violating company policies and its code of conduct, and the company entered into a deferred prosecution agreement under which it paid a $230 million penalty and acknowledged having “conspired with public officials and other individuals and entities to pay millions of dollars to and for the benefit of public officials in exchange for specific official action” for the company’s benefit.  The Court held that plaintiffs had sufficiently alleged the various elements of their claims and declined to dismiss any defendant from the case, although the Court dismissed certain claims with respect to certain individual defendants.
  • District Of Connecticut, On Remand, Denies Motion To Dismiss Putative Class Action Against Consumer Financial Services Company
     
    02/24/2022

    On February 11, 2022, the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut denied a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action asserting claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) against a consumer financial services company that issues private-label credit cards and certain of its executives.  In re Synchrony Fin. Sec. Litig., No. 3:18-CV-1818 (VAB), 2022 WL 427499 (D. Conn. Feb. 11, 2022).  As discussed in our prior post the Court had previously dismissed the action in its entirety, including with respect to claims under the Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”).  The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld the dismissal of the Securities Act claims and certain of the Exchange Act claims but remanded for further proceedings regarding one challenged statement—that the company misrepresented the alleged “pushback” it had received from retail partners with respect to its underwriting standards.  Id. at *2.  On remand, the district court held that plaintiffs adequately alleged falsity, scienter, and loss causation with respect to the remaining challenged statement.
  • Northern District Of California Pares Claims In Putative Class Action Against Videoconferencing Company
     
    02/24/2022

    On February 16, 2022, Judge James Donato of the Northern District of California granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss a putative class action asserting claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against a videoconferencing company and certain of its executives.  In re Zoom Sec. Litig., No. 20-cv-02353-JD (N.D. Cal. Feb. 16, 2022).  Plaintiff alleged that the company made misrepresentations concerning the level of encryption on its primary videoconferencing product.  The Court held that plaintiff sufficiently alleged falsity, scienter, and loss causation as to the CEO’s challenged statements regarding encryption, but it dismissed claims as to certain other alleged misstatements, and all claims against one executive, for failure to sufficiently allege scienter, while granting leave to amend.
  • Northern District Of California Denies Motion To Dismiss Exchange Act Claims Against Electric Vehicle Battery Development Company, Holding Plaintiff Adequately Pleaded Misleading Statements, Scienter, And Loss Causation
     
    01/25/2022

    On January 14, 2022, Judge William H. Orrick of the Northern District of California denied a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action asserting claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5, against a lithium battery development company (the “Company”) and certain of its executives (collectively, “defendants”).  In re Quantumscape Securities Class Action Litigation, No. 3:21-cv-00058-WHO (N.D. Cal. Jan. 14, 2022).  The Company’s “solid-state” battery is an aspiring competitor to conventional lithium-ion batteries for use in electric vehicles.  The Court denied defendants’ motion to dismiss, holding that the Complaint was adequately plead with the exception of one of the challenged statements that it dismissed.
  • Northern District Of California Dismisses Putative Class Action Against Social Media Company For Failure To Adequately Allege Scienter, Loss Causation
     
    01/11/2022

    On December 20, 2021, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed a putative class action against a social media company and certain of its executives under the Securities Exchange Act.  In re Facebook, Inc. Sec. Litig., No. 5:18-CV-01725-EJD, 2021 WL 6000058 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 20, 2021).  Plaintiffs alleged that the company made misrepresentations relating to a data breach and with respect to users’ control of their data.  The Court previously dismissed plaintiffs’ prior two complaints but granted leave to replead.  Addressing plaintiffs’ third amended complaint, the Court held that plaintiffs still failed to adequately allege scienter for the data breach allegations and loss causation for the allegations about control of user data, and therefore dismissed the action without leave to replead.
    CATEGORIES : Loss CausationScienter
  • Northern District Of California Narrows Claims In Putative Securities Class Action Against Pharmaceutical Company
     
    10/26/2021

    On October 19, 2021, Chief Judge Richard Seeborg of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California narrowed the claims in a putative securities class action asserting claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against a pharmaceutical company and certain of its executives.  Sheet Metal Works Nat’l Pension Fund v. Bayer AG, No. 20-cv-4737, slip op. (N.D. Cal. Oct. 19, 2021), ECF No. 90.  Plaintiffs alleged that the company made misrepresentations relating to its acquisition of Monsanto.  The Court held that plaintiffs adequately alleged actionable misrepresentations and scienter with respect to only some of the challenged statements, and further held that plaintiffs adequately alleged loss causation for those statements.
  • Northern District Of California Dismisses Putative Class Action For Failure To Adequately Allege Actionable Misrepresentations Or Scienter
     
