In re Nektar Therapeutics: Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Securities Class Action Arising from Failure of Clinical Drug Trial  

Summary On May 19, 2022, a panel of the Ninth Circuit unanimously affirmed the district court’s dismissal of a putative securities fraud class action accusing Nektar Therapeutics and several of its executives of misleading investors about the results of a clinical drug trial. The court held that even if Nektar […]

Delaware Advance Notice Decisions Highlight Move Toward Enhanced Scrutiny of Board Actions, Even Where Conflicts Exist

Like US constitutional law, Delaware courts apply a tiered standard of judicial review to actions taken by the board of directors of corporations: Business judgment deference (rational basis). Enhanced scrutiny under Unocal and Revlon (intermediate scrutiny). The compelling justification standard articulated in Blasius (strict scrutiny). In the constitutional arena, the failure to satisfy the strict scrutiny […]

SEC’s Proposed Rules Highlight Continued Focus on Cybersecurity

On March 9, 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) proposed new rules which, if adopted, would require public companies to promptly disclose material cybersecurity incidents and, more generally, to provide more detailed disclosures regarding cybersecurity risk management, strategy, and governance practices. The rules – the latest in a series […]

Delaware Finds Stockholder Claims Against SPAC Fiduciaries Subject to Entire Fairness Review

As SPAC IPOs broke records – in both value and volume – in 2020 (and again in 2021), it was inevitable that stockholder litigation would follow. More than 50% of the SPACs that went public in 2020 and 2021 are incorporated in Delaware, giving particular significance to SPAC litigation filed […]

Whistleblower Complaints and Rewards Explode Worldwide

What you need to know Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of whistleblower complaints received by regulators has exploded on both sides of the Atlantic. On November 15, 2021, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reported that it paid out more in whistleblower awards in fiscal […]

SEC Enforcement Director Sets Aggressive Tone

Gurbir Grewal, the recently-appointed Director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement, comes from a law enforcement background.  Before joining the SEC, he served as New Jersey Attorney General, where he presided over cases against prominent companies alleging violations of state environmental law.  Before that, he served as […]

Pleading Bad Faith Against Special Committee Members: A New Trend?

Special committees, by design, are created to address conflicts and to insulate the board of directors from liability for the very conflicts that may invite judicial scrutiny of the fairness of the board’s decision. A well-functioning special committee will also mitigate the risk of personal liability for a company’s fiduciaries, […]

DOJ Increases Efforts to Combat Cyber Breaches by Targeting Government Contractors

The US Department of Justice is increasing its arsenal to pursue cyber-related fraud by government contractors and grant recipients. The program, called the “Civil Cyber-Fraud Initiative,” was announced by Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco on Wednesday. The initiative – along with other recent steps taken by the federal government – […]

Ninth Circuit Rejects ‘Direct Listing’ Carve-Out from Securities Act Liability

On September 20, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued its much anticipated decision in Pirani v. Slack Technologies, Inc., which raised the novel question (a question of first impression, according to the panel) of whether shareholders lack standing to sue under Sections 11 and […]

SEC Charges Alternative Data Provider With Misrepresenting Data Sources

What happened Last week the SEC brought securities fraud charges against App Annie and its co-founder and former CEO and Chairman Bertrand Schmitt for engaging in deceptive practices and making material misrepresentations about how App Annie’s alternative data was derived. App Annie and Schmitt agreed to pay $10 million and […]