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FRT’s Fast Five: Week Ending December 4, 2020

Financial Recovery Technologies Fast Five provides you with the top news in shareholder class actions. Stay up-to-date on the latest developments in settled (U.S./Canada) claims filing opportunities, Antitrust settlements, Global Group Litigation matters and more. For more information, contact your Financial Recovery Technologies representative or email us.

1. Vale Says Steinmetz on the Hook for $2.1B Award

Brazilian mining company Vale SA is asking a New York federal court to force Beny Steinmetz to respond to its efforts to track down assets to enforce a $2.17 billion arbitral award over a doomed Guinean mining project, arguing Tuesday that the Israeli billionaire can’t sit out the fight. Vale told the court that Steinmetz is obligated to respond to its attempts to track down assets to pay the award, which it won in 2019 after an international tribunal found that a company called BSG Resources Ltd. had made fraudulent misrepresentations when it convinced the Brazilian company to sign onto the joint venture. Since the award is against BSG Resources, Steinmetz has rebuffed Vale’s discovery requests, claiming the New York court lacks jurisdiction over him. But Vale argued Tuesday that it has “considerable evidence” that Steinmetz is the alter ego of BSG Resources — a company whose initials allegedly stand for Beny Steinmetz Group Resources. Click here to read the full article.

2. New Zealand: A Push for Class Actions and Litigation Funding

The New Zealand Law Commission, in a new issues paper released Friday, has come out in support of a statutory class actions regime – something New Zealand doesn’t have. It also recommended making litigation funding “expressly permitted”. This would allow third party companies to take on the costs of court action in return for a percentage share in any fines or compensation paid out. New Zealanders who believe they have suffered at the hands of big companies, organisations or government could find it much easier to join together to take class actions, if preliminary recommendations by the Law Commission are adopted. At the heart of the Law Commission’s view is that this is an issue about access to justice. “Our preliminary view is that Aotearoa New Zealand needs a statutory class actions regime” says commission president Amokura Kawharu.“Aotearoa New Zealand’s representative actions rule dates back to 1882 and we don’t think it’s sufficient for modern group litigation. Click here to read the full article.

3. France: Vivendi’s Shareholder Securities Fraud Lawsuit Delayed to Early 2021

The French trial for Vivendi’s shareholder securities fraud lawsuit is expected to kick off early next year. The commercial court of Paris had initially set a Dec. 8 trial date, but will soon announce a new date that could potentially fall in January, Variety has learned. Vivendi, the Paris-based parent company of Universal Music Group and Canal Plus Group, will be facing 71 international shareholders who assert claims of approximately $1.2 billion. The alleged fraud occurred in 2000 and 2001 when Vivendi was being led by CEO Jean-Marie Messier, the flamboyant businessman who nearly bankrupted the company after a series of debt-fuelled acquisitions, notably Canal Plus and the $46 billion takeover of Seagram, then the owner of Universal Music and Universal Studios. Click here to read the full article.

4. New York Appellate Division Decides First Securities Act Case Since Cyan

On December 3, 2020, the New York State Appellate Division for the First Judicial Department dismissed an action alleging claims under the Securities Act of 1933 in Lyu v. Ruhnn Holdings Limited. This dismissal is the first occasion on which the New York Appellate Division has considered the merits of Securities Act claims after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Cyan v. Beaver County Employees Retirement Fund in 2018. Ruhnn is the first New York Appellate court decision to weigh in on the substance of Securities Act claims since Cyan. Notably, the Ruhnn court addressed the merits of the Section 11 suit before it and determined that the alleged omission did not alter the totality of the information available to investors in a material way. While state courts are generally considered more favorable forums for plaintiffs seeking to bring Securities Act lawsuits, Ruhnn demonstrates that not all such claims will survive motions to dismiss. Click here to read the full article.

5. Class Actions in Italy: A Second Wave of Reform

Italy is pushing a comprehensive reform of its class action system, aimed at expanding and encouraging the use of class actions. In addition to numerous procedural differences, the first significant change is the broader scope of application. Under the new rules, anyone who has “individual homogeneous rights” is entitled to bring a class action. In practise this has opened the class action system up to all potentially aggrieved parties, not just consumers, provided that all the members in a class action have “homogenous” rights. Moreover, associations listed on an official database will also have the right to pursue collective redress and, again, cases need not necessarily concern consumer protection. This means that class actions may be used in other areas aside from consumer protection, such as in relation to climate change and other environmental issues, data protection and cyber breaches. It is also envisaged that pharma and financial services companies will highly likely see a sharp increase in class actions against them. Click here to read the full article.

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Founded in 2008, Financial Recovery Technologies (FRT) is the leading technology-based services firm that helps the investment community identify eligibility, file claims and collect funds made available in securities and other class action settlements. Offering the most comprehensive range of claim filing and monitoring services available, we provide best-in-class eligibility analysis, disbursement auditing and client reporting, and deliver the highest level of accuracy, accountability, and transparency available. For more information, go to www.frtservices.com.

This communication and the content found by following any link herein are being provided to you by Financial Recovery Technologies (FRT) for informational purposes only and do not constitute advice. All material presented herein is believed to be reliable but FRT makes no representation or warranty with respect to this communication or such content and expressly disclaims any implied warranty under law. Opinions expressed in this communication may change without prior notice. Firms should always seek legal and financial advice specific to their unique situation and objectives.

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