    08/26/2021

    On August 17, 2021, Judge Beth Labson Freeman of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed a putative class action asserting claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against an energy technology company and certain of its executives.  Hurst v. Enphase Energy, Inc., et al., No. 5:20-cv-04036-BLF, slip op. (N.D. Cal. Aug. 17, 2021).  Plaintiff alleged, based on a short seller report released the same day plaintiff’s complaint was filed, that the company misrepresented its revenues, engaged in improper deferred revenue accounting practices, and overstated the growth in its gross margins.  The Court held that plaintiff failed to adequately allege any misrepresentation or scienter and, therefore, dismissed the action, while granting plaintiff leave to amend to attempt to “rectify the defects” identified by the Court.
  • Southern District Of New York Dismisses Putative Class Action Against Cryptocurrency Mining Hardware Manufacturer For Failure To Allege Loss Causation And Materiality
     
    07/20/2021

    On July 8, 2021, Judge J. Paul Oetken of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed a putative securities class action against a Chinese manufacturer of cryptocurrency mining hardware (the “Company”) alleging violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Sections 11 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933.  Boluka Garment Co. v. Canaan Inc., No. 20-cv-07139 (S.D.N.Y. July 8, 2021).  Plaintiffs alleged that the Company failed to disclose material information regarding alleged related-party transactions in its registration statement.  The Court dismissed the complaint with leave to amend because plaintiffs failed to allege loss causation and materiality.
    CATEGORIES : Loss CausationMateriality
  • District Of New Jersey Dismisses Putative Class Action Against Cannabis Company For Failure To Adequately Allege Misrepresentations
     
    07/13/2021

    On July 6, 2021, Judge John Michael Vazquez of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey dismissed a putative class action asserting claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against a Canadian company that manufactures and distributes cannabis products (the “Company”) and certain of its executives.  In re Aurora Cannabis, Inc. Sec. Litig., No. 19-cv-20588 (JMV) (JBC), slip op. (D.N.J. July 6, 2021).  Plaintiffs alleged that defendants made material misstatements and omissions relating to the Company’s earnings projections that allegedly failed to disclose certain headwinds in the industry.  The Court held that plaintiffs failed to identify any materially false or misleading statements, and also noted weaknesses in plaintiffs’ allegations with respect to the scienter and loss causation requirements.  Accordingly, the Court dismissed the first amended complaint in its entirety, but granted plaintiffs leave to replead to cure the identified defects.
  • Central District Of California Denies Motion To Dismiss A Securities Fraud Complaint Against Medical Device Manufacturer Based On Statements Regarding Post-Acquisition Integration And Sales
     
    04/06/2021

    On March 29, 2021, Judge David O. Carter of the United States District Court for the Central District of California denied a motion to dismiss a consolidated putative class action complaint against a medical device manufacturer and marketer (the “Company”) and certain of its officers, alleging violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  In re Merit Med. Sys., Inc. Sec. Litig., No. 8:19-02326 DOC (ADSx) (C.D. Cal. Mar. 29, 2021).  Plaintiffs alleged that the Company issued misleading statements regarding its acquisitions of two companies in late 2018 including with respect to the integration of those companies and their products sales.  The Court denied defendants’ motion to dismiss, adopting a report and recommendation by Magistrate Judge Autumn D. Spaeth, which found that most of the challenged statements were not forward-looking statements protected by the PSLRA’s safe harbor provisions and that plaintiffs had adequately pled all elements of their claims. 
  • District Of Connecticut Dismisses Putative Class Action For Failure To Adequately Allege Material Misrepresentations, Scienter, and Loss Causation
     
