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Supreme Court Unanimously Rejects Special "Presumption of Prudence" For Investment in Employer Stock

In the past, fiduciaries of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) and other defined contribution plans that invest in employer stock generally have been able to rely on a special “presumption of prudence” in court when...more

Hedge Funds and Material Nonpublic Information: The Role of Deception, Duty, Breach, Personal Benefit and Knowledge in Creating...

The last thing hedge funds need is another wake up call about the risks of liability for trading on the basis of material nonpublic information. But if they did, a July 17 article in the Wall Street Journal would provide it....more

What Does the Supreme Court’s Ruling in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer Mean for ESOPs and Other Retirement Plan Fiduciaries?

Fiduciaries of qualified retirement plans, including Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), have generally been entitled to a presumption that they have acted prudently in offering employer stock as an investment alternative...more

District Court Clarifies Statute of Repose Timeline in Material Misstatement Case

The US District Court for the Eastern District of New York recently dismissed a class action claim, determining the reasserted claim violated the applicable statute of repose that requires all claims be brought within three...more

IR Executive Settles SEC Insider Trading Charges

The SEC filed a settled insider trading case against a partner in an investor relations firm who traded securities based on information he obtained from draft press releases he worked on for firm clients. The settled action...more

Citigroup Settles with DOJ for $7 Billion

Citigroup announced last week that it will pay $7 billion to end an investigation by the U.S Department of Justice into misconduct related to its mortgage securitization practices. The blockbuster settlement came days before...more

Better Keep Your Opinions to Yourselves for Now: Second Circuit Doubles Down in Deutsche Bank Ruling in Advance of Supreme Court...

On July 16, 2014, a three-judge Second Circuit panel affirmed the dismissal of a securities class action against Deutsche Bank AG and several underwriters. The case was brought on behalf of investors who purchased...more

Delaware Court Dismisses Shareholder Class Action Suit Attacking Corporate Merger

Almost every proposed corporate merger is met with a shareholder suit against the acquiring company, merger target and the target’s board of directors in which the shareholders assert that the board breached its fiduciary...more

Securities Fraud Class Actions are Here to Stay, For Now

On June 23, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States rendered its opinion in Halliburton Co. v. Erica P. John Fund, No. 13-317, 134 S. Ct. 2398 (2014), unanimously declining to overturn a 26-year-old precedent that...more

Securities Regulation Radar: Top Topics in New York

On July 16, the New York State Bar Association’s Securities Regulation Committee held a meeting to discuss three of the recent developments in securities regulation. The first discussion focused on the Supreme Court’s June...more

U.S. Supreme Court Changes Fiduciary Rules for Retirement Plans with Employer Stock

A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision affects fiduciaries of retirement plans that have investments in employer stock. In the decision, the Supreme Court held that a retirement plan fiduciary is not entitled to a presumption...more

Chancery Court Provides Additional Room for Shareholders Challenging Change of Control Transactions

What you need to know: In its recent decision in Chen v. Howard-Anderson, Delaware’s Court of Chancery held that directors and officers may be found to have acted in bad faith, thereby breaching their fiduciary duty of...more

The Impact of the Supreme Court’s Recent Halliburton Decision on Securities Litigation

On June 23, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Halliburton Co. v. Erica P. John Fund, Inc. In Halliburton, the Court declined to overrule Basic v. Levinson, but rather imposed limitations on the...more

Supreme Court Rejects “Presumption of Prudence” in ESOP Cases

On June 25, 2014, the Supreme Court issued a decision in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer regarding the availability of relief against fiduciaries of an employee stock ownership plan (“ESOP”) for alleged breaches of the...more

What Should the Trustee of a Private ESOP Do?

The Department of Labor (DOL) recently entered into an agreement with GreatBanc Trust Company settling claims relating to its service as trustee of an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) holding stock of a private company....more

The SEC, An Idea, Insider Trading And The Wyly Case

The SEC got a much needed courtroom win with a jury verdict in the Wyly case. The insider trading claim, however, was not submitted to the jury because any penalty was time barred. That claim, which was little more than the...more

Microcap Fraud: An FBI Controlled Shell Company

Five men came together to plan the manipulation of an over-the-counter traded shell. What they did not know was that the shell was controlled by the FBI. SEC v. Affa, Civil Action No. 1:14-cv-12959 (D. Mass. Filed July 11,...more

Employee Benefits Update: Unanimous Supreme Court Issues ERISA Fiduciary Duty Opinion

On June 25, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, which is likely to change the future of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) stock drop litigation. ...more

Dent v. Ramtron Int’l Corp., C.A. No. 7950-VCP (Del. Ch. June 30, 2014) (Parsons, V.C.)

In this memorandum opinion, the Court of Chancery granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims that defendants breached their fiduciary duties in connection with the sale of the defendant-corporation to a...more

Supreme Court Refocuses the 11th Circuit in its Review of an ESOP Fiduciary's Duty of Prudence.

Two years ago, when called upon to address an ESOP fiduciary’s duty of prudence in the context of a motion to dismiss, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals followed a long line of cases: “We join our five sister circuits in...more

Three Thoughts about FINRA’s Weird Japanese Insider Trading Case

One of the things you’re not supposed to do if you’re in the securities business – or any business, really – is buy and sell securities on the basis of material, nonpublic information in breach of a duty not to do so. The...more

SEC Resolves First Case Under New Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation Initiative

On July 8, 2014, the SEC announced that it had settled charges that a school district in California misled bond investors about its failure to comply with its continuing disclosure obligations under Rule 15c2-12 of the...more

Corporate and Financial Weekly Digest - Volume IX, Issue 27

In this issue: - SEC Publishes Guidance for Investment Advisers and Proxy Advisory Firms Regarding Proxy Voting and Solicitation - SEC Division of Corporation Finance Issues C&DIs Relating to Accredited Investor...more

Supreme Court Rejects Presumption for ERISA Fiduciaries, But Makes Clear Stock-Drop Claims Are Difficult to Sustain

What you need to know: In Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, et al., decided earlier this month, the Supreme Court seemingly handed a victory to the plaintiff’s bar, striking down a presumption of prudence that ERISA...more

The SEC, Insider Trading, Golf And E-Mails

Insider trading is generally a profit making venture. But not always as a group of golf friends recently learned – and documented in numerous e-mails that may have actually created a better evidentiary trail than the much...more

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