The Supreme Court’s June 22 decision in Liu v. Securities and Exchange Commission addressed important issues about the SEC’s authority to obtain “disgorgement” and the meaning of the term.  This article summarizes the Court’s ruling in Liu, including the Court’s characterization of the term disgorgement and limitations on the SEC’s ability to obtain the remedy.  It then identifies practical implications of the decision in the context of SEC enforcement, as well as potential insurance coverage implications of the decision.

Continue Reading Liu v. SEC: What Is “Disgorgement”?

In a case in which Wiley Rein represented the insurer, a federal district court in Maine has held that an insurer had no duty to defend an enforcement action brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under a lawyers’ professional liability policy because none of the relief sought constituted “damages” as defined in the policy.  Marcus v. Allied World Ins. Co., No. 2:18-cv-253-DBH, 2019 WL 1810954, (D. Me. Apr. 23, 2019).  The court held that when sought by the SEC, disgorgement is properly characterized for insurance purposes as a penalty.  The court also held, however, that the policy’s investment advice exclusion did not apply to negate the insurer’s duty to defend a related securities fraud class action, but it rejected the insured’s argument that because the actions were “related claims,” the insurer’s duty to defend the securities lawsuit also obligated it to defend the SEC enforcement action.

Continue Reading Maine District Court Holds Insurer Has No Duty to Defend SEC Enforcement Action Because Disgorgement Constitutes a Penalty