NEW YORK - A group of institutional investors has met all statutory requirements to serve as lead plaintiff in a securities class action against a real estate investment trust and several of its former executive officers and directors, a federal magistrate judge in New York ruled Nov. 29 (Westchester Putnam Counties Heavy & Highway Laborers Local 60 Benefit Funds v. Brixmor Property Group Inc., et al., No. 16-2400, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164682).
PHOENIX - A federal judge in Arizona on Nov. 29 denied a motion for an extension to file an amended complaint in a shareholder derivative lawsuit against several current and former officers and directors of a solar panel maker, ruling that investors have had enough time to gather the necessary information for them to plead demand futility (In re First Solar Derivative Litigation, No. 12-0769, D. Ariz.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164272).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge in an opinion filed Nov. 18 denied a plaintiff's motion to remand a case alleging improper denial of claims under an Employee Retirement Income Security Act-qualified health plan to state court, saying that claims for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty are properly brought under ERISA (Eric A. Shore P.C. v. Independence Blue Cross, et al., No. 16-5224, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160022).
FORT WORTH, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Nov. 18 withheld ruling on a plaintiffs' motion for conditional certification and preliminary approval of an $8.8 million Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action settlement, saying that he did not have enough information to conclude that the proposed settlement should be approved as being fair, reasonable and adequate to the members of the proposed class (Salvador Ortiz, et al. v. American Airlines Inc., et al., No. 4:16-cv-151, N.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160588).
SELMA, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on Nov. 18 denied a Prudential Insurance Co. insured's motion to remand to state court an action alleging that the insured failed to pay any policy benefits, saying that his state law claims are completely preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which authorizes a plan participant or beneficiary to bring a civil suit "to recover benefits due to him under the terms of his plan, to enforce his rights under the terms of the plan, or to clarify his rights to future benefits under the terms of the plan" (Marion McIntosh v. Prudential Insurance Co., No. 16-0523, S.D. Ala.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159869).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Nov. 21 granted defendants' motions to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that a pension fund, its trustees and its lawyers conspired with each other to have the fund retain and convert the contributions made on a plaintiff's behalf, saying that the plaintiff's state law conversion claim is preempted by Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 514 and that his conspiracy claim is untenable in light of controlling precedent (John P. Cooney v. Trustees of the Will County Carpenters Local 174 Pension Fund, et al., No. 13-cv-8819, N.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160603).
ROCK ISLAND, Ill. - An Illinois federal judge on Nov. 21 granted a motion to enforce the terms of an agreement to settle an Employee Retirement Income Security Act lawsuit and ordered defendant Midwest Underground Inc. to pay the plaintiff plumber union funds $82,707 (Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union No. 25 Welfare Fund, et al. v. Midwest Underground Inc., No. 4:15-cv-04144, C.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160599).
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - A New York federal judge in an opinion filed Nov. 18 granted partial summary judgment to a man whose long-term disability claims were denied, saying that the defendants failed to adequately explain all of the reasons for denying the claim in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Charles Standish v. Federal Express Corp. Long Term Disability Plan, et al., No. 6:15-cv-6226, W.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160093).
ST. LOUIS - In a Nov. 18 brief filed in Missouri federal court, the lead plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the operator of the Ashley Madison website oppose dismissal of their putative class action over a 2015 data breach that exposed their personal information, contending that they never assented to an arbitration clause within the site's terms and conditions (T&C) (In re Ashley Madison Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, No. 4:15-cv-02669, E.D. Mo.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Lead plaintiffs in a securities class action lawsuit against a cyber-attack detection and protection software developer and certain of its executive offices have failed to plead a material misrepresentation, scienter or scheme liability in making their claims that the defendants misrepresented the impact of an acquisition deal's impact on product integration, a federal judge in California ruled Nov. 14 (Vijay Fadia v. FireEye Inc., et al., No. 14-5204, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157391).
NEW YORK - Without providing any detail, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 10 declined to grant a French company's motion for rehearing or rehearing en banc of the court's previous ruling affirming a jury's verdict against the company for violations of federal securities laws (In re Vivendi S.A. Securities Litigation, No. 15-180, 2nd Cir.).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A federal judge in Virginia on Nov. 10 appointed a union pension fund as lead plaintiff in a securities class action lawsuit against an ammunition manufacturer and certain of its executive officers, ruling that although the pension fund has not sustained the largest losses of the group of movants seeking to serve as lead plaintiff, the only other institutional investor is prevented from serving as lead plaintiff pursuant to the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act's (PSLRA) Five-In-Three Provision (Steven Knurr, et al. v. Orbital ATK Inc., et al., No. 16-1031, E.D. Va.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156591).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 9 affirmed a lower federal court's finding that there is no coverage under a financial institution bond or an errors and omissions insurance policy for claims arising from the alleged $2.6 million theft committed by an insured's employee (Hantz Financial Services Inc., et al v. American Int'l Specialty, et al., No. 15-2237, 6th Cir.).
CHICAGO - An appraisal clause's use of the word, "binding" made clear to an insured that by participating in the appraisal process, it foreclosed its opportunity to litigate the amount an insurer owed it for damage to a building covered by the insurance policy, an Illinois federal judge ruled Nov. 7, dismissing a breach of contract claim (70th Court Condo Association v. Ohio Security Insurance Co. and Donan Engineering Co. Inc., No. 16-07723, N.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153959).
CINCINNATI - A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 8 affirmed that former Chrysler Corp. executives' age discrimination claim is preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because it was brought outside the statute of limitations applicable to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) (John Loffredo, et al. v. Daimler AG, et al., No. 15-1443, 6th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on Nov. 4 denied the National Association for Fixed Annuities' (NAFA) motion for a preliminary injunction against the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) fiduciary rule and granted the DOL's request for summary judgment, saying that the DOL did not go beyond its statutory authority when it extended the reach of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act to individual retirement accounts (The National Association of Fixed Annuities v. Thomas E. Perez, et al., No. 16-1035, D. D.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153214).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on Nov. 2 appointed a pair of investors as lead plaintiff in a securities class action lawsuit against Charles Schwab Corp. and others, ruling that the investors have the largest financial interest in the litigation and meet the statutory requirements of typicality and adequacy (Robert Crago v. Charles Schwab & Co. Inc., et al., No. 16-3938, N.D. Calif.).
RICHMOND, Va. - A district court misinterpreted a disability plan's provisions when it determined that the plan and its administrator are bound by the disability onset date determined by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the plan defendants argue in a Nov. 2 brief filed in the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Jesse Solomon v. Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan, et al., No. 16-1730, 4th Cir.).
NEW YORK - Standard lock-up agreements in the initial public offering (IPO) for Facebook Inc. between lead underwriters of the IPO and pre-IPO shareholders are not sufficient, alone, to render those parties a group under federal securities law, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Nov. 3 (Robert Lowinger, et al. v. Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, et al., No. 14-3800, 2nd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 19887).