News - 2016
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Saxena White in Appointed Sole Lead Counsel in Brixmor Property Group Inc.
On November 29, 2016, one day after the November 28, 2016 oral argument regarding the cross-motions for the appointment of Lead Plaintiff, the Honorable Sarah Netburn entered an Order appointing Westchester Putnam Counties Heavy & Highway Laborers Local 60 Benefit Funds, Teamsters Local 456 Annuity Fund, and the City of Birmingham Retirement and Relief System (collectively, the “Institutional Investors”) as Lead Plaintiffs and appointing Saxena White as Lead Counsel of the action.
In the Order, Magistrate Judge Netburn noted that the Institutional Investors have demonstrated that they will adequately protect the interests of class members. In addition, Magistrate Judge Netburn noted Saxena White’s experience in approving the Institutional Investors’ selection of Saxena White as Lead Counsel.
Saxena White Files a Securities Fraud Action Against Adeptus Health Inc.
Saxena White P.A. has filed a securities fraud class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas against Adeptus Health Inc. ("Adeptus Health" or the "Company") (NYSE: ADPT) and certain of the Company's executive officers and/or directors and underwriters. This class action is filed on behalf of investors who purchased or otherwise acquired the Class A common shares of the Company during the period between June 25, 2014 and November 1, 2016, inclusive (the "Class Period). The complaint brings forth claims for violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
In addition, the class action complaint is also filed on behalf of investors who purchased Adeptus Health's common stock pursuant or traceable to the Company's initial public offering of its common stock (the "IPO") on or about June 25, 2014 and the Company's secondary public offerings on or about May 5, 2015, July 29, 2015, and June 2, 2016 (together with the IPO, the "Offerings"). The complaint brings forth claims for violations of the Securities Act of 1933.
Adeptus Health is one of the largest operators of independent freestanding emergency rooms in the United States and has a large network of partnerships with certain healthcare systems. The Complaint alleges that, throughout the Class Period, Defendants made false and/or misleading statements, as well as failed to disclose material adverse facts about the Company's business, operations, and prospects. Specifically, Defendants made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose to investors that: (i) Adeptus Health was engaged in the widespread overbilling of patients, including low-acuity patients; (ii) Adeptus Health's billing practices were causing decreases in patient volume and would subject it to decreased revenues; (iii) the Company's billing practices exposed it to major financial, reputational, legal and regulatory risks; (iv) the Company's financial statements were not compliant with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles ("GAAP"); and (v) as a result, the Company's statements were false and misleading at all relevant times.
Saxena White Files a Shareholder Derivative Suit on Behalf of Wells Fargo & Company
On October 12, 2016, Saxena White filed a shareholder derivative action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of Wells Fargo & Company (“Wells Fargo” or the “Company”) (NYSE:WFC). The complaint charges the directors and officers of Wells Fargo with violations of Section 14(a) of the Exchange Act, breach of fiduciary duty, and unjust enrichment. The complaint alleges that since 2011, the board of directors (“Board”) and executive management of Wells Fargo have perpetuated a business model of aggressively cross-selling additional products to existing customers. Setting unreasonably high sales quotas and threatening employees with termination if they failed to meet these quotas, Wells Fargo management effectively forced its bankers into opening over two million unauthorized accounts to keep their sales numbers competitive, resulting in serious and systematic violations of federal and state laws. As alleged in the Complaint, the Board knew about the significant weaknesses in the Company's internal controls that should have flagged the misconduct at the Bank's branch level, but consciously and knowingly allowed this systemic problem to continue so that the Bank's cross-selling statistics—a key metric and the primary reason for the meteoric rise of Wells Fargo stock—remained strong. As of the filing of the complaint, the Board’s failure to take action has resulted in fines of $185 million, a 9% drop in the Bank's stock, and untold reputational damage. Further government investigations and other legal action beckon.
The extent of the misconduct of Wells Fargo's management was revealed on September 8, 2016, when two federal agencies and the Los Angeles City Attorney announced the findings of their investigations and assessed penalties against the Bank totaling $185 million. Specifically, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued a consent order for the assessment of a civil penalty in the amount of $35 million and a cease and desist order, for, among other things, unsafe or unsound practices in the Bank's risk management and oversight of the Bank's sales practices. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a consent order requiring Wells Fargo to pay a $100 million penalty—the highest penalty ever assessed by the regulator—and to take other remedial action. And, the City and County of Los Angeles settled their lawsuit against Wells Fargo on behalf of California, imposing a $50 million penalty—the largest in the Los Angeles City Attorney Office’s history. The reaction of Wells Fargo management was to announce that over the past few years, 5,300 employees had been fired for this misconduct.
Saxena White Wins Motion to Dismiss Against Home Loan Servicing Solutions, Ltd.
