SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on Aug. 11 granted a motion to dismiss a securities class action lawsuit filed against a solar energy company and certain of its executive officers after determining that the plaintiffs failed to adequately allege falsity and scienter (In re SolarCity Corp. Securities Litigation, No. 16-4686, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129137).
TYLER, Texas - A Texas federal judge on July 24 preliminarily approved a $97.5 million settlement on claims that retailer JCPenney Co. Inc. and certain of its executive officers misrepresented the company's business and financial condition in violation of federal securities laws and scheduled a settlement hearing for Nov. 29 (Alan B. Marcus v. JCPenney Company Inc., et al., No. 13-0736, E.D. Texas).
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 14 affirmed that an amendment to a pension plan did not violate the anti-cutback provision of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because the amendment did not decrease a participant's accrued benefits (Vincent Morrone v. The Pension Fund of Local No. One, I.A.T.S.E., No. 16-723, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 15026).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 15 vacated and remanded a district court's ruling that a de novo standard of review rather than an abuse of discretion standard of review should be applied in a disability benefits dispute because the Employee Retirement Income Security Act preempts the application of California's insurance law, which prohibits the use of discretionary clauses (Yvette Williby v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 15-56394, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 15213).
MIAMI - An insured's suit seeking a declaration that coverage is owed for water damage to his home was removed to Florida federal court on Aug. 14 by the insurer on the basis that the amount in controversy satisfies the federal jurisdictional amount in controversy (Romeo Alcantara v. American Security Insurance Co., No. 17-23077, S.D. Fla.).
CHICAGO - A split Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 10 denied a petition for writ of mandamus asking it to transfer an Employee Retirement Income Security Act lawsuit back to Pennsylvania federal court, ruling in a case of first impression for the circuit that a forum-selection clause in an ERISA plan overrides the statute's direction that suits may be brought in certain courts tied to the plan or the beneficiary (In re: George W. Mathias, No. 16-3808, 7th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 14803).
CHICAGO - A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 10 affirmed that a woman's Illinois state law wage claim is completely preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because she could have brought her claim under ERISA and because her claims did not implicate a legal duty independent of ERISA (Heather Studer v. Katherine Shaw Bethea Hospital, No. 16-3728, 7th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 14800).
SAN DIEGO - After finding that the manager of a nightclub development company fraudulently induced an investor into investing money for the development of a new club, a California federal judge on Aug. 7 refused to dismiss the investor's claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and securities fraud (Matthias Mueller v. San Diego Entertainment Partners LLC, et al., No. 16cv2997, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77643).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - Lead plaintiffs in a securities class action lawsuit against a restaurant chain, certain of its senior officers and others have properly shown that the defendants issued actionable misstatements and omissions regarding the business and financial condition of the company in violation of federal securities laws, a federal judge in California ruled Aug. 4 in denying the defendants' motion to dismiss (Daniel Turocy v. El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc., et al., No. 15-1343, C.D. Calif.).
NEWARK, N.J. - The plaintiffs in a consolidated Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action against a health care provider on Aug. 3 filed an unopposed motion for preliminary approval of a $42.5 million class action settlement agreement with the provider (Donna Garbaccio, et al. v. St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center and Subsidiaries, et al., No. 2:16-cv-02740, D. N.J.).
ST. LOUIS - An Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 3 ruled that an Employee Retirement Income Security Act plan can bring a declaratory judgment claim to enforce the plan's coordination of benefits provision against a blanket insurer in a dispute over whether the plan or the insurer had to provide primary coverage for medical expenses incurred by an injured student athlete (Dakotas and Western Minnesota Electrical Industry Health and Welfare Fund v. First Agency, Inc., et al., Nos. 16-1846, 16-3319, 16-3375, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 14233).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - A federal jury in New York on Aug. 4 convicted former pharmaceutical company CEO and hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli on claims that he orchestrated a massive Ponzi scheme over a six-year span while CEO of Retrophin Inc. (United States of America v. Martin Shkreli, No. 15-637, E.D. N.Y.).
PHILADELPHIA - American Pipe & Construction Co. v. Utah tolling does not apply to claims in four related securities class action lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies and others that misrepresented the clinical trial results for a cholesterol treatment drug in violation of federal securities laws based on the U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling in California Public Employees Retirement System v. ANZ Securities Inc., a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Aug. 3 in reversing and remanding in a nonprecedential opinion (North Sound Capital LLC, et al. v. Merck & Co. Inc., et al., No. 16-1364, 3rd Cir.; GIC Private Limited v. Merck & Co. Inc., et al., No. 1365, 3rd Cir.; GIC Private Limited v. Merck & Co., et al., No. 16-1366, 3rd Cir.; and North Sound Capital LLC, et al. v. Merck & Co. Inc., et al., No. 16-1367, 3rd Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 14170).
PHOENIX - A lead plaintiff in a securities class action lawsuit against a commercial-stage specialty pharmaceutical company and certain of its current and former executive officers has failed to show that a majority of the defendants' alleged misrepresentations concealing their involvement in an illegal kickback scheme with doctors were actionable and that seven of 10 alleged corrective disclosures had any causal connection to the alleged fraud, a federal judge in Arizona ruled Aug. 1 in granting in part and denying in part the defendants' motion to dismiss (Richard Di Donato, et al. v. Insys Therapeutics Inc., et al., No.16-0302, D. Ariz., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120983).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An English mining company on Aug. 3 released an update on annulment proceedings filed by it currently pending before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment disputes (ICSID), noting that it has passed a resolution to give effect to a required security pledge and that the stay of the award will remain in place (Churchill Mining PLC v. Republic of Indonesia, No. ARB/12/14 and ARB/12/40, ICSID).
SAN FRANCISCO - Although a defendant won dismissal of allegations that he violated the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 2, a plaintiff's request for a declaration of inequitable conduct before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) will proceed, a California federal judge ruled Aug. 2 (Ojmar US LLC v. Security People Inc., et al., No. 16-4948, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121825).
BOSTON - A First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 2 said an Employee Income Retirement Security Act case against a transportation company that is an alleged alter ego of a defunct transportation company that owes withdrawal liability can proceed, saying it is well established in First Circuit law that the alter-ego doctrine applies to ERISA claims (Edward F. Groden v. N&D Transportation Co., et al., No. 15-2553, 1st Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 14184).