Articles Posted in Securities Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's order granting plaintiffs' motion for class certification in an action asserting violations of section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. 78j(b). The court held that the Affiliated Ute Citizens of Utah v. United States, 406 U.S. 128 (1972), presumption did not apply because plaintiffs' claims were primarily based on misstatements, not omissions; direct evidence of price impact was not always necessary to demonstrate market efficiency, as required to invoke the Basic Inc. v. Levinson, 485 U.S. 224 (1988), presumption of reliance, and was not required here; defendants seeking to rebut the Basic presumption must do so by a preponderance of the evidence, which defendants failed to do; and the district court's conclusion regarding plaintiffs' classwide damages methodology was not erroneous. View "Waggoner v. Barclays PLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Securities Law

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FHFA, as conservator for government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), filed suit against defendants, alleging violations of the Securities Act of 1933 and analogous "Blue Sky laws," the Virginia Securities Act, and the D.C. Securities Act. The FHFA alleged that representations regarding underwriting criteria for certificates tied to private-label securitizations (PLLs) was a material misstatement. The district court rendered judgment in favor of the FHFA under Sections 12(a)(2) and 15 of the Securities Act, and analogous provisions of the Virginia and D.C. Blue Sky laws. The district court also awarded rescission and ordered defendants to refund the FHFA a total adjusted purchase price of approximately $806 million in exchange for the certificates. The Second Circuit found no merit in defendants' argument and held that defendants failed to discharge their duty under the Securities Act to disclose fully and fairly all of the information necessary for investors to make an informed decision whether to purchase the certificates at issue. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Federal Housing Finance Agency v. Nomura Holding America, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Banking, Securities Law

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Plaintiffs, retired officers of Booz Allen, filed suit alleging that they were improperly denied compensation when, after their retirement, Booz Allen sold one of its divisions in the Carlyle Transaction. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1001 et seq., claims on the ground that Booz Allen's stock-distribution program was not a pension plan within the meaning of ERISA, and denial as futile leave to amend to "augment" the ERISA claims with new allegations; affirmed the dismissal of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. 1961 et seq., claims on the ground that they were barred by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PSLRA), 18 U.S.C. 1964(c); but vacated the district court's judgment to the extent it denied Plaintiff Kocourek leave to amend to add securities-fraud causes of action. The court remanded for the district court to consider his claims. View "Pasternack v. Shrader" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, holders of Petrobras equity, filed a class action against various defendants after the multinational oil and gas company was involved in money-laundering and kickback schemes. The district court certified two classes: the first asserting claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. 78a et seq.; and the second asserting claims under the Securities Act of 1933,15 U.S.C. 77a et seq. The Second Circuit clarified the scope of the contested ascertainability doctrine and held that a class is ascertainable if it is defined using objective criteria that establish a membership with definite boundaries. That threshold requirement was met in this case. The court held that the district court committed legal error by finding that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3)'s predominance requirement was satisfied without considering the need for individual Morrison v. National Australia Bank Ltd., 561 U.S. 247 (2010), inquiries regarding domestic transactions. Therefore, the court vacated this portion of the Certification Order. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by determining that the Exchange Act class met their burden under Basic Inc. v. Levinson, 485 U.S. 224 (1988), with a combination of direct and indirect evidence of market efficiency.  Accordingly, the court affirmed as to this issue. View "In re Petrobras Securities" on Justia Law

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Benjamin Ashmore appealed the district court's order dismissing him as the plaintiff in a whistleblower action under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, 18 U.S.C. 1514A. Instead, the trustee of Ashmore's bankruptcy estate was substituted as plaintiff. The Second Circuit dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction because the district court's dismissal of the case as to Ashmore and the substitution of the trustee as plaintiff were interlocutory orders that were not immediately appealable. The court vacated the temporary stay of the district court proceedings and denied Ashmore's pending motion to stay as moot. View "Ashmore v. CGI Group, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a securities class action alleging claims arising out of the Initial Public Offering (IPO) shares for Vivint Solar. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint, holding that the "extreme departure" test in Shaw v. Digital Equipment Corp., 82 F.3d 1194 (1st Cir. 1996), is not the law of this circuit and that Vivint's omissions were not material under the test set forth in DeMaria v. Andersen, 318 F.3d 170 (2d Cir. 19 2003), to which the court adhered. The court also held that Vivint did not mislead shareholders regarding the company's prospects in Hawaii. View "Stadnick v. Vivint Solar, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Securities Law

