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Joshua E. D'Ancona

Partner

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F   610.667.7056

Joshua E. D'Ancona, a partner of the Firm, concentrates his practice in the area of securities litigation, representing plaintiffs in securities fraud class actions, direct actions and complex commercial litigation. Prior to joining the Firm, Josh served as a law clerk to the Honorable Cynthia M. Rufe of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Examples of cases Josh has litigated include: Baker v. SeaWorld (S.D. Cal.) (settled, $65,000,000); In re Allergan, Inc. Proxy Violation Securities Litigation (C.D. Cal) (settled, $250,000,000); In re Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. Securities Litigation (D. Vt.) (settled, $36,000,000); In re Bank of America Securities Litigation (S.D.N.Y.) (settled, $2.4 billion); Transatlantic Holdings v. AIG (American Arbitration Association) (settled, $75,000,000); In re Satyam Securities Litigation (S.D.N.Y.) (settled, $150,000,000); Forsta-A.P. Fonden v. St. Jude Medical, Inc. (D. Minn.) (settled, $39,250,000); In re Target Corp. Customer Data Security Breach Litigation (D. Minn.) (on behalf of issuer banks) (settled).

Community Involvement

Josh serves with A Better Chance in Delaware County, PA. He also serves on the board of his local youth baseball and softball league.

Awards/Rankings

  • Pennsylvania “Super Lawyers” Rising Star in the area of Securities Litigation in 2013, 2014 and 2015
Experience

Ongoing Cases

  • CASE CAPTION In re Acuity Brands, Inc. Securities Litigation
    COURT United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
    CASE NUMBER 1:18-cv-02140-MHC
    JUDGE Honorable Mark H. Cohen
    PLAINTIFF Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi
    DEFENDANTS Acuity Brands, Inc., Vernon J. Nