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  • 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. 

  • 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
  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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 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.
  • Eastern District Of New York Grants Motion To Dismiss Proposed Securities Class Action Against Russian Electronic Payments Company
     
    11/14/2023

    On November 3, 2023, Judge Rachel P. Kovner of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York granted a motion to dismiss a proposed putative securities class action alleging that a Russian electronic payments company (the “Company”) and certain of its officers violated Section 10(b) and Section 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”).  In re Qiwi PLC Sec. Litig., No. 1:20-cv-06054-RPK-CLP (E.D.N.Y. Nov. 3, 2023).
  • First Circuit Partially Revives Putative Class Action Against Pharmaceutical Company Alleging Misstatements About Clinical Trial Data
     
    11/01/2023

    On October 11, 2023, the United States Court of Appeals for the First 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 pharmaceutical company and certain of its former executives.  Shash v. Biogen, Inc., —F.4th—, 2023 WL 6617278 (1st Cir. 2023).  Plaintiffs alleged that the company made misstatements and omissions regarding the clinical trial results of the company’s drug to treat Alzheimer’s.  The district court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss, but the First Circuit reversed the dismissal in part, holding that plaintiffs’ allegations were sufficient with respect to one challenged statement, while affirming that plaintiffs failed to adequately allege scienter with respect to other challenged statements.
  • Southern District Of New York Denies In Part And Grants In Part Motion To Dismiss Securities Class Action Against Social Media Company Owner
     
    10/11/2023

    On September 29, 2023, Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr. of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York denied in part and granted in part a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action against the owner of a social media company and his beneficial trust.  Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System v. Musk, No. 22-cv-03026 (ALC) (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 29, 2023).  Plaintiff alleged that defendants violated Sections 10(b), 20A, and 20(a) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 by allegedly concealing the owner’s ownership interests in the Company to investors who sold shares of the Company between March 25, 2022, and April 4, 2022, the putative class period.
  • Northern District Of California Grants Motion To Dismiss Amended Securities Class Action Complaint Against Hearing Aid Company
     
    10/11/2023

    On August 31, 2023, Judge Charles R. Breyer of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action alleging that a hearing aid company, its officers, directors and underwriters, 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.  In re Eargo, Inc. Sec. Litig., No. 21-cv-08597 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 31, 2023).  Plaintiffs alleged that the Company misrepresented the Company’s revenue and growth opportunities in its offering materials and allegedly downplayed an audit that allegedly led to a Department of Justice investigation in later SEC filings and public statements.
  • Northern District Of Illinois Narrows Putative Class Action Against Airplane Manufacturer
     
    10/11/2023

    On September 18, 2023, Judge Manish S. Shah of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois narrowed a putative class action asserting claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against an airplane manufacturer and its former CEO and CFO.  College Ret. Equities Fund v. Boeing Co., 2023 WL 6065260 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 18, 2023).  Plaintiffs alleged the company made misrepresentations regarding two crashes of a new model of plane and the company’s responsive measures in an effort to return the fleet to service.  The Court held that various challenged statements were not actionable because plaintiffs failed to adequately allege falsity or scienter.  With respect to the remaining challenged statements, the Court further pared the claims by holding that loss causation was not sufficiently alleged in connection with certain purported corrective disclosures.
  • Eastern District Of New York Sustains Securities Act Claims And Dismisses Exchange Act Claims In A Putative Class Action Against An International Portfolio Management Company
     
    10/11/2023

    On September 25, 2023, Judge Pamela K. Chen of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action alleging that an IT portfolio management services company, its CEO, and its CFO violated Sections 11 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933 and Sections 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  Handal v. Tenet Fintech Grp. Inc., No. 1:21-cv-06461 (PKC) (RER) (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 25, 2023).  Plaintiffs alleged that defendants made material misstatements regarding several business transactions in the Company’s registration statement and the CEO’s subsequent public statements.  The Court denied the motion with respect to the Securities Act claims but granted it with respect to the Exchange Act claim because plaintiffs failed to adequately allege reliance.
  • Southern District Of New York Grants Motion For Reconsideration And Motion To Dismiss Class Action Against Pharmaceutical And Cannabis Company
     
