PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge did not err in dismissing a securities class action lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies and certain of their officers and directors for alleged violations of federal securities law because shareholders failed to properly plead scienter, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 10 (In re Columbia Laboratories Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 13-4777, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 3715).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Lead plaintiffs and defendants in a securities class action lawsuit have agreed to a settlement of $146.25 million on claims that the defendants misrepresented the post-merger role of a CEO in violation of federal securities laws, according to a stipulation of settlement filed March 10 in North Carolina federal court (Maurine Nieman, et al. v. Duke Energy Corp., et al., No. 12-0456, W.D. N.C.).
BALTIMORE - Wikimedia Foundation and a group of eight other nonprofit and human rights organizations filed a lawsuit against the National Security Agency and other U.S. government entities in Maryland federal court on March 10, alleging constitutional violations in the government's en masse seizure of Americans' Internet communications (Wikimedia Foundation, et al. v. National Security Agency, et al., No. 1:15-cv-00662, D. Md.).
MINNEAPOLIS - A federal judge in Minnesota substantially denied motions to dismiss filed by defendants in a securities class action lawsuit, ruling that lead plaintiffs have shown that the defendants issued material misrepresentations and acted with the requisite scienter (Beaver County Employees' Retirement Fund, et al. v. Tile Shop Holdings Inc., et al., No. 14-786, D. Minn.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26227).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on March 9 invited the solicitor general to file a brief regarding whether the court should review the proper causation standard in a 401(k) breach of fiduciary case under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (RJR Pension Investment Committee, et al. v. Richard G. Tatum, No. 14-656, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - Dismissal of a securities class action lawsuit against a biopharmaceutical company and certain of its executive officers is not proper, a federal judge in New York ruled March 4, because a shareholder has shown that the defendants acted with scienter in violating provisions of federal securities law (In re Intercept Pharmaceuticals Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 14-1123, S.D. N.Y.).
CINCINNATI - A divided en banc Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 5 ruled that a disability plan participant who was awarded benefits under Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 502(a)(1)(b) was not also entitled to an equitable award of $3.79 million in disgorged profits under Section 502(a)(3) (Todd R. Rochow, et al. v. Life Insurance Company of North America, No. 12-2074, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 3532).
HOUSTON - A federal judge on March 4 granted participants in BP's retirement plans leave to amend their prudence and monitoring claims but not their disclosure claims related to allegations that the plans' investment in company stock violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and, in a separate order, certified a question regarding the factual allegations necessary to meet the pleading standard articulated by the U.S. Supreme Court in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer (134 S.Ct. 2459 ) (In re: BP p.l.c. Securities Litigation, In re: BP p.l.c. ERISA Litigation, MDL No. 10-md-2185, No. 4:10-cv-4214, S.D. Tex.; 2015-U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27138).
DALLAS - The Employee Retirement Income Security Act does not preempt the Texas Prompt Payment Act's (TPPA) mandatory payment deadlines, insofar as the deadlines apply to third-party administrators of self-funded health insurance plans, a federal judge in Texas ruled March 4 (Aetna Life Insurance Company v. Methodist Hospitals of Dallas, No. 3:14-cv-347-M, N.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26455).
NEWARK, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on March 3 denied an investor's motion for reconsideration of her order appointing an investor group as lead plaintiff in a securities class action lawsuit, ruling that the investor group properly rebutted the presumption in favor of the investor (In re Enzymotec Ltd. Securities Litigation, No. 14-5556, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25720).
AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas water authority cannot use the state's Expedite Declaratory Judgment Act to clear the way for a water project, a panel of the Third District Texas Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 26 (Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority v. Texas Attorney General, et al., No. 03-14-00393-CV, Texas App., 3rd Dist.; 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 1795).
CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on Feb. 26 denied a man's motion to dismiss his insurance company's lawsuit accusing him of violating the Illinois Insurance Fraud Statute and stayed the case for the company to assert a portion of its allegations as a counterclaim to a separate suit brought by the defendant accusing the company of violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Concert Health Plan Insurance Company v. James E. Killian, No. 14 C 4697, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23195).
SAN FRANCISCO - An insolvent Oklahoma insurer on Feb. 19 asked the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to lift the stay of an appeal in a case against it, noting that the liquidating Oklahoma court had approved of lifting the stay (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, as Receiver for Security Pacific Bank v. BancInsure, Inc., No. 14-56132, 9th Cir.).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Feb. 19 granted preliminary approval to a $235 million securities class action settlement between shareholders and underwriters of Residential Accredit Loans Inc. (RALI) Mortgage Asset-Backed Pass-Through Certificates, who are alleged to have misrepresented RALI's exposure to the subprime mortgage lending crisis in offering documents for RALI securities in offering documents for the certificates (New Jersey Carpenters Health Fund, et al. v. Residential Capital LLC, et al., No. 08-8781, S.D. N.Y.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 23 declined to grant certiorari, which left standing an agreement reached in In re Managed Care Litigation that bars several physicians and physician groups from bringing claims against WellPoint Inc. in In re WellPoint, Inc. Out-of-Network "UCR" Rates Litigation under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and the Sherman Act but not from bringing certain claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Medical Association of Georgia, et al. v. Wellpoint Inc., No. 14-554, U.S. Sup.).