On June 6, 2016, the Court issued an Order denying Defendants’ motions to dismiss in part, in the action captioned In re Home Loan Servicing Solutions, Ltd. Securities Litigation, Case No. 0:16-cv-60165-WPD (S.D. Fla.). Saxena White is serving as Lead Counsel on behalf of three institutional investors in the action. The Court found that HLSS’s statements concerning related party transactions involving Defendant Erbey and several other companies that he controlled were false and misleading when made. Judge William P. Dimitrouleas stated in his Order that “Plaintiffs have alleged that Erbey was not only simultaneously the Chairman of HLSS and Ocwen, but that he was at the epicenter of all the Ocwen-Related Companies, that he was forced to resign, that regulatory documents indicate that he engaged in improper transactions with Altisource, that he had significant holdings in several Ocwen-companies, and that the magnitude and duration of the wrongdoing described in the Amended Complaint was substantial.” Accordingly, the Court concluded that “Plaintiffs have adequately alleged scienter for the Related Party Statements, and consequently HLSS.” The action has now progressed into the discovery phase of litigation.
Saxena White Wins Motion to Dismiss Against Rayonier, Inc.
On May 20, 2016, the Honorable Timothy J. Corrigan of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida denied Defendants’ motions to dismiss in the action captioned In re Rayonier Inc. Securities Litigation, Case No. 14-cv-1395 (M.D. Fla.). Saxena White is serving as Co-Lead Counsel on behalf of two institutional investors in the action. In His Honor’s Order, Judge Corrigan stated that “[e]ven taking into account the heightened pleading standards under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act and Eleventh Circuit precedent, the Court finds that Lead Plaintiffs have met those pleading standards and will therefore deny Defendants’ motion to dismiss.” The action has now progressed into the discovery phase of litigation.
Saxena White P.A. Files a Securities Fraud Action Against Brixmor Property Group, Inc.
Saxena White P.A. has filed a securities fraud class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against Brixmor Property Group, Inc. (“Brixmor” or the “Company”) (NYSE: BRX) on behalf of investors who purchased or otherwise acquired the common stock of the Company during the period between October 27, 2014 and February 5, 2016, inclusive (the "Class Period").
Brixmor is a publicly-traded real estate investment trust (“REIT”) that operates a wholly-owned portfolio of grocery-anchored shopping centers, with 518 properties from California to Maine. The Company is incorporated in Maryland and maintains its principal executive offices in New York, NY.
The Complaint brings forth claims for violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The Complaint alleges that, throughout the Class Period, Defendants made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that: (1) the Company and its senior executives purposefully misrepresented Brixmor’s financial results by manipulating income items for nine quarters in order to achieve consistent quarterly same property NOI growth; (2) the Company lacked adequate internal and financial controls; and (3) that, as a result of the foregoing, Defendants’ statements about Brixmor’s business, operations, and prospects were false and misleading and/or lacked a reasonable basis.
Saxena White P.A. is Appointed Co-Lead in Iconix Brand Group, Inc.
On March 14, 2016, the Honorable Paul G. Gardephe entered an Order (i) appointing the Cirty of Atlanta Police Officers’ Pension Fund and the City of Atlanta Firefighters’ Pension Fund as Lead Plaintiffs; (ii) appointing Saxena White as Co-Lead Counsel of the action; and (iii) consolidated the related actions into one action. In the Order, Judge Gardephe noted that Atlanta Police and Firefighters have demonstrated that they will fairly and adequately protect the interests of class members. In addition, Judge Gardephe noted Saxena White’s experience in representing institutional investors in securities fraud cases and obtaining significant relief for their clients, finding that Saxena White is qualified to serve as Co-Lead Counsel in the action.
Saxena White P.A. is Appointed Co-Lead in Golf Clubs Away LLC vs. Hostway Corporation, Hostway Services, Inc. and Valueweb
On July 7, 2015, Circuit Court Judge William Haury of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit in and for Broward County, Florida entered a significant order in the action entitled Golf Clubs Away LLC v. Hostway Corporation, et al., Case No. 09-29596-13 (the “Hostway case”). The Court’s Order Granting Class Certification, granted the plaintiff’s motion for class certification on its claims for violations of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (“FDUTPA”), breach of good faith and fair dealing, and unjust enrichment.
The Hostway case involves allegations that the defendant, a company providing email services, failed to notify customers that its servers had been compromised due to hacking and spamming activity. As a result, major Internet Service Providers like Yahoo and AOL blacklisted Hostway customers’ email addresses associated with the compromised servers. The blacklisting meant that Hostway customers’ email transmissions were blocked, obstructing the personal and business communications of these customers.
The Court’s Order allows this action to proceed on a classwide basis and made the following findings of fact (among others): that members of the class experienced interruptions in their ability to send and receive emails because of the blacklisting of defendants’ servers; that the defendants did not notify the class that their emails had been blocked; and that plaintiff and the class paid for uninterrupted email service but did not receive it.
The Court certified the following class:
All customers who directly or indirectly subscribed to defendants’ e-mail services, including email services provided by defendants’ predecessors, affiliates, subsidiaries and/or parents, and whose email accounts utilized Hostway’s shared servers located in Florida that were “blacklisted” at any time from November 1, 2008, through and including March 31, 2009.
The Court also appointed the law firms of Saxena White, P.A. and Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP as Co-Lead Counsel in the action.
A copy of the release with additional details related to the case can be found here. A copy of the Notice of Pendency of Class Action and Exclusion Request form can be found here. A copy of the Order Granting Class Certification can be found here.