    09/06/2023

    On August 21, 2023, Judge Paul A. Crotty of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted a motion for reconsideration of his denial of an earlier motion to dismiss a putative securities class action against a pharmaceutical and cannabis company that sells cannabis, hemp, and related products (the “Company”) and certain of its officers (the “Individual Defendants”).  Kasilingam et al. v. Tilray Inc., et al., No. 1:20-cv-03459 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 21, 2023).  Based on the Court’s reconsidered analysis, the Court granted defendants’ second motion to dismiss.  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 thereunder by making false and misleading statements to inflate the Company’s stock price.
    Categories : Exchange ActFalsityScienter
  • Split Tenth Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Exchange Act Claims Against Aerostructures Manufacturing Company And Its Executives, Finding Plaintiffs Did Not Adequately Plead Scienter
     
    09/06/2023

    On August 21, 2023, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed dismissal of a consolidated putative class action alleging violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”), and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, against a large aerostructures manufacturing company (the “Company”) and certain of its executives.  Meitav Dash Provident Funds and Pension Ltd., et al. v. Spirit AeroSystems Holdings, et al., No. 22-5013 (10th Cir. Aug. 21, 2023).  The Northern District of Oklahoma dismissed plaintiffs’ complaint, holding that plaintiffs failed to adequately plead scienter.  In a split decision, the Tenth Circuit affirmed.
    Categories : Exchange ActScienter
  • Second Circuit Affirms In Part And Vacates In Part Decision Dismissing Securities Class Action Against Insurance Company, Its Officers, Directors, Underwriters, And Outside Auditor
     
    09/06/2023

    On August 23, 2023, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part an order dismissing a putative securities class action against a property and casualty insurer (the “Company”), various corporate officers and board members of the Company, the Company’s outside auditor, and multiple underwriters of the Company’s sale of securities.  New England Carpenters Guaranteed Annuity and Pension Funds, et al. v. AmTrust Financial Services Inc., et al., 20-1643 (Aug. 23, 2023).  In vacating the district court’s dismissal in part, the Second Circuit held that in light of its more recent precedent, certain alleged misstatements of opinion were actionable as alleged in the complaint, and therefore reversed the district court’s dismissal of claims related to those alleged misstatements, but otherwise affirmed the district court’s decision dismissing the remaining claims.
  • Ninth Circuit Revives Putative Class Action Against Computer Graphics Hardware Producer, Holding That Misleading Statements And Scienter Were Adequately Alleged
     
    09/06/2023

    On August 25, 2023, a sharply divided panel of 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 against a producer of graphics processing units and certain of its executives.  E. Ohman J:or Fonder AB v. NVIDIA Corp., —F.4th—, 2023 WL 5496507 (9th Cir. 2023).  As discussed in our prior post, plaintiffs alleged that the company made misrepresentations regarding the extent to which its revenues and growth depended on sales of graphics processing units to the volatile cryptocurrency mining industry.  The Ninth Circuit held that plaintiffs adequately alleged that statements by two executives were misleading, and adequately alleged scienter as to the company’s CEO.
  • Eleventh Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Putative Class Action Against Direct-To-Consumer Marketing Company For Failure To Adequately Allege Scienter Or Scheme Liability
     
    08/16/2023

    On August 8, 2023, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a putative class action asserting claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against a direct-to-consumer marketing company and certain of its officers.  In re Tupperware Brands Corp. Sec. Litig., 2023 WL 5091802 (11th Cir. Aug. 8, 2023).  Plaintiff alleged that the company misrepresented its financial performance as a result of a fraudulent sales scheme orchestrated at the company’s subsidiary.  The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of plaintiff’s third amended complaint with prejudice, holding that plaintiff failed to allege scienter on the part of the makers of the challenged statements and failed to allege scheme liability.
    Categories : SchemeScienter
  • New York District Court Denies In Part And Grants In Part Motion To Dismiss Class Action Against Agriculture Company
     
    08/08/2023

    On July 21, 2023, Judge Lewis J. Liman 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 securities class action alleging that an agriculture company (the “Company”) and certain of its officers (the “Individual Defendants”) violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5 thereunder.  In Re Appharvest Sec. Litig., No. 21-cv-7985 (LJL), 2023 BL 261952 (S.D.N.Y. July 31, 2023).  Plaintiffs alleged that defendants made misleading statements about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on quality control, training, yield, and employee attrition at the Company’s main plant.
    Categories : Exchange ActFalsityScienter
  • District Of Minnesota Dismisses Exchange Act Claims Against Mattress Company With Prejudice, Finding Investors Failed To Adequately Plead Falsity And Scienter
     