    03/31/2021

    On March 19, 2021, Judge Stefan R. Underhill of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut dismissed with prejudice a putative class action asserting claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against a transportation and logistics company and certain of its executives.  Labul, et al. v. XPO Logistics, et al., No. 3:18-cv-2062 (SRU), slip op. (D. Conn. Mar. 19, 2021).  Plaintiffs alleged that the company misrepresented the extent to which it relied on a single customer to drive revenue growth and the financial impact of declining business from that customer.  The Court held that plaintiffs failed to adequately allege the existence of material misrepresentations, scienter, or loss causation, and therefore dismissed the action.
  • Southern District Of New York Dismisses Putative Class Action Against Browser Services Company, Holding Plaintiffs Failed To Plead Material Misrepresentations And Scienter
     
    03/23/2021

    On March 13, 2021, Judge John G. Koeltl of the Southern District of New York granted a motion to dismiss claims brought under Sections 10b and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b5-1 promulgated thereunder, as well as Sections 11 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”), against a Norwegian browser services company (the “Company”), its individual directors, and the underwriters of its initial public offering (the “IPO”). Lau v. Opera Limited et al., No. 1:2020-cv-00674 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 13, 2021).  Plaintiffs alleged that the Company’s IPO offering materials contained materially false and misleading statements and omissions, and defendants made false or misleading statements in other documents and analyst calls regarding the Company’s market share and entry into the “fintech” market.  The Court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ consolidated class action complaint (the “CCAC”), with leave to amend.
     
  • Southern District Of New York Dismisses Putative Class Action Against Midstream Oil Company For Failure To Plead A Misrepresentation Or Omission
     
    03/17/2021

    On March 8, 2021, Judge Lewis J. Liman of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed a putative securities class action against a midstream oil company (the “Company”), its general partner, and an infrastructure firm that was an affiliate of the general partner and acquired the Company (the “Firm”), as well as certain of the Company’s officers and directors, alleging violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5.  Kraft v. Third Coast Midstream, No. 19-cv-9398 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 8, 2021).  Plaintiffs alleged that the Company and the Firm orchestrated a scheme to manipulate the price of the Company’s common units (“CUs”) through a series of misstatements and omissions so that the Firm could acquire the Company at a deflated price.  The Court dismissed the claims for failure to plead any actionable misstatement or omission or a manipulative act, as well as loss causation or scienter.
     
  • Eastern District Of New York Dismisses Putative Class Action Against Cannabis Operator For Failure To Plead Misrepresentation And Loss Causation
     
    02/23/2021

    On February 16, 2021, Judge Brian M. Cogan of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York dismissed a putative securities class action against a medical and wellness cannabis operator and certain of its officers alleging violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5. In re Curaleaf Holdings Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 19-cv-04486 (E.D.N.Y. 2021). Plaintiffs alleged the Company made false and misleading statements regarding the benefits and legality of its cannabinol (“CBD”) products. The Court dismissed the complaint, holding that the Company disclosed what plaintiffs claimed was not disclosed and that plaintiffs thus failed to plead falsity or, with respect to certain alleged misstatements, loss causation.
     
  • Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of A Putative Securities Class Action Against An Electric Carmaker Related To Production Delays
     
    02/03/2021

    On January 26, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a putative securities class action against an electric car manufacturer (the “Company”) and certain of its officers for violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5.
     
  • Eastern District Of New York Grants Motion To Dismiss Exchange Act Claims Against Life Insurance Company In Connection With Its Retirement And Income Solution Program
     
    01/20/2021

    On January 7, 2021, Judge Sterling Johnson, Jr. of the Eastern District of New York granted a motion to dismiss, with prejudice, in a putative securities class action asserting claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”), and SEC Regulation S-K, Item 303, against a life insurance company (the “Company”) and certain of its executives.  Parchmann v. Metlife, et al., No. 18-cv-00780-SJ-RLM (E.D.N.Y. Jan. 7, 2021).  Plaintiff alleged that defendants made materially misleading statements regarding the Company’s financial condition and internal controls with respect to one of the Company’s Retirement and Income Solution (“RIS”) programs.  The Court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss with prejudice, holding, among other things, that plaintiffs failed to adequately plead falsity, loss causation, and scienter.
     