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After Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, thousands of its employees were holding restricted stock units (RSUs) that had been awarded over the preceding five years, but that had not yet vested and had thus been rendered worthless by the bankruptcy filing. The employees filed proofs of claim in the Chapter 11 proceeding and Lehman Brothers filed omnibus objections to the claims. The Second Circuit noted that it need not determine whether an RSU is an "equity security" under 11 U.S.C. 101(16), because, even if it is, RSU holders are not barred from asserting proofs of claim—such as the breach‐of‐contract claims asserted here—inasmuch as at least some of their claims are not duplicative of proofs of interest. However, the Second Circuit affirmed and concluded that Lehman Brothers' omnibus objections must nonetheless be sustained on the alternative ground that, pursuant to section 510(b) of the Bankruptcy Code, 11 U.S.C. 510(b), the claims must be subordinated to the claims of general creditors because, for purposes of this statute, (1) RSUs are securities, (2) the claimants acquired them in a purchase, and (3) the claims for damages arise from those purchases or the asserted rescissions thereof. View "In re: Lehman Bros." on Justia Law

Posted in: Securities Law

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EDMC challenges the district court's holding that a series of transactions meant to restructure EDMC’s debt over the objections of certain noteholders violated Section 316(b) of the Trust Indenture Act of 1939, 15 U.S.C. 77ppp(b). The district court ordered EDMC to continue to guarantee Marblegate's notes and pay them in full. The court agreed with EDMC that EDMC complied with Section 316(b) because the transactions did not formally amend the payment terms of the indenture that governed the notes. The court concluded that Section 316(b) prohibits only non‐consensual amendments to an indenture’s core payment terms. Accordingly, the court vacated the district court's judgment and remanded for further proceedings. View "Marblegate Asset Management v. Education Management Finance Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Securities Law

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Plaintiffs, trustees of an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1001 et seq., pension fund, filed suit against its investment manager and principals alleging that defendants knew by 1998 that investing with Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (BLMIS) was imprudent; that these defendants breached their fiduciary duty by failing to warn the fund of this fact; that if warned, the fund would have withdrawn the full sum appearing on its 1998 BLMIS account statements; and that prudent alternative investment of that sum would have earned more than the fund’s actual net withdrawals from its BLMIS account between 1999 and 2008. Plaintiffs also filed suit against Bank of New York Mellon Corporation, which acquired the investment manager in 2000, alleging that it knowingly participated as a non‐fiduciary in the fiduciary breach. The district court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) and for failure to allege an actual injury sufficient to establish Article III standing under Rule 12(b)(1). The court concluded that plaintiffs failed to allege facts sufficient to show Article III standing where plaintiffs have not plausibly alleged losses in excess of their profits; the increase in pension funds does not constitute a cognizable loss; the court rejected plaintiffs' claim of disgorgement of Simon and Wohl; and the complaint fails to state a claim against BNY Mellon for participation in a breach of fiduciary duty by Ivy, Simon, and Wohl. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Trustees of the Upstate New York Engineers Pension Fund v. Ivy Asset Management" on Justia Law

Posted in: ERISA, Securities Law

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In these consolidated appeals, defendant Virginia K. Sourlis challenges the district court's judgment in an enforcement action brought by the SEC in connection with public offerings of unregistered shares of stock of defendant Greenstone. The district court granted a motion by the SEC for summary judgment on issues of liability, holding Sourlis--an attorney who wrote a January 11, 2006 opinion letter ("Sourlis Letter") relating to one of the offerings--liable for violating section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933 ("Securities Act"), 15 U.S.C. 77e; violating 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 ("Exchange Act"), 15 U.S.C. 78j(b), and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, 17 C.F.R. 240.10b-5; and aiding and abetting violations of section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5, in violation of section 20(e) of the Exchange Act, 15 U.S.C. 78t(e). The Superseding Final Judgment orders Sourlis to pay a total of $57,284.83 as a civil penalty, disgorgement, and prejudgment interest, and permanently bars her from participating in so-called "penny stock" offerings. The court found no error in the district court's determinations of liability and no abuse of discretion in its remedial order. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment in Nos. 14-2301 and 15-3978. The court dismissed as moot the SEC's cross-appeal in No. 14-2937. View "SEC v. Sourlis" on Justia Law

Posted in: Securities Law