    08/01/2023

    On July 10, 2023, Chief Judge Patrick J. Schiltz of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota granted a motion to dismiss a putative securities fraud class action against a mattress and bedding company (the “Company”) and two of its executives.  Steamfitters Local 449 Pension & Retirement Securities Funds v. Sleep Number Corp., et al, No. 21-CV-2669 (PJS/DTS) (D. Minn. July 10, 2010).  Plaintiffs alleged that defendants violated Section 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder by making material misstatements and omissions regarding an alleged disruption to the Company’s supply chain after a natural disaster that forced certain of the Company’s distributors to temporarily shut down.  The Court dismissed the amended complaint with prejudice, holding that plaintiffs failed to adequately plead falsity and scienter.
  • Southern District Of New York Denies Food Delivery Company’s Motion To Dismiss Securities Class Action
     
    08/01/2023

    On July 25, 2023, Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York denied a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action against an online food ordering and delivery platform (the “Company”), alleging violations of Section 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  Steamship Trade Ass’n of Baltimore-Int’l Longshoreman’s Ass’n Pension Fund v. Olo Inc., No. 22-CV-8228 (JSR), 2023 WL 4744197 (S.D.N.Y. July 25, 2023).  Plaintiff alleged that the Company and two of its officers misled investors by (1) failing to disclose that one of its restaurant partners intended to terminate its partnership with the Company; and (2) misrepresenting the number of “active” restaurant locations that utilized the Company’s product.
  • Fourth Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Putative Class Action Against Biopharmaceutical Company For Failure To Allege Scienter And Materiality
     
    08/01/2023

    On July 24, 2023, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of claims under Sections 10(b), 14(a), and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against a biopharmaceutical company (the “Company”) and certain of its officers and directors.  San Antonio Fire & Police Pension Fund v. Syneos Health Inc., 2023 WL 4688178 (4th Cir. 2023).  Plaintiffs alleged that the Company misled investors about its projected growth following its merger with another company.  The Fourth Circuit held that plaintiffs failed to adequately allege scienter, and that they also failed to allege that the alleged misstatements were material, stating that “not every financial disappointment is actionable under federal law.”
    Categories : Exchange ActMaterialityScienter
  • Central District Of California Allows Securities Fraud Claims To Proceed Against Electric Automobile Company
     
    07/11/2023

    On July 3, 2023, Judge Josephine L. Staton of the United States District Court for the Central District of California denied a motion to dismiss a putative class action against an electric automobile company (the “Company”), alleging violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”), Sections 11, 12(a)(2), and 15 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”), and Regulation S-K.  Crews v. Rivian Auto., Inc., No. 2:22-CV-01524-JLS-E, 2023 WL 4361098 (C.D. Cal. July 3, 2023).  We previously covered the Court’s decision dismissing plaintiffs’ initial complaint without prejudice.  In their amended complaint, plaintiffs alleged that the company made various misleading statements relating to the pricing and profitability of its vehicles despite knowing for several years prior to the Company’s 2021 IPO that it would need to increase pricing to address higher-than-anticipated costs for materials needed for production.  The Court held that plaintiffs’ amended complaint sufficiently alleged actionable misrepresentations and raised a plausible inference of scienter.
    Categories : FalsityScienter
  • District Of New Jersey Allows Securities Fraud Claim To Proceed Against Outside Accounting Firm, Finding Plaintiff Sufficiently Alleged Scienter
     
    07/06/2023

    On June 15, 2023, Judge Michael A. Shipp of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, in an unpublished opinion, adopted a Special Master’s Report and Recommendation denying a motion to dismiss claims under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”), and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, against an accounting firm (the “Firm”) in connection with an audit report it issued for a pharmaceutical company’s (the “Company”) financial statements in connection with the Company’s public offering.  In re Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl., Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 15-7658 (MAS) (LHG) (D.N.J. June 15, 2023).  We previously covered the district court’s decision denying a motion for judgment on the pleadings in this action, as well as the district court’s decision denying a motion to dismiss by other defendants in the action.
    Categories : Exchange ActScienter
  • Second Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Putative Class Action Against Pharmaceutical Company For Failure To Allege Misstatements and Scienter
     
    06/01/2023

    On May 16, 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 pharmaceutical company (the “Company”) under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  Nandkumar v. AstraZeneca PLC, No. 22-2704-CV, 2023 WL 3477164 (2d Cir. May 16, 2023).  Plaintiffs alleged that the Company made misstatements and omissions about the progress of their clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine.  The district court held that plaintiffs failed to plead falsity or scienter, a decision we previously covered.  The Second Circuit, in a summary order, affirmed the dismissal, holding that plaintiffs failed to plead with specificity facts that would explain why and how investors were misled.
  • Northern District Of California Denies Motion To Dismiss Putative Class Action Against Software Company, Finding Plaintiff Adequately Pled Falsity, Scienter And Loss Causation
     