  • Ninth Circuit Reverses In Part Dismissal Of Exchange Act Claims Against Pharmaceutical Manufacturer, Holding That Plaintiffs Adequately Pled Certain Alleged Misstatements And Loss Causation
     
    01/20/2021

    On January 11, 2021, the Ninth Circuit in an unpublished decision affirmed in part and reversed in part the dismissal at the pleading stage of Section 10(b) claims under the Exchange Act of 1934 against a pharmaceutical manufacturer (the “Company”) and several of its officers for alleged misstatements regarding an alleged price fixing scheme and the performance of one of its generic drugs.  N.Y. Hotels Trades Council & Hotel Association of NYC Inc. Pension Fund et al. v. Impax Laboratories, Inc., et al., No. 19-16744 (9th Cir. Jan. 11, 2021).  The Court held that plaintiffs’ Second Amended Complaint (the “SAC”) adequately alleged falsity with respect to statements allegedly made by defendants concerning the performance of one of the Company’s drugs (diclofenac) as well forward-looking statements regarding earnings projections and revenue guidance, and further held that plaintiffs adequately alleged loss causation.  Our prior analysis of the district court’s decision can be found here.
     
  • Northern District Of California Dismisses A Putative Securities Class Action Against A Biopharmaceutical Company Related To Its Flagship Cancer Drug In Development
     
    01/13/2021

    On December 30, 2020, Judge Haywood S. Gilliam of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted a motion to dismiss a putative class action against a biopharmaceutical company (the “Company”) and certain of its officers for violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5.  Malquin v. Nektar Therapeutics, No. 18-cv-06607 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 30, 2020).  Plaintiffs alleged that the Company made false and misleading statements and omissions about the efficacy of its flagship cancer drug in development.  The Court dismissed the amended complaint with prejudice, confirming that securities claims cannot be based on allegations that a company failed to use the best or preferred statistical methods for evaluating the effectiveness of a new drug and that short seller reports will not constitute corrective disclosures sufficient to allege loss causation unless the reports can be characterized plausibly as revealing new information to the market.
     
  • Utah District Court Dismisses Putative Securities Class Action Against Biotechnology Firm For Failure To Allege Falsity And Loss Causation
     
    12/01/2020

    On November 22, 2020, Judge Howard C. Nielson, Jr. of the United States District Court for the District of Utah dismissed with prejudice a putative class action asserting claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against a biotechnology company and certain of its executives.  In re PolarityTE, Inc. Sec. Litig., No. 2:18-cv-00510, 2020 WL 6873798 (D. Utah Nov. 22, 2020).  Plaintiffs alleged that the company made material misstatements in the course of a reverse merger and in subsequent SEC filings.  The Court held that plaintiffs failed to adequately allege falsity with respect to certain challenged statements and failed to establish loss causation for the remainder.
     
  • Eastern District Of Virginia Denies Motions To Dismiss Exchange Act Claims Against Building Products Company In Connection With Its Pricing Strategy And Purported Anti-Competitive Conduct
     
    11/03/2020

    On October 26, 2020, Judge John A. Gibney, Jr. of the Eastern District of Virginia denied motions to dismiss a putative securities class action asserting claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) against a building products company (the “Company”), certain of its executives, and an institutional majority shareholder of the Company.  Cambridge Retirement System v. Jeld-Wen Holding, Inc., et al., No. 3:20-cv-112 (E.D. Va. Oct. 26, 2020).  Plaintiffs alleged defendants made material misstatements and omissions concerning the Company’s pricing strategy, alleged anti-competitive conduct, and the impact of a finding of liability in a separate antitrust private suit.  The Court denied defendants’ motions to dismiss the amended complaint, holding that plaintiffs adequately pled material misrepresentations or omissions, falsity, scienter and loss causation.
     
  • Ninth Circuit Reverses Dismissal Of Exchange Act Claims Against Bank And Its Executives, Holding Plaintiffs Adequately Alleged Loss Causation For Certain Claims
     
    10/13/2020

    On October 8, 2020, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the dismissal of a putative securities class action asserting claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”), and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, against a federally chartered savings bank and its holding company (collectively the “Bank”) and several of its executives, for alleged misstatements regarding the Bank’s underwriting standards, internal controls, and compliance program.  In re BofI Holding, Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 18-55415 (9th Cir. Oct. 8, 2020).  The district court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss the third amended complaint, holding that although plaintiffs adequately pled material misstatements and scienter, plaintiffs failed to sufficiently plead loss causation.  The Ninth Circuit (with Judge Paul J. Watford writing for the majority) vacated the dismissal, holding that plaintiffs sufficiently pled loss causation based on a whistleblower lawsuit filed by a former employee.  Judge Kenneth K. Lee concurred in part and dissented in part.
     
