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  • Second Circuit Affirms District Court’s Dismissal Of Putative Securities Fraud Class Action Against China-Based Real Estate Company For Lack Of Falsity
    06/25/2024

    On June 10, 2024, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a putative shareholders’ class action against a real estate company (the “Company”) and several of its directors (the “Individual Defendants”), asserting claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder. Maso Cap. Invs. Ltd. v. E-House (China) Holdings Ltd., No. 22-355 (2d Cir. June 10, 2024). Plaintiffs alleged the Company made false and misleading statements and omissions to entice approval of a go-private merger with a buyer group comprised of the Individual Defendants. The district court granted the Company’s motion to dismiss. Reviewing the district court’s decision de novo, the Court affirmed finding that plaintiffs failed to identify a single actionable statement or omission.

  • United States Supreme Court Grants Certiorari To Consider The Application Of Heightened Pleading Standards Of The PLSRA For Falsity And Scienter
    06/25/2024

    On June 17, 2024, the Supreme Court granted certiorari to review a decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversing the dismissal of a putative class action asserting claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and to address the following questions: “1. Whether plaintiffs seeking to allege scienter under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (“PSLRA”) based on allegations about internal company documents must plead with particularity the contents of those documents”; and “2. Whether plaintiffs can satisfy the PSLRA’s falsity requirement by relying on an expert opinion to substitute for particularized allegations of fact.” 

    Categories : FalsityScienter
  • United States Supreme Court Grants Certiorari To Consider When Already-Materialized Risks Must Be Disclosed
    06/18/2024

    On June 10, 2024, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to review a decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that partially reinstated a putative class action asserting claims under the Securities Exchange Act against a social media company. Facebook v. Amalgamated Bank, —S. Ct.—, 2024 WL 2883752 (2024). Plaintiffs alleged that the company made misrepresentations relating to the misuse of user data by a third party. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to address the following question: “Are risk disclosures false or misleading when they do not disclose that a risk has materialized in the past, even if that past event presents no known risk of ongoing or future business harm?”

  • Middle District Of Florida Grants Motion To Dismiss Putative Securities Class Action Against Autonomous Vehicle Technology Company For Failure To Allege Falsity And Scienter
    06/11/2024

    On May 31, 2024, Judge Julie S. Sneed of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida granted a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action against an autonomous vehicle technology company (the “Company”), certain of its officers, and an officer of one of the Company’s subsidiaries. Alms v. Luminar Technologies, Inc., et al, No. 6:23-cv-982-JSS-LHP (M.D. Fla. May 31, 2024). Plaintiff alleged that defendants violated Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, by allegedly making false statements in an investor presentation regarding plans to economize its newly developed technology. The Court dismissed plaintiff’s amended complaint, holding that plaintiff failed to adequately plead a false statement of a material fact and scienter.

  • Southern District Of Florida Dismisses Suit Against French Content Moderation Company And Previews Acceptable Amended Complaint
    06/04/2024

    On May 22, 2024, Judge Cecilia M. Altonoga of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida granted a motion to dismiss a putative shareholder action asserting claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against a French company that provides outsourced content-moderation services for social media platforms (the “Company”) and certain of its former executives (the “Individual Defendants”). City of Warren Gen. Emps.’ Ret. Sys. v. Teleperformance SE, No. 23-cv-24580 (S.D. Fla. May 22, 2024). The complaint alleged that defendants made false and misleading statements about the treatment and training of the Company’s content moderators and the Company’s plan to exit the “highly egregious portion” of the content-moderation business. Judge Altonoga dismissed the complaint without prejudice, holding that plaintiffs did not adequately plead as a threshold matter that they purchased the Company’s shares within the United States and that plaintiffs had engaged in improper “puzzle pleading” in violation of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(1). Nevertheless, construing the complaint generously and relying on the parties’ briefing to organize the alleged misstatements, the Court identified several alleged misstatements that would be actionable, as pled, in an amended complaint with the noted deficiencies cured. 

  • Western District Of Washington Dismisses Securities Fraud Claims Against Manufacturer Of Pop Culture Collectibles For Lack Of Falsity And Scienter
    06/04/2024

    On May 16, 2024, Judge James L. Robart of the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington granted a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action against a manufacturer of pop culture collectibles (the “Company”) and certain of its former executives (the “Individual Defendants”). Studen v. Funko, Inc., No. C23-0824JLR (W.D. Wash. May 16, 2024). The complaint alleged that the Company failed to disclose accurate information regarding the risks associated with its infrastructure projects and inventory in violation of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”). Judge Robart dismissed the complaint, holding that plaintiffs did not adequately plead falsity or offer any particularized allegations showing that defendants knew that the risks could or did occur. 

  • Supreme Court Holds That A Court—Not An Arbitrator—Must Decide Which Of Two Contracts Controls For Purposes Of Determining Whether A Dispute Is Subject To Arbitration
    05/29/2024
    On May 23, 2024, the United States Supreme Court held that if parties’ agreements conflict as to whether a dispute is subject to arbitration, then a court (not an arbitrator) must decide which contract controls. Coinbase, Inc. v. Suski, --- S.Ct. ----, 2024 WL 2333424 (2024).
    Category : Uncategorized
  • Northern District Of California Grants Motion To Dismiss Putative Securities Class Action Against Apparel Company For Failing To Clearly Identify The Alleged False Or Misleading Statement
    05/23/2024

    On May 10, 2024, Judge Araceli Martínez-Olguín of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted a motion to dismiss a putative class action against a global footwear and apparel company (“the Company”), certain of its officers and directors, and the underwriters involved in the Company’s initial public offering (“IPO”). Shnayder v. Allbirds, Inc., No. 23-cv-01811-AMO, 2024 BL 161312 (N.D. Cal. May 10, 2024). Plaintiffs brought claims under Sections 11 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”) and Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”), alleging false and misleading statements in connection with the Company’s IPO. The Court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss, holding that plaintiffs failed to adequately allege which statements were allegedly false or misleading.

  • California District Court Grants Motion To Dismiss Investor Class Action Against Rideshare Company
    05/23/2024

    On May 14, 2024, Judge Rita F. Lin of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action against a ridesharing company (the “Company”) and its CEO and former CFO (collectively, “defendants”). Cao et al. v. Uber Techs., Inc., et al., No. 22-cv-04688-RFL (N.D. Cal. May 14, 2024). Plaintiffs alleged that defendants violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder by allegedly making false statements in the Company’s post-IPO Sarbanes-Oxley Act (“SOX”) certifications attached to the Company’s quarterly and annual reports for 2019 and 2020, and during its annual general meeting on May 11, 2020.

    Categories : Exchange ActFalsity
  • Northern District Of California Dismisses With Prejudice Putative Class Action Against Pharmaceutical Company
    05/14/2024

    On May 7, 2024, Judge Beth Labson Freeman of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed with prejudice a putative shareholders’ class action against a pharmaceutical company (“Company”) and certain of its executives (“Individual Defendants”), alleging claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”), as well as Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder. Sneed v. AcelRx Pharms., Inc., No. 21-cv-4353-BLF (N.D. Cal. May 7, 2024). Plaintiffs alleged the Company made false or misleading statements in marketing materials of one of its products in order to expand the target market, putting the Company at risk to adverse action by the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”). The Court granted the motion to dismiss with prejudice, finding that plaintiffs failed to adequately plead scienter and that further amendment would be futile.

    Categories : Class ActionsScienter
  • Sixth Circuit Affirms District Court’s Dismissal Of Putative Securities Class Action Against Car Insurance Company For Failure To State A Claim
    05/14/2024

    On April 29, 2024, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed the dismissal with prejudice of a putative class action asserting claims under the Sections 11, 12(a)(2), and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”) and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, alleging that a car insurance technology company (the “Company”), certain of its officers, and the underwriters of the Company’s initial public offering (“IPO”) misled investors in the Company’s initial public offering materials. Kolominsky v. Root, Inc., No. 23-3392 (6th Cir. Apr. 29, 2024). Reviewing the district court decision de novo, the Court held that the complaint sounded in fraud and that the heightened pleading standard required by Rule 9(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure applied to the Securities Act claims and that the challenged statements were not actionable because they were based either on past performance and historical data or protected by the “Bespeaks Caution” doctrine. 

  • Southern District Of California Dismisses Putative Class Action Against Medical Device Company For Failure To Adequately Allege Misrepresentations And Scienter
    05/07/2024

    On April 30, 2024, Judge Marilyn L. Huff of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California dismissed with leave to amend a putative class action asserting claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against a medical device company and certain of its former officers. Lowe v. Tandem Diabetes Care Inc., 2024 WL 1898473 (S.D. Cal. Apr. 30, 2024). Plaintiffs alleged that the company made misrepresentations regarding the demand for its products. The Court held plaintiffs failed to adequately allege that any challenged statement was false at the time it was made and also failed to adequately allege scienter.

  • Southern District Of New York Largely Denies Motion To Dismiss Putative Class Action Against Dental Product Manufacturer
    05/07/2024

    On May 1, 2024, Judge Arun Subramanian of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York largely denied a motion to dismiss a putative class action asserting claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against a manufacturer of dental products and certain of its former executives. San Antonio Fire and Police Pension Fund v. Dentsply Sirona Inc., –—F. Supp. 3d—, 2024 WL 1898512 (S.D.N.Y. May 1, 2024). Plaintiffs alleged the company made misrepresentations regarding its inventory, supply chain, product quality, and overall financial health. The Court held that plaintiffs’ allegations were largely sufficient as to the required elements of falsity, scienter, and loss causation, but the Court dismissed allegations regarding certain alleged misrepresentations and claims against one former executive.

  • Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Putative Securities Class Action Against Information Services Company For Failure To Adequately Plead Scienter Or Loss Causation
    05/07/2024

    On April 19, 2024, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a consolidated putative securities class action alleging violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder against an information services company and certain of its executives. Espy v. J2 Global, Inc., et al., No. 22-55829 (9th Cir. Apr. 19, 2024). The United States District Court for the Central District of California dismissed plaintiff’s second amended complaint (“SAC”), holding that plaintiff failed to adequately plead scienter. The Ninth Circuit affirmed, holding that plaintiff failed to adequately plead scienter and loss causation.

  • Fifth Circuit Reverses District Court’s Dismissal Of Putative Securities Fraud Class Action Against Amusement Park Company For Lack Of Standing
    04/23/2024

    On April 18, 2024, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed the dismissal of and reinstated a putative shareholders’ class action against an amusement park company (the Company”) and certain of its executives, asserting claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder. Okla. Firefighters & Pension Ret. Sys. v. Six Flags Entm’t Corp., No. 23-10696 (5th Cir. Apr. 18, 2024). The district court granted the Company’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, holding that plaintiff lacked standing because it purchased Company shares too late to have relied on any actionable misstatements, and therefore dismissed the action with prejudice. Reviewing the district court’s decision de novo, the Court reversed, finding that plaintiffs’ economic loss was fairly traceable to the alleged misconduct because the Company’s alleged fraud had not been fully disclosed when plaintiff purchased the stock. We previously covered the district court’s decision here.

  • Second Circuit Affirms District Court’s Summary Judgment Dismissal Of Securities Fraud Class Action Against Pharmaceutical Company
    04/23/2024

    On April 15, 2024, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed in a non-precedential summary order the summary judgment dismissal of securities fraud claims against a pharmaceutical company (the “Company”) under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder. In re Mylan N.V. Sec. Litig., No. 23-720-cv (2d Cir. Apr. 15, 2024). Reviewing the district court decision de novo, the Court held that appellants waived their argument related to scienter and that their failure to disaggregate the losses caused by the Company’s alleged omissions warranted summary judgment for defendants. 

  • Supreme Court Unanimously Holds Item 303 Violation, Standing Alone, Cannot Support A “Pure Omission” Claim Under Section 10(b) Of The Exchange Act
    04/16/2024

    On April 12, 2024, the United States Supreme Court unanimously reversed a decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit which held that Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 permitted a private right of action based solely on an issuer’s alleged failure to disclose a known trend or uncertainty required to be disclosed under Item 303 of Regulation S‑K. Macquarie Infrastructure Corp. v. Moab Partners, L.P., —U.S.—, 2024 WL 1588706 (2024). As explained in our prior post addressing the oral argument before the Supreme Court, the case concerned whether a company that operates a portfolio of infrastructure-related businesses needed to disclose that a proposed regulation by a United Nations agency would negatively impact one of its subsidiary’s businesses. Writing for a unanimous Court, Justice Sotomayor explained that the “pure omission” of information required to be disclosed by Item 303—i.e., a situation where there is no allegation that the omission rendered any affirmative statement misleading—is insufficient to support a claim under Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act.

  • Ninth Circuit Reinstates Putative Class Action Against Children’s Entertainment Company, Holding Actionable Misstatements And Loss Causation Adequately Alleged
    04/16/2024

    On April 5, 2024, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part the dismissal of a putative class action asserting claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against a company that licenses children’s entertainment content and certain of its officers. In re Genius Brands Int’l, Inc. Sec. Litig., —F.4th—, 2024 WL 1473942 (9th Cir. 2024). Plaintiffs alleged that the company made actionable misstatements after it was told that its shares would be delisted from the NASDAQ exchange. The Court held that plaintiffs adequately alleged that the company’s conduct rendered certain challenged statements misleading, that plaintiffs adequately alleged loss causation for certain claims, and that one claim was appropriately dismissed for failure to plead loss causation.

  • Northern District Of California Dismisses Putative Class Action With Prejudice For Failure To Adequately Allege Loss Causation And Standing
    04/16/2024

    On April 9, 2024, Judge Beth Labson Freeman of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed with prejudice a putative class action asserting claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against a technology company, certain of its current and former officers and directors, and related corporate entities. Mehedi v. View, Inc., 2024 WL 1560009 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 9, 2024). Lead plaintiff alleged that the company materially misstated its financial results. The Court held that lead plaintiff could not establish loss causation and therefore lacked standing to pursue claims on behalf of the putative class, requiring the case to be dismissed in its entirety.

    Categories : Loss CausationStanding
  • Northern District Of California Grants Motion To Dismiss Putative Class Action Against Biotech Company And Executives
    04/09/2024

    On March 30, 2024, Judge Araceli Martínez-Olguín of the Northern District of California granted a motion to dismiss a putative class action against a biotechnology company that develops and sells skin treatment drugs and certain of its officers. Aramic LLC, et al. v. Revance Therapeutics, Inc., No. 21-cv-0985-AMO (N.D. Cal. Mar. 30, 2024). Plaintiff, on behalf of a putative class of investors in the Company, alleged that defendants made false or misleading statements about the timing and likelihood of FDA approval of the Company’s drug in violation of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The Court dismissed the amended complaint, finding that plaintiff failed to allege that most of the challenged statements were false or misleading and that plaintiff in any event failed to allege adequately scienter.

    Categories : Control PersonFalsityScienter
  • Northern District Of Georgia Court Dismisses With Prejudice Putative Securities Class Action Against Optical Retailer For Failure To Plead Falsity Or Scienter
    04/09/2024

    On March 30, 2024, Judge Victoria Marie Calvert of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia granted a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action against an optical retail company and certain of its executive officers (the “Individual Defendants”). City of Southfield General Employees Retirement Sys. v. National Vision Holdings, et al., No. 23-cv-00425-VMC (N.D. Ga. Mar. 30, 2024). Plaintiff alleged that defendants violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder by making false and misleading statements and omissions regarding staffing and wage pressures faced by the Company leading up to and through the Covid-19 pandemic. The Court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss with prejudice, holding that plaintiff failed to adequately plead falsity and scienter. 

  • First Department Of New York Affirms Dismissal Of Securities Claims Against Mass Media And Entertainment Company
    04/09/2024

    On April 4, 2024, the State of New York, Appellate Division, First Judicial Department (the “First Department”) affirmed dismissal of a securities class action against a mass media and entertainment company (the “Company”) and two of its executives (the “Individual Defendants”), and affirmed-in-part and reversed-in-part the denial of the motions to dismiss filed by the underwriters of the offerings at issue (the “Underwriters”). Camelot Event Driven Fund, et al. v. Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, et al., No. 2023-00983 (1st Dep’t Apr. 4, 2024). Plaintiffs alleged defendants violated Sections 11, 12 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”) by concealing certain information from the offering materials issued in connection with the Company’s March 2021 secondary and initial offerings (the “Offerings”).

  • Northern District Of California Grants Motion To Dismiss Putative Class Action Against Biotechnology Instrument Company
    03/26/2024

    On February 20, 2024, Judge Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr. of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted with leave to amend a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action against a manufacturer of laboratory instruments and other advanced automation systems (the “Company”), certain of its current and former officers and directors, several venture capital firms that invested in the Company, and the underwriters of the Company’s July 2020 IPO. Victor J. Ng, et al. v. Berkeley Lights, Inc., et al., No. 21-cv-09497-HSG (N.D. Cal. Feb. 20, 2024). Plaintiff alleged that defendants violated Sections 11, 12(a)(2), and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933, and Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, by making false and misleading statements and omissions regarding the functionality of the Company’s flagship product (the “Product”).

  • Southern District Of New York Narrows Claims In Putative Class Action Against China Based Real Estate Brokerage Company
    03/26/2024

    On February 26, 2024, Judge Gregory H. Woods of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York narrowed claims in a putative class action asserting claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Securities Act of 1933 against a China-based real estate brokerage company, certain of its executives, and the underwriters in connection with a secondary offering by the company. Saskatchewan Healthcare Emps.’ Pension Plan v. KE Holdings Inc., 2024 WL 775195 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 26, 2024). Plaintiff alleged, based largely on a short-seller report, that the company made misrepresentations that significantly overstated the gross transaction value (“GTV”) of real estate transactions facilitated by the company, the number of agents and stores using its online platform, and the commissions the company received. Id. at *3–7. The Court held that plaintiff adequately alleged misrepresentations with respect to certain statements but failed to adequately allege scienter, and therefore largely declined to dismiss the Securities Act claim but dismissed the Exchange Act claim with leave to replead.

  • Southern District Of New York Declines To Dismiss Putative Class Action Against Financial Institution Regarding Alleged Misstatements About Internal Controls
    03/26/2024

    On February 23, 2024, Judge Katherine Polk Failla of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York largely denied a motion to dismiss a putative class action asserting claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against a financial institution and certain of its executives. In re Barclays PLC Sec. Litig., 2024 WL 757385 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 23, 2024). Plaintiff alleged that the company had issued securities in excess of what it had registered for with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which allegedly rendered misleading certain of its statements regarding compliance with securities laws and internal controls. Id. While the Court held that certain alleged misrepresentations were adequately pleaded to survive a motion to dismiss, the Court dismissed claims as to statements made after the alleged over-issuances were disclosed and rejected plaintiff’s control person liability theory as to certain defendants.

