Lance Oliver discusses $809 million settlement for Twitter shareholders in AmLaw’s “Litigators of the Week” column
AmLaw Litigation Daily featured Motley Rice securities fraud attorney Lance Oliver in its Litigators of the Week column Sept. 24, 2021 following the announcement of a proposed $809 million settlement that, if approved, will be the largest securities fraud settlement in U.S. history against a social media company.
The column, titled “Motley Rice and Robbins Geller Land an $809M Securities Settlement From Twitter,” also features Dan Drosman and Tor Gronborg of Robbins Geller as Co-Class Counsel. Motley Rice was appointed Lead Counsel in the case in December 2016. Since that time, the firm’s team of securities fraud attorneys, which, in addition to Oliver, included, William Narwold, Gregg Levin, Meghan Oliver, and Max Gruetzmacher, has litigated the case for a class of Twitter shareholders who purchased or otherwise acquired shares of its publicly traded common stock between Feb. 6, 2015 and July 28, 2015 (the Class Period). KBC Asset Management NV and National Elevator Industry Pension Fund are the named representatives for the class. Plaintiffs allege Twitter and its executives misrepresented its daily user growth in 2015 to inflate its stock price.
“Throughout the litigation our claims and allegations remained very consistent,” Oliver told AmLaw Litigation Daily. “We alleged on behalf of the class that between February 2015 and July 2015, these defendants and Twitter knew that the company had a problem of flagging user growth and engagement that was most embodied by a specific metric, ‘daily active users.’ Because we claimed they knew this metric showed a negative trend and did not disclose it, and that when they ultimately did in July of 2015, a lot of investors lost a lot of money. That’s the case we were preparing to bring to the jury in Oakland.”
Plaintiffs reached the proposed $809 million settlement days ahead of a trial that was scheduled to begin Sept. 20, 2021 in the Northern District of California. U.S. District Court Judge Jon S. Tigar oversees the litigation and will decide whether to approve the settlement. If approved, the settlement will be counted among the top 20 securities class action settlements in U.S. history.
When asked to characterize how close the litigation came to trial, Oliver said, “in the world of high-stakes trials, the proverbial ‘courthouse steps’ are a very common location for reaching a settlement. So it’s very hard to say just ‘how close’ the parties were to trying the case, particularly without delving into confidential material. With that said, I feel comfortable saying it was as close I personally have gotten in one of these cases. My work for the first week of trial was done and prepared. That’s how serious we were.”
Asked what he will remember most about litigating the case, Oliver said, “Securities fraud cases just do not get this close to trial this often. So it was really memorable to work with such a great team at Robbins Geller; a firm – with deep securities fraud experience – that is not afraid to try these large cases. In this industry, that’s unique and refreshing.”
Read the full column, “Motley Rice and Robbins Geller Land an $809M Securities Settlement From Twitter.”