  • Northern District Of Illinois Denies Motion To Dismiss Putative Securities Class Action Against Pharmaceutical Company Relating To Alleged Kickback Scheme
     
    09/09/2020

    On September 1, 2020, Judge Charles R. Norgle of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied a motion to dismiss a putative class action asserting claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against a pharmaceutical company and certain of its executives.  Holwill v. AbbVie Inc., No. 1:18-cv-6790, slip. op. (N.D. Ill. Sept. 1, 2020).  Plaintiffs alleged that the company made material misstatements regarding the reasons for the success of the company’s principal drug that were rendered misleading because the company failed to disclose a kickback scheme that allegedly contributed to the drug’s success.  The Court held that the complaint adequately alleged actionable misrepresentations as well as the elements of scienter and loss causation.
     
  • Southern District Of New York Denies Motion To Dismiss Putative Class Action Against Sports Entertainment Company
     
    08/18/2020

    On August 6, 2020, Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York denied a motion to dismiss a putative class action asserting claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against a sports entertainment company and certain of its executives.  City of Warren Police & Fire Ret. Sys., v. World Wrestling Ent. Inc., No. 20-CV-2031 (JSR), 2020 WL 4547217, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 6, 2020).  Plaintiff alleged that the company made misrepresentations about its media contracts in the Middle East and North Africa (“MENA”).  The Court held that the complaint, “while not a model of clarity, adequately alleges an overall claim of securities fraud,” including with respect to actionable misrepresentations, scienter, and loss causation.
     
  • Second Circuit Affirms In Part Dismissal Of Securities Claims Against Cancer Drug Developer, Holding Certain Alleged Misstatements Inactionable As Corporate Puffery, But Allows Claims Concerning Other Alleged Misstatements To Proceed
     
    07/21/2020

    On July 13, 2020, the Second Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part the dismissal of Exchange Act claims against a pharmaceutical company (the “Company”) and certain individual defendants in connection with alleged misstatements regarding the efficacy of its pancreatic cancer drug, the design of the Company’s clinical trial, and the scientific literature concerning pancreatic cancer.  Nguyen v. NewLink, No. 19-642 (2d Cir. July 13, 2020).  The Second Circuit held that while some alleged misstatements were inactionable puffery, others were statements of opinion as to which, under the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Omnicare, plaintiffs adequately pled falsity.  The Second Circuit also held that plaintiff sufficiently pled loss causation.
     
  • District Of New Jersey Declines To Dismiss Putative Class Action Against Government Services Company
     
    06/16/2020

    On June 5, 2020, Judge Susan D. Wigenton of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey denied a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action against a government services company and certain of its executives under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder.  Emps. Ret. Sys. of the Puerto Rico Elec. Power Auth. v. Conduent Inc., No. CV-19-8237-SDW-SCM, 2020 WL 3026536 (D.N.J. June 5, 2020).  Plaintiff alleged that the company had overstated the progress it was making in modernizing the IT infrastructure that supported its electronic toll collection business.  The Court held that plaintiff adequately alleged actionable misrepresentations, as well as scienter and loss causation.
     
  • Northern District Of California Grants In Part Motion To Dismiss Securities Fraud Claims Against Multinational Technology Company, Holding That Plaintiffs Did Not Adequately Allege Falsity, Scienter, Or Loss Causation With Respect To Majority Of Alleged Misstatements
     
    06/09/2020

    On June 2, 2020, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the Northern District of California granted in part a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action asserting claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”), and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, against a multinational technology company (the “Company”) and two of its senior executives.  In re Apple Securities Litigation, No. 4:19-cv-02033 (N.D. Cal. June 2, 2020).  Plaintiffs alleged that defendants made materially false and misleading statements and omissions concerning the Company’s flagship product and its China business.  The Court stripped away most of plaintiff’s allegations, holding that those alleged misrepresentations failed to sufficiently allege falsity, scienter, and loss causation, but let remain two alleged misstatements made by the Company’s CEO to analysts that it found to be sufficiently pled.
     