  • Southern District Of New York Grants In Part And Denies In Part Motion To Dismiss Putative Class Action Complaint Against Software Company For Failing To Disclose A Fake Customer-Review Scheme
    03/26/2024

    On March 5, 2024, Judge John P. Cronan of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted in part, and denied in part, a motion to dismiss a putative shareholders’ class action, alleging that a software company (the “Company”), several of its executives and directors (“Individual Defendants”), and three banks who underwrote the Company’s initial public offering (“IPO”) violated Sections 11 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933. Lian v. Tuya Inc., 22 Civ. 6792 (JPC) (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 5, 2024). Plaintiff alleged that the Company failed to disclose at the time of its IPO, as required by Items 105 and 303 of Regulation S-K, that its sales and growth could be impacted by the involvement of a significant percentage of its customers in a pervasive and far-reaching fake customer reviews scheme. Furthermore, plaintiff alleged that the Company’s failure to disclose the scheme rendered several statements in the IPO registration statement (“Registration Statement”) false and misleading. The Court dismissed the claims predicated upon Items 105 and 303 but found the Section 11 claims based upon alleged misstatements in the Registration Statement to be sufficiently pled.

  • Western District Of Washington Grants Motion To Dismiss Proposed Class Action Against Software Company And Its Board Of Directors
    03/26/2024

    On March 1, 2024, Judge Marsha J. Pechman of the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington dismissed with prejudice a putative shareholders’ class action against a software company (the “Company”) and its Board of Directors (“Board”), alleging violations of Sections 14(a) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”). Sohovich v. Avalara, Inc., No. C22-1580 MJP (W.D. Wash. Mar. 1, 2024). Plaintiff alleged that the Company and its Board misled investors to vote to approve its $8.4 billion sale—priced at $93.50 per share—allegedly by deflating its financial projections and misrepresenting the Company’s performance and outlook in the proxy statement (“Proxy”). The Court found that plaintiff failed to adequately plead the falsity of any one of the four misstatements and dismissed it with prejudice. 

  • Northern District Of California Court Partially Grants Motion To Dismiss Putative Securities Class Action Against Pharmaceutical Company’s CEO
     
    03/26/2024

    On March 11, 2024, Judge Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr. of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action brought against a biopharmaceutical company (the “Company”) and its CEO. Pardi et al., v. Tricida, Inc., et al., No. 21-cv-00076-HSG (N.D. Cal. Mar. 11, 2024). Plaintiff alleged that defendants violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder by making false and misleading statements and omissions regarding the likelihood that the Company’s new drug would receive accelerated FDA approval. The Company filed a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code and was voluntarily dismissed, and the CEO moved to dismiss.

    Categories : Exchange ActFalsityScienter
  • Second Circuit Reverses Dismissal Of Putative Securities Class Action By Crypto Investors, Addressing Extraterritoriality And Timeliness Arguments
     
    03/26/2024

    On March 8, 2024, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed a trial court decision dismissing a putative securities class action brought by purchasers of crypto assets against an international crypto exchange company (the “Company”) and certain of its officers, alleging violations of Section 12(a)(1) of the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”), as well as various state securities laws (“Blue Sky” laws), and also seeking recission of the contracts they entered into with the Company, under Section 29(b) of the Securities Exchange Act (the “Exchange Act”). Williams v. Binance, No. 22-972 (2d Cir. Mar. 8, 2024). Plaintiffs alleged that the Company unlawfully promoted, offered, and sold billions of dollars’ worth of crypto-assets without registering these as securities and without registering themselves as a securities exchange or broker-dealer. The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted the Company’s motion to dismiss, holding that (1) plaintiffs’ claims constitute an impermissible extraterritorial application of securities law and (2) plaintiffs’ federal claims were untimely under the applicable statute of the limitations. On appeal, the Second Circuit reversed on both counts and remanded for further proceedings.

  • Southern District Of New York Permits Putative Class Action Against Ride Hailing Company To Proceed
     
    03/26/2024

    On March 14, 2024, Judge Lewis Kaplan of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York denied defendants’ motions to dismiss a putative class action against a China-based ride hailing company, certain of its officers and directors, and the underwriters of the company’s IPO, asserting claims under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. In re Didi Global Inc. Sec. Litig., 2024 WL 1119483 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 14, 2024). Plaintiffs alleged that the company omitted from its filings in connection with its New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) IPO that the Chinese government had directed it to postpone its IPO, with the Chinese government imposing penalties after the company allegedly disregarded this directive. The Court held that plaintiffs’ allegations were adequate to state a claim with respect to nearly all of their asserted claims.

  • Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Putative Securities Class Action Against Biopharmaceutical Company Over Statements It Had Developed A COVID “Cure”
    03/25/2024
    On March 25, 2024, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit unanimously affirmed a trial court decision dismissing a putative securities class action brought by investors against a biopharmaceutical company (“Company”) and certain of its officers and executives, alleging violations Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5. In re Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 22-55641 (9th Cir. Mar. 25, 2024). Plaintiff alleged that defendants made false statements about developments regarding the Company’s new COVID-19 antibody treatment, which allegedly misled investors and the public to believe that the Company had discovered a “cure” for the virus in order to boost the Company’s stock prices to improve its allegedly “dire financial situation.” Judge Anthony J. Battaglia of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California dismissed plaintiff’s claims without prejudice, holding that plaintiff had not plausibly pleaded falsity or scienter. The trial court entered judgment after plaintiff failed to file an amended pleading. Plaintiff appealed and the Ninth Circuit affirmed, holding that (1) the allegedly misleading statements were inactionable puffery and (2) standing alone, the Company’s allegedly poor financial position was not sufficient to warrant an inference of scienter.
  • Third Circuit Affirms District Court’s Dismissal Of Suit Against Vaccine Developer
    03/21/2024
    On March 21, 2024, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a putative class action against a biopharmaceutical company (the “Company”) and certain of its officers under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act. In re Ocugen, Inc. Sec. Litig., No. 23-1570 (3d Cir. Mar. 21, 2024). Plaintiffs alleged that the Company’s statements and omissions about its partnership with an Indian biotechnology company to develop a COVID-19 vaccine for Emergency Use Authorization (“EUA”) with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) were false and misleading. The Court affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the complaint with prejudice based on plaintiffs’ failure to allege a material misrepresentation.
  • Eastern District Of New York Grants Motion To Dismiss Proposed Class Action Against Mobile Game Development Company
    03/18/2024

    On March 18, 2024, Judge Rachel P. Kovner of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York dismissed with prejudice a putative shareholders’ class action against a mobile game development company (the “Company”), its officers and directors, and its underwriters, alleging violations of Sections 11 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”). In re Playtika Seg. Litig., No. 21-CV-06571-RPK-SJB (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 18, 2024). Plaintiff alleged that the Company failed to disclose an infrastructure overhaul of two of its most popular mobile games in its initial public offering (“IPO”) registration statement even though the overhaul was in progress at the time of the Company’s IPO. The Court held that plaintiff failed to adequately allege that omissions rendered the registration statement misleading, and that Item 105 did not impose a duty to disclose specific infrastructure projects that allegedly were omitted. Accordingly, the Court dismissed the action with prejudice.

  • Southern District Of New York Dismisses Proposed Securities Class Action Against Biopharmaceutical Company Alleging Failure To Disclose Progress Of Competitor
    02/21/2024

    On February 4, 2024, Judge Arun Subramanian of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed a proposed securities class action against a biopharmaceutical company (the “Company”) alleging violations under Sections 11 and 15 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”).  Merritt v. Molecular Partners AG, 22-CV-5925 (AS) (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 4, 2024).
  • California District Court Grants Motion To Dismiss Investor Class Action Against Lithium-Ion Battery Company
     
    02/13/2024

    On January 30, 2024, Judge Susan Illston of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted with leave to amend a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action against a battery company and its directors and officers.  In Re Enovix Corp. Securities Litigation, No. 23-cv-00071-SI (N.D. Cal. Jan. 30, 2024).  Plaintiffs alleged that defendants violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5(b) promulgated thereunder by failing to disclose that the Company overlooked critical testing of its manufacturing equipment, which led to equipment failure that caused the Company to miss its performance targets.
    Categories : Exchange ActFalsityScienter
  • Eastern District Of Pennsylvania Dismisses Purported Securities Fraud Class Action Against IT Services Company For Failure To Adequately Allege Falsity, Scienter And Loss Causation
     
    02/13/2024

    On February 1, 2024, Judge Gerald J. Pappert of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action against an IT solutions company that provides digital communication, cybersecurity and IT consulting services, its CEO and current and former CFOs.  Connor v. Unisys Corp., et al., No. 22-4529 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 1, 2024).  Plaintiff alleged that defendants made false representations about the Company’s disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting in violation of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder.  The Court dismissed the amended complaint, holding that plaintiff failed to adequately allege falsity, scienter and loss causation.
  • Southern District Of New York Declines To Dismiss Claims In Putative Class Action Against Medical Test Manufacturer
     
    02/13/2024

    On February 5, 2024, Judge Arun Subramanian of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York largely declined to dismiss a putative class action asserting claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against a manufacturer of medical tests and certain of its executives.  Stadium Capital LLC v. Co-Diagnostics, Inc., 2024 WL 456745 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 5, 2024).  Plaintiff alleged that the company made misrepresentations regarding the prospect of future sales of the company’s medical tests as the COVID-19 pandemic subsided.  The Court held that plaintiff plausibly alleged actionable misrepresentations regarding comments made announcing earnings results for the first quarter of 2022, and plausibly alleged that defendants acted with scienter.
  • Southern District Of New York Dismisses Putative Class Action Regarding SPAC Acquisition Of Online Lottery Company
     
    02/13/2024

    On February 6, 2024, Judge Jennifer L. Rochon of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed with leave to amend a putative class action asserting claims under the Sections 10(b) and 14(a) of the Securities Exchange Act against a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (“SPAC”) and certain of its officers and directors, along with an individual action consolidated with the putative class action and asserting similar claims.  In re Lottery.com, Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 1:22-cv-07111 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 6, 2024), slip op.  Plaintiffs alleged that defendants misrepresented certain financial information regarding the SPAC’s target company both before and after the merger.  The Court held that, while certain challenged statements were adequately alleged to be false, plaintiffs failed to sufficiently allege scienter with respect to any alleged misrepresentation.
  • Southern District Of New York Dismisses Putative Class Action Against Media Company For Failure To Adequately Allege Misrepresentations
     
    02/13/2024

    On February 5, 2024, Judge Valerie Caproni of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed with prejudice a putative class action asserting claims under the Securities Act of 1933 against a media company and certain of its officers and directors.  Ohio Public Emps. Ret. Sys. v. Discovery, Inc., 2024 WL 446466 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 5, 2024).  Plaintiffs alleged that the offering documents in connection with the merger that created the company contained misrepresentations that painted a misleadingly positive image of the strength of the combined company.  The Court held that none of the six categories of misrepresentations alleged by plaintiffs was actionable.
  • Eastern District Of New York Dismisses Proposed Securities Class Action Against Lithium Mining Company For Failure To Sufficiently Plead Scienter
     
    01/31/2024


    On January 19, 2024, Judge Orelia Merchant of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York dismissed a proposed securities class action against a lithium mining company (the “Company”) and certain of its officers and directors (the “Individual Defendants”) alleging violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”). In re Piedmont Lithium Inc., Sec. Litig., 21-CV-4161 (OEM) (PK) (E.D.N.Y. Jan 18, 2024). Plaintiff alleged that the Company made misleading positive statements in connection with a North Carolina lithium mining project (the “Project”) and that the Individual Defendants subsequently sold Company stock prior to the release of a negative news article. The Court dismissed plaintiff’s claims, finding that plaintiff had failed to raise a strong inference of scienter.

    Categories : Exchange ActScienter
  • Northern District of California Dismisses Securities Class Action Against Software Company
     
    01/31/2024


    On January 22, 2024, Judge William H. Orrick of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed a putative class action complaint alleging that a software company (the “Company”) and certain of its executives violated Section 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. City of Hollywood Firefighters Pension Fund v. Atlassian Corp., 3:23-cv-00519-WHO (N.D. Cal. Jan. 22, 2024). Plaintiffs alleged that the Company made false and misleading statements about the strength of its financial outlook. The Court dismissed the complaint with leave to amend, holding that plaintiffs failed to allege falsity with respect to most of the alleged misrepresentations or sufficient facts giving rise to a strong inference of scienter with respect to one omission that was alleged plausibly.

  • Supreme Court Considers Whether An Item 303 Violation, Standing Alone, Can Support An Exchange Act Claim
     
    01/23/2024

    On January 16, 2024, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral argument in Macquarie Infrastructure Corp. v. Moab Partners, No. 22-1165, a case considering whether a private plaintiff may plead a claim under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act based on an issuer’s failure to disclose a known trend or uncertainty required to be disclosed under Item 303 of Regulation S-K even without identifying a particular statement rendered misleading by the alleged omission.
  • Central District Of California Dismisses Putative Class Action Against Medical Apparel Company For Failure To Adequately Allege Scienter And Falsity
     
    01/23/2024


    On January 17, 2024, Judge Otis D. Wright, II of the United States District Court for the Central District of California dismissed a putative class action asserting claims under Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Sections 11 and 12(a)(2) of the Securities Act against a medical apparel company, certain of its officers, and the underwriters of its stock offerings.  Ryan v. FIGS, Inc., 2024 WL 187001 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 17, 2024). 