    05/09/2023

    On April 18, 2023, Judge William H. Orrick of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California denied a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action alleging a software company (the “Company”) and several of its officers (the “individual defendants”) violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act (the “Exchange Act”). Weston v. DocuSign, Inc. et al., No. 22-cv-00824 (Apr. 18, 2023).  Plaintiff claimed that defendants made false and misleading statements to investors about the sustainability of the Company’s COVID-19 pandemic-driven growth.  The Court denied defendants’ motion to dismiss, holding that at least some of the alleged material misstatements or omissions were not protected by the safe-harbor provision of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (“PSLRA”), and that plaintiff had sufficiently pled falsity, scienter, and loss causation as it related to those statements.
    Categories : Exchange ActFalsityScienter
  • Fintech Company Secures Dismissal Of Purported Class Action In Northern District Of California
     
    05/09/2023

    On April 27, 2023, Judge Charles R. Breyer of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted a motion to dismiss a proposed securities class action suit against a financial technology company (the “Company”) and four executives, including its CEO and CFO, alleging violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and SEC Rule 10b-5(b).  Huei-Ting Kang v. PayPal Holdings Inc., No. 3:21-cv-06468 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 27, 2023).  The Court dismissed the complaint with prejudice for failure to plead falsity and failure to plead a strong inference of scienter.  The Court had previously dismissed plaintiffs’ prior complaint without prejudice, in a decision covered here.
  • Northern District Of California Grants Semiconductor Company’s Motion To Dismiss In Proposed Investor Class Action
     
    04/18/2023

    On March 31, 2023, Judge Edward J. Davila of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted a motion to dismiss a putative class action against a semiconductor company (the “Company”), alleging violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5. Specifically, the lawsuit alleged that the Company misled investors about its progress in creating a smaller, 7-nanometer microchip. In re Intel Corp. Sec. Litig., No. 5:20-cv-05194, 2023 WL 2767779 (N.D. Cal., Mar. 31, 2023). The Court granted the Company’s motion to dismiss, holding that plaintiffs failed to sufficiently plead falsity and scienter.
  • Massachusetts District Court Grants Motion To Dismiss Securities Fraud Claims Against Biopharmaceutical Company, Finding Plaintiffs Failed To Plead Falsity And Scienter
     
    04/18/2023

    On March 29, 2023, Judge William G. Young of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts granted a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action alleging a pharmaceutical company (the “Company”), its former CEO, the president of its U.S. division, and its former Chief Medical Officer (“CMO”) made false and misleading statements regarding the efficacy of the Company’s new Alzheimer’s drug. Okla. Firefighters Pension and Ret. Sys. v. Biogen Inc., et al., No. 22-10200-WGY (D. Mass. Mar. 29, 2023). In granting defendants’ motion to dismiss, the Court held that plaintiffs failed to plead facts with particularity establishing that any of the challenged statements were false or misleading or that there was a strong inference of scienter.
    Categories : Exchange ActFalsityScienter
  • Southern District Of New York Dismisses Putative Class Action Against Financial Institution For Failure To Adequately Allege Misrepresentations, Scienter, Or Scheme Liability
     
    04/18/2023

    On March 31, 2023, Judge John P. Cronan of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed a putative class action asserting claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against a financial institution that offered certain Exchange Traded Notes (the “ETN”) linked to a natural gas price index. Gomez v. Credit Suisse AG, No. 22 Civ. 115 (JPC) (BCM), 2023 WL 2744415 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 31, 2023).
  • District Of New Jersey Dismisses Putative Securities Fraud Class Action Against Pharmaceutical Company For Failure To Allege Falsity Or Scienter
     
    03/28/2023

    On March 14, 2023, Judge Zahid N. Quraishi of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey dismissed a putative class action suit against a pharmaceutical company (the “Company”) and its executives alleging violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act. Lewakowski v. Aquestive Therapeutics, Inc. et al., No. 3:21-cv-03751, 2023 WL 2496504 (D.N.J. Mar. 14, 2023). Plaintiffs alleged that defendants misled investors regarding the efficacy of a new drug and the likelihood of approval by the Food and Drug Administration. The Court dismissed the action without prejudice, holding that the complaint “cherry-pick[ed] out-of-context quotes from the Company’s disclosures” and failed to allege falsity or scienter.
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