  • District Of New Jersey Largely Upholds Claims In Putative Class Action Alleging Misleading Asbestos-Related Liability Projections
     
    05/27/2020

    On May 18, 2020, Judge William J. Martini of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey denied a motion to dismiss a putative class action asserting claims under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder against a consumer and industrial products company and certain of its executives.  Kanefsky v. Honeywell Int’l Inc., No. 18-cv-15536, slip op. (D.N.J. May 18, 2020), ECF No. 106.  Plaintiff alleged that the company made misrepresentations in SEC filings and public statements regarding the projected asbestos liability arising from its acquisition of a manufacturer of automobile brakes.  The Court held that plaintiff adequately alleged falsity, scienter, and loss causation as to certain alleged misstatements.
     
  • District Of New Jersey Dismisses Putative Class Action Against Blockchain Company For Failure To Adequately Allege Misstatements Or “Scheme” Liability
     
    05/05/2020

    On April 30, 2020, Chief Judge Freda L. Wolfson of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey dismissed a putative class action asserting claims under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder against a company that supports and operates blockchain technologies and certain of its executives and investors.  Takata v. Riot Blockchain, Inc., No. 18-02293 (FLW), slip op. (D. N.J. Apr. 30, 2020).  Plaintiff alleged that defendants engaged in a “pump-and-dump” scheme to inflate the price of the company’s stock before selling to unsuspecting retail investors.  Id.  The Court held that plaintiff failed to adequately allege any actionable misrepresentations and otherwise failed to establish “scheme” liability, and dismissed the action without prejudice.
     
  • Arizona Federal Court Upholds Rule 10b-5(b) Claims Against Renewable Energy Company And Its Executives, But Dismisses 10b-5(a) And (c) Claims
     
    04/21/2020

    On April 8, 2020, Chief Judge G. Murray Snow of the United States District Court for the District of Arizona granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action filed against a renewable energy company (“Company”) and its executives, alleging violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 and SEC Rule 10b-5.  Zhu v. Taronis Techs. Inc., 2020 WL 1703680 (D. Ariz. Apr. 8, 2020).  Plaintiffs alleged defendants misled investors about the existence of a contract with the City of San Diego.  The Court denied defendants’ motion to dismiss as to plaintiffs’ claims under Rule 10b-5(b) but granted the motion as to claims asserted under Rule 10b-5(a) and (c).
     
  • Southern District Of New York Certifies Class After Again Paring Claims Against Pharmaceutical Company
     
    04/14/2020

    On April 6, 2020, Judge J. Paul Oetken of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York partially granted a motion to dismiss claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against a pharmaceutical company and certain of its executives, and then granted plaintiffs’ unopposed motion for class certification.  In re Mylan N.V. Sec. Litig., No. 16-CV-7926 (JPO), 2020 WL 1673811 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 6, 2020).  As noted in our prior posts regarding the company’s motions to dismiss the first and second amended complaints, plaintiffs alleged that defendants made misleading statements regarding, among other things, an alleged rebate scheme involving the company’s EpiPen, and that defendants engaged in an illegal conspiracy to inflate the prices for various of the company’s generic drugs.  After plaintiffs filed a third amended complaint attempting to address deficiencies identified by the Court in its prior opinions, the Court held that plaintiffs had met their burden to plead scienter with respect to some, but not all, of the alleged misstatements.
     
  • Northern District Of California Dismisses Putative Class Action Against Technology Company For Failure To Adequately Allege Falsity And Scienter
     
    03/24/2020


    On March 16, 2020, Judge Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr. of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed a putative class action against a technology company and its executives asserting claims under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  Iron Workers Loc. 580 Jt. Funds v. NVIDIA Corp., No. 18-CV-07669-HSG, 2020 WL 1244936 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 16, 2020).  Plaintiffs alleged that the company made misrepresentations regarding its sales of graphic processing units (“GPUs”) for computer gaming and the proportion of such sales that were actually made to cryptocurrency miners—for which demand was allegedly more volatile.  The Court dismissed the action, holding that plaintiffs failed to adequately plead that the alleged misstatements were materially false or made with scienter, while permitting plaintiffs to file an amended complaint to attempt to cure these deficiencies.