  • Northern District Of California Dismisses Purported Securities Fraud Class Action Against Entertainment Streaming Company For Failure To Plead Falsity
     
    01/23/2024

    On January 5, 2024, Judge Jon S. Tigar of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted a motion to dismiss a proposed securities class action against an entertainment company that primarily operates a subscription-based streaming service, alleging that defendants made misrepresentations in public statements about the Company’s growth, customer retention, and challenges related to shared accounts in violation of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder.  
    Categories : Exchange ActFalsity
  • District Of New Jersey Certifies Class Of Investors In Suit Against Healthcare Product Company
     
    01/09/2024


    On December 28, 2023, Judge Zahid N. Quraishi of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey granted class certification in a securities fraud class action, alleging violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) against a healthcare product company (the “Company”). Hall v. Johnson & Johnson, No. 18-1833 (ZNQ) (TJB) (D.N.J. Dec. 28, 2023). Specifically, plaintiff alleged that the Company inflated the value of its stock through false and misleading statements regarding the alleged contamination of the Company’s talc products. The Court certified the class after holding that plaintiff met the requirements of Rule 23(a) as well as the predominance and superiority requirements of Rule 23(b)(3).

    Category : Class Certification
  • Second Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Putative Class Action Against Tobacco Company Alleging False Statements About Scientific Studies and Sales Outlook
     
    01/09/2024

    On December 26, 2023, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed a district court’s dismissal of a putative class action asserting claims against a tobacco company (the “Company”) under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”). In re Philip Morris Int’l Inc. Sec. Litig., No. 21-2546 (2d Cir. Dec. 26, 2023). Plaintiffs alleged that the Company made false or misleading statements regarding both the scientific studies it conducted in support of an application to the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) and the outlook for the Company’s sales growth in Japanese markets. The district court held that plaintiffs failed to adequately plead falsity or scienter, in a decision previously covered here. The Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal, holding that plaintiffs failed to adequately plead falsity. In its decision, the Court decided two questions of first impression in the Second Circuit. First, it held a securities fraud defendant’s statement that its scientific studies comply with a methodological standard that is published and internationally recognized, but stated in general and inherently subjective terms, is properly analyzed as a statement of opinion, rather than a statement of fact. Second, the Court held that, where a securities fraud defendant’s statement expresses an interpretation of scientific data that is ultimately endorsed by the FDA, such a statement is per se “[]reasonable” (i.e., supported by “meaningful inquiry”) as a matter of law.

    Categories : Exchange ActFalsity
  • Southern District Of New York Dismisses With Prejudice Claims Against Pharmaceutical Company Alleging Material Misstatements And Omissions In A Proxy Statement
     
    01/09/2024


    On December 28, 2023, Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed a putative class action alleging that a biopharmaceutical company (the “Company”) and certain of its officers and directors violated Sections 14(a) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 14a-9 based on alleged misstatements in a proxy statement (the “Proxy”) filed in connection with the acquisition of the Company by its controlling shareholder. Zappia v. Movant Scis. Ltd., No. 23-cv-8097 (JSR) (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 28, 2023). Plaintiff alleged that the law firm engaged by the Company’s special committee (the “Special Committee”) to consider the acquisition had a conflict of interest and that this rendered the Proxy misleading. The Court held that the complaint failed to allege the existence of a conflict or a misrepresentation.

  • Northern District Of California Pares Claims In Putative Class Action Regarding Purchase Of Social Media Platform
     
    12/19/2023


    On December 11, 2023, Judge Charles Breyer of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California narrowed a putative class action asserting claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against the purchaser of a social media company. Pampena v. Musk, — F. Supp. 3d — 2023 WL 8588853 (N.D. Cal. 2023). Plaintiffs alleged that they sold shares in the target company at depressed prices after the purchaser allegedly made material misstatements suggesting that he would not go forward with the acquisition. The Court held that certain of the challenged statements were actionable and granted leave to replead with respect to the others.

  • Southern District Of Florida Grants In Part And Denies In Part Motion To Dismiss Proposed Securities Class Action Against Electric Vehicle Charging Company
     
    12/13/2023

    On November 27, 2023, Judge Kathleen M. Williams of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss a proposed securities class action alleging that an electric vehicle charging company and certain of its officers violated Section 10(b) and Section 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  Bush v. Blink Charging Co., No. 1:20-cv-23527-KMW (S.D. Fla. Nov. 27, 2023).  Plaintiffs allege that the Company made false and misleading statements and omissions concerning the size and functionality of the Company’s electric vehicle (“EV”) charging station network.  The Court dismissed plaintiffs’ claim as to the size of the EV charging station network, but permitted plaintiffs’ claim regarding its functionality.
  • Southern District Of New York Grants Motion To Dismiss Putative Securities Class Action Against Chinese Private-Sector Education Company
     
    12/13/2023

    On December 6, 2023, Judge John G. Koeltl of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action brought against an operator of private schools in Western China.  Dagan Invs., LLC v. First High-Sch. Educ. Grp. Co., 2023 BL 442686, No. 22-cv-3831 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 6, 2023).  Plaintiff, on behalf of a purported class of U.S. investors, alleged that the Company violated Sections 11, 12(a)(2), and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933 by making material misstatements and omissions about the likelihood and severity of impending Chinese government regulations impacting the private education sector.
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