NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 26 held that a Texas federal judge erred in holding that a consolidated Employee Retirement Income Security Act action against BP PLC that was filed after the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill satisfies the pleading standard set by the U.S. Supreme Court in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer (134 S. Ct. 2459 ) because the complaint failed to propose an alternative course of action that a prudent fiduciary would recognize was more likely to help a retirement fund than harm it (Ralph Whitley, et al. v. BP PLC, et al., No. 15-20282, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17501).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 27 affirmed a lower federal court's finding that a directors and officers liability insurer has no duty to defend executives against an underlying lawsuit alleging that they misrepresented their company's financial status to secure $48.5 million in bank loans (Markel American Insurance Co. v. Huibert Verbeek, et al., No. 15-51099, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17563).
RICHMOND, Va - A federal judge in Virginia on Sept. 26 granted final approval of a $219 million securities class action settlement, ruling that the settlement and plan of allocation are fair, reasonable and accurate (In re Genworth Financial Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 14-682, E.D. Va.).
HOUSTON - An insured is not entitled to coverage under a one-year casualty insurance policy for losses as the result of a burglary because the insured failed to pay the premium by the required deadline, failed to disclose that he has filed similar claims under the terms of a previous policy and failed to properly maintain his business's security system, a federal judge in Texas ruled Sept. 22 (Perfit Vision, et al. v. Mount Vernon Fire Insurance Co., No. 15-408, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129865).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Sept. 21 issued a stay of a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel's decision that a pension plan operated by Dignity Health was not subject to the requirements of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and does not qualify for ERISA's church plan exemption because it was not established by a church or by a convention or association of churches (Dignity Health, et al. v. Starla Rollins, No. 16-258, U.S. Sup.).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Sept. 19 denied an investor's motion for relief from a previous dismissal order, ruling that the investor's newly discovered evidence was in fact available to the public months before the initial complaint in the action was filed (Steven P. Messner v. USA Technologies Inc., et al., No. 15-5427, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127041).
ATLANTA - An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Sept. 19 that a Georgia federal judge did not err in dismissing a former Delta Air Lines Inc. employee's Employee Retirement Income Security Act complaint for failure to state a claim (Barry Steven Slakman v. Administrative Committee of Delta Air Lines Inc., No. 16-10572, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17049).
SAN FRANCISCO - A divided Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 20 denied a petition for rehearing en banc in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act case, with the majority saying that a plan administrator's decision in a dispute over a since-deceased plaintiff's entitlement to benefits was not illogical, implausible or without support (Estate of Bruce H. Barton v. ADT Security Services Pension Plan, et al., No. 13-56379, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17146).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Sept. 16 granted preliminary approval of a $486 million settlement in a securities class action lawsuit between shareholders and certain of its executive officers, ruling that the settlement is fair, adequate and reasonable (In re Pfizer Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 04-9866, S.D. N.Y.).
BATON ROUGE, La. - A federal judge in Louisiana dismissed claims against Grant Thornton International Ltd. (GTIL) in a securities lawsuit on Sept. 15, ruling that shareholders failed to show that a federal district court had either general or specific jurisdiction over the claims (Firefighters' Retirement System, et al. v. Citco Group Limited, et al., No. 13-373, M.D. La.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125991).
TRENTON, N.J. - Defendants in a securities class action lawsuit in New Jersey federal court separately moved to dismiss the claims against them on Sept. 13, arguing that shareholders failed to plead any actionable misrepresentation, scienter or loss causation in making their federal securities law claims (In re Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 15-7658, D. N.J.).
MINNEAPOLIS - A federal magistrate judge in Minnesota on Sept. 15 consolidated a pair of securities class action lawsuits against Target Corp. and certain of its executive officers and appointed the law firm of Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd as lead counsel (In re Target Corp. Securities Litigation, No. 16-1315, D. Minn.).
BOSTON - A First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 13 affirmed that an Employee Retirement Income Security Act plan participant's beneficiaries were not entitled to a guaranteed single-life annuity because he died before the beginning of the annuity payments (Brian O'Shea, et al. v. UPS Retirement Plan, et al., No. 15-1923, 1st Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16734).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York erred in determining that defendants in a securities class action lawsuit failed to timely file any opposition to a motion for class certification because the civil case management plan and scheduling order entered by the judge set an Oct. 11 deadline for the opposition to be filed, defendants argue in a letter filed Sept. 14 (Arthur Menaldi v. Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC, et al., No. 14-3251, S.D. N.Y.).
DETROIT - A federal judge in Michigan on Sept. 14 granted a shareholder's motion for appointment of lead plaintiff and lead counsel in a securities class action lawsuit, ruling that the shareholder has met all statutory requirements to serve in those roles (Livonia Employees' Retirement System v. Talmer Bancorp Inc., et al., No. 16-12229, E.D. Mich.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124417).
PHILADELPHIA - Without providing any detail, a federal judge in Pennsylvania on Sept. 9 denied a shareholder's motion to reconsider an earlier ruling dismissing a securities class action complaint for failure to plead an actionable misrepresentation or scienter (Mark Silverstein v. Globus Medical Inc., et al., No. 15-5386, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113740).