     
  • Northern District Of Ohio Grants Motion To Dismiss Securities Fraud Claims Against Aerospace Component Company, Finding That Plaintiffs Did Not Adequately Allege Materiality Or Loss Causation With Respect To Alleged Misstatements And Omissions
     
    02/25/2020

    On February 19, 2020, Judge Pamela A. Barker of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio granted a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action, asserting claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”), and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, against an aerospace component design and manufacturing company (the “Company”) and two of its executive officers.  In re TransDigm Group Inc., No. 17-cv-01677-PAB (N.D. Ohio Feb. 19, 2020).  Plaintiffs alleged that defendants made materially false and misleading statements and omissions concerning the Company’s operations, business, and prospects that resulted in a drop in the Company’s stock price when the Company made certain purported corrective disclosures.  The Court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ Third Amended Complaint, finding that plaintiffs failed to sufficiently allege materiality or loss causation, and denied leave to amend.
     
  • Northern District Of California Pares Claims In Putative Class Action Against Food Supplement Manufacturer
     
    02/11/2020

    On February 4, 2020, Judge James Donato of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California partially dismissed a putative class action asserting claims under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against a food supplement company and certain of its former executives.  In Re TerraVia Holdings, Inc. Sec. Litig., No. 16-CV-06633-JD, 2020 WL 553939 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 4, 2020).  Plaintiffs alleged that the company made misrepresentations regarding the health benefits and commercial viability of certain ingredients it created and sourced for its food manufacturing partners, based on the company having received reports that these ingredients were causing illnesses, ultimately leading to product recalls.  The Court held that certain of the alleged misstatements were non-actionable, but that plaintiffs’ allegations respecting certain other alleged misstatements were sufficient to state a claim.
  • New York District Court Dismisses Securities Class Action Against Tax Services Provider Alleging Fraudulent Concealment Of CEO’s Misconduct On Materiality And Loss Causation Ground
     
    01/28/2020

    On January 17, 2017, Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York dismissed a putative class action asserting claims under Sections 10(b), 14(a), and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5, against a tax preparation services provider (the “Company”) and its former CEO and CFO (collectively, “Defendants”).  In re Liberty Tax, Inc. Sec. Litig., No. 2:17-CV-07327 (NGG) (RML) (E.D.N.Y. Jan. 17, 2020).  Plaintiffs alleged that Defendants made false and misleading statements and omissions about the Company’s compliance efforts and internal controls, which concealed the CEO’s extensive misconduct that ultimately caused steep declines in the Company’s stock price.  The Court dismissed the action on the basis that the statements at issue were unrelated to the CEO’s misconduct or were mere puffery, and that plaintiffs failed to establish loss causation linked to any corrective disclosures. 
     
  • District Of Nevada Denies Motion To Dismiss Putative Class Action Against Life Science Company Alleging Misstatements Regarding Patentability Of Key Product
     
    12/19/2019

    On December 10, 2019, Judge Jennifer A. Dorsey of the United States District Court for the District of Nevada denied a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action asserting claims under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against a life science company specializing in cannabidiols (“CBD”) and certain of the company’s executives.  In re CV Sciences, Inc. Sec. Litig., 2019 WL 6718086 (D. Nev. Dec. 10, 2019).  Plaintiffs alleged that the company made misleading statements that a CBD product was proprietary and had a patent application pending by failing to disclose that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) had rejected its patent application twice, including a “final rejection” on the ground that the proposed invention was obvious.  Id. at *1.  The Court held that plaintiffs had sufficiently alleged the falsity of the alleged misrepresentations at the motion-to-dismiss stage, and therefore declined to dismiss the complaint.
  • Southern District Of California Denies Summary Judgment For Defendants, Ruling That There Are Triable Issues Of Fact Related To Loss Causation, Materiality, Scienter, And Damages
     
    12/03/2019
    On November 6, 2016, Judge Michael A. Anello of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California denied defendants’ motion for summary judgment in a securities class action against a theme park and entertainment company (“defendant” or the “Company”), certain members of its management, and its largest shareholder.  Baker v. SeaWorld Entm’t, Inc., No. 14CV2129-MMA (AGS), 2019 WL 6118448 (S.D. Cal. Nov. 18, 2019).  Plaintiffs alleged that defendants violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by making materially misleading misstatements and omissions about the effect of Blackfish, a documentary film concerning killer whales in captivity, on attendance at the theme park and its earnings.  The Court denied defendants’ motion for summary judgment on the basis that there were genuine issues of material fact with respect to each element of a securities fraud claim. 
  • Western District Of Washington Partially Dismisses Exchange Act Claims Against Technology Company
     
    10/17/2019

    On October 4, 2019, Judge Robert Lasnik of the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action asserting claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against a technology company and certain of its executives.  In re Impinj, Inc., Sec. Litig., No. C18-5704 RSL, 2019 WL 4917101 (W.D. Wash. Oct. 4, 2019).  The Court held that plaintiffs failed to alleged falsity as to certain alleged misrepresentations and dismissed claims against one of the company’s executives for failure to adequately allege scienter, but otherwise upheld plaintiffs’ claims.

