Personal Liability

News & Analysis as of

Avoiding Personal Liability: A Guide For Directors And Officers

According to the popular media, we are living in an era of corporate crime. Scandals like Enron, HealthSouth and WorldCom stretch so far back they seem like they are not even of this millennium. Among the milestones since...more

Blogger Immune From Suit for Anonymous Comments

A Pennsylvania judge in the Northampton County Court of Common Pleas ruled that the defendant blogger was not liable for anonymous posts in the “comments” section of his website, despite his active moderation of these posts....more

DOJ's Pursuit Of Admissions — And The Risks Of Settling

On March 19, 2015, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced a proposed settlement of a civil fraud lawsuit against a large financial institution (bank). As with many of the U.S. Department of...more

A Compilation of Enforcement and Non-Enforcement Actions

Non-Enforcement Matters - SEC 2015 Rulemaking Geared to Asset Managers - Certain Personnel of Registered Municipal Advisers Will Be Subject to Qualification Exams - Rulemaking Completed for Reg A+, But Will It Matter? -...more

Volunteer Directors and Officers Liable to Facility Creditors

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld a trial court’s jury verdict finding the individual board members and officers of a non-profit healthcare facility personally liable to the facility’s creditors. The board...more

Omnicare: Good and Bad News for Security Issuers Offering Statements of Opinion

Securities issuers breathed a collective sigh of relief last week when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Omnicare Inc. et al. v. Laborers District Council Construction Industry Pension Fund et al. that Section 11 of the...more

The Supreme Court’s Omnicare Decision: Implications And Remaining Questions Regarding When Opinions Are Actionable Under The...

On March 24, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its much anticipated decision in Omnicare, Inc. v. Laborers District Council Construction Industry Pension Fund, No. 13-435, 2015 WL 1291916 (Mar. 24, 2015). With some significant...more

But That’s Just, Like, Your Opinion, Man: U.S. Supreme Court Clarifies Executive Statement Liability Under Securities Law

Statements of opinion do not constitute an “untrue statement of fact” if they turn out to be incorrect, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in Omnicare, Inc. v. Laborers District Council Construction Industry Pension Fund,...more

Michigan Supreme Court Upholds Retroactive Corporate Officer Tax Relief

Relief granted to people who were previously subject to personal liability for unpaid tax debts of corporations and other entities should be applied retroactively to existing and future tax assessments, after the Michigan...more

Does Non-Recourse Liability Still Exist?

Several years ago, the real estate financing market took an unexpected turn. In 2011, a court in Michigan rendered a decision which called into question whether a non-recourse loan was truly “non-recourse” (liability limited...more

Partner Liability: Out of the Woods?

Debbett Runnup Partnership, a Texas general partnership, was sued by Widgets R Us in 2010 for failing to pay Widgets R Us invoices. Judgment was granted to Widgets in 2012 against Debbett Runnup for $300,000. After chasing...more

Attorney Who Set Up and Administered VEBA and Welfare Benefit Plans Found Liable Under ERISA

SUMMARY: Defendants set up over 500 multiple-employer death benefit plans with entities they controlled acting as the trustees. The Department of Labor (“DOL”) brought a civil action alleging breach of fiduciary duty and...more

New York Proposes Tough New Anti-Money Laundering and Cybersecurity Measures on Financial Services Companies

Action Item: Benjamin Lawsky, the Superintendent of Financial Services for New York State, one of the country’s most aggressive regulators, is seeking to increase regulatory pressures on the financial services industry,...more

California Court of Appeal Limits Scope of Agent's Immunity Rule Based on "Special Relationship" Between Insurers and Insureds

On April 2, 2014, the California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, published an opinion that limits the scope of the agent’s immunity rule insofar as it applies to employees of insurers involved in investigating...more

Delinquent Contributing Employer May Be Fiduciary

The Second Circuit held that the owner of a contributing employer to multiemployer benefit plans breached his fiduciary duties by failing to make required contributions and was thus personally liable for the delinquencies,...more

Superior Court of New Jersey Pierces the “LLC” Veil, Holding Sole Member Liable for Environmental Liabilities

On February 26, 2015, in Coty US LLC v. 680 S. 17th Street LLC, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, pierced the veil of a New Jersey limited liability company and held its sole member liable for environmental...more

Directors of Nonprofit Held Financially Liable for Relying on Incompetent Officers and Lack of Oversight

In a striking decision earlier this year, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a jury’s findings of liability for breach of fiduciary duties and ‘deepening insolvency,’ and the award of $2.25 million in compensatory...more

New York Labor Law Amendments Put LLCs and Their Members on the Front Line

The New York State Legislature passed a bill on June 19, 2013, intended to update New York’s labor law, including the Wage Theft Protection Act (WTPA). The bill (A 8106-C, S5885-B), signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo on...more

Federal Appellate Court Ruling Sounds the Liability Alarm for Officers and Directors of Struggling Health Care Providers – Both...

Last month, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued an important, 28-page opinion that confirmed a jury verdict, holding former officers and directors of a not-for-profit health care provider in...more

Avoiding personal liability amidst heightened AML enforcement

In February 2014, the Financial Industry Regulation Authority (FINRA), the self-regulatory body for the U.S. securities industry, suspended a former global anti-money laundering compliance officer at Brown Brothers Harriman &...more

CFOs Ordered to Return Bonus and Profits Due to False Financial Statements

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently ordered two former CFOs of Saba Software, Inc. to reimburse the company for stock-sale profits and bonuses accrued during the 12-month periods following its materially false and...more

How Recent Fiduciary Duty Cases Affect Advice To Directors And Officers Of Delaware And Texas Corporations

The conduct of corporate directors and officers is subject to particular scrutiny in the context of business combinations (whether friendly or hostile), executive compensation and other affiliated party transactions,...more

FCPA Compliance and Ethics Report Episode 129-Judge Rakoff, Judge Leon and Individual Prosecutions Under the FCPA [Video]

Today I discuss the book review by Judge Rakoff in the New York Review of Books, the denial of approval of the deferred prosecution agreement by Judge Leon and individual prosecutions in the FCPA....more

CFOs Agree to Sarb-Ox Clawback

Two former CFOs have agreed to return nearly a half-million dollars in bonuses and stock sale profits they received while their Silicon Valley software company, Saba Software, was committing accounting fraud. While...more

"Aggressive SEC Enforcement Approach Creates New Challenges for Resolving Investigations"

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) pursued aggressive enforcement of the securities laws in the past year. Several trends related to the SEC's vigorous approach are likely to continue in 2015....more

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