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CALIFORNIA CORPORATE & SECURITIES LAW

How To Confer A $6.9 Million Benefit For Less Than A Half Dollar

In March 2011, the three-member compensation committee of EchoStar Corporation awarded options to purchase 1.5 million shares of company stock to its Chairman, Charles W. Ergen.  According to EchoStar’s proxy statement for its 2012 annual meeting, the aggregate grant date fair value of the award was $21.6 million.  There was just one problem, the plan…

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Did The Co-Founder Of Alcoholics Anonymous Violate Rule 10b-5?

Recently, I enjoyed watching My Name is Bill W., a 1989 movie that starred James Woods, JoBeth Williams and James Garner.  The film tells the story of Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder William Griffith Wilson (aka Bill W.).  In telling his story, the film details Wilson’s  work on Wall Street during the 1920s.  According to the film, Wilson decides…

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Scienter Requirement May Be A Question Of Timing

On several occasions, I have written about whether scienter is required under Corporations Code Section 25401.  That question surfaced again last week in Judge Gonzolo P. Curiel’s ruling on the defendants’ motion to dismiss federal and state securities law claims in Mueller v. San Diego Entm’t Partners, LLC, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77643 (S.D. Cal.…

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District Court Rules Plaintiff Failed To Plead Real Estate Investment Was A “Security”

Both the Securities Act of 1933 and the California Corporate Securities Law of 1968 provide similar, but not the same, definitions of a “security”.  See Making A List Of Securities And Checking It Twice.  Although these lists are expansive, courts continue to explain why some items on the lists are not securities and why some…

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Court Rules Indirect Purchaser Claims Against Theranos May Proceed

Theranos’ anni horrorum began in October 2015 with the publication of a story by investigative reporter John Carreyrou at The Wall Street Journal.  Lawsuits and government investigations ensued.  Although the Theranos recently announced agreements with the Arizona Attorney General and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Nathanael M. Cousins last week dealt a setback to the…

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Did Joseph P. Kennedy Make Insider Trading Illegal?

The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy. (Penguin Press, 2012) by Professor David Nasaw is one of several books that I am currently reading.  As a securities lawyer, the following sentence gave me pause: “Trading on insider information was not illegal – and would not become illegal until [Joseph P.] Kennedy, as…

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Silver Hills Doesn’t Mute Howey

Anyone who has studied securities regulation since 1946 should be familiar with the U.S. Supreme Court’s definition of a “security” as enunciated by Justice Frank Murphy in S.E.C. v. Howey Co., 328 U.S. 293 (1946).  That test asks “whether the scheme involves an investment of money in a common enterprise with profits to come solely from the…

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What Do You Know? Bill Proposes To Eliminate Scienter

Corporations Code Section 25401 is California’s basic securities antifraud statute: It is unlawful for any person to offer or sell a security in this state, or to buy or offer to buy a security in this state, by means of any written or oral communication that includes an untrue statement of a material fact or…

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Why The SEC Isn’t Vegas

Last week, I wrote that the Securities and Exchange Commission is sending letters to registrants requesting information about compliance with Regulation G and Item 10(e) of Regulation S-K.  These letters request issuers to voluntarily provide information concerning their disclosures of non-GAAP financial measures.  I cautioned that registrants should read the accompanying SEC Form 1662 carefully before…

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Ninth Circuit Holds Attorney’s Statement Was “Made”, Not Attributed

Readers familiar with the Nicene Creed will instantly recognize the phrase “begotten, not made”.  I won’t wade into the theological meaning of this phrase, but I cite it as an example of the importance that can be attached to the seemingly simple concept of making.  Under Rule 10b-5, it is unlawful for “any person, directly or indirectly, .…

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