     
  • Southern District Of New York Dismisses Federal Securities Claims Against Asset Management Company For Failure To Adequately Allege Reliance Or Causation
     
    10/08/2019

    On September 30, 2019, Judge Loretta A. Preska of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed federal securities claims brought against a Japanese investment advisor and asset manager (the “Company”), its parent, and its former CEO.  Alfandary, et al. v. Nikko Asset Management, et al., 17-cv-05137 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 30, 2019).  Plaintiffs, former senior executives of the Company or one of its subsidiaries, alleged that defendants engaged in a scheme to devalue plaintiffs’ stock acquisition rights (“SARs”) and to force them to sell their SARs back to the Company at the artificially deflated price, in violation of section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder.  The Court dismissed the Exchange Act claims finding that most plaintiffs failed to sufficiently allege a sale, and that all plaintiffs failed to allege reliance or loss causation.
  • District Of Massachusetts Holds That Plaintiff Who Purchased Stock After Corrective Disclosure Lacks Standing To Pursue Putative Securities Class Action
     
    10/01/2019

    On September 23, 2019, Judge Denise J. Casper of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts denied class certification in a securities fraud action brought against a biopharmaceutical company (the “Company”) and several of its current and former officers and directors, and granted defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings in connection with plaintiff’s individual claim.  Karth v. Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., C.A. No. 16-11745-DJC (D. Mass. Sept. 23, 2019).  Plaintiff alleged that the Company misled investors about the number of entities that manufactured its FDA-approved drug and that its stock price declined when it revealed that it only had a single manufacturer, which was experiencing issues that affected the drug’s availability for sale.  The Court declined to certify the putative class, finding that plaintiff was an inadequate representative because the timing of his stock purchases made his claims atypical from those of the proposed class.  As to his individual claim, the Court granted defendants’ judgment on the pleadings, finding that plaintiff could not plead loss causation because the Company’s disclosures about the single manufacturer pre-dated the alleged stock drop by six months, and finding that plaintiff could not plead reliance because plaintiff purchased his shares two months after the curative disclosures.
  • Southern District Of Florida Dismisses Putative Class Action Against Beverage Company For Failure To Adequately Allege Misstatements, Scienter And Loss Causation
     
    09/04/2019

    On August 29, 2019, Judge K. Michael Moore of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida dismissed a putative class action against National Beverage Corporation and certain of its officers asserting claims under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  Luczak v. National Beverage Corporation, et al., 18-cv-61631-KMM (S.D. Fla. Aug. 29, 2019).  Plaintiff alleged that defendants’ public statements contained misrepresentations regarding the company’s main product (a brand of sparkling water), the use of purportedly unique proprietary methods to drive growth, and sexual harassment allegations with respect to the company’s CEO.  The Court held that the alleged misrepresentations were inadequately pleaded with respect to either falsity, scienter or loss causation, and therefore dismissed the complaint in its entirety.
  • Northern District Of California Dismisses Putative Securities Class Action For The Second Time Against Generic Drug Maker For Inadequate Pleading, This Time Without Leave To Amend
     
    08/20/2019

    On August 12, 2019, Judge Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr. of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed without leave to amend a putative securities class action against a pharmaceutical company, and certain of its officers, under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and SEC Rule 10b-5.  New York Hotel Trades Council & Hotel Assoc. of N.Y.C., Inc. Pension Fund v. Impax Laboratories Inc., No. 16 Civ. 6577 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 12, 2019).  As to alleged misrepresentations regarding alleged price fixing, the Court held that the announcement of a government investigation cannot, as a matter of law, amount to a “corrective disclosure” sufficient to allege loss causation.  As to other alleged misrepresentations regarding price erosion as to certain drugs, the Court held that plaintiff failed to plead a false statement, materiality, and/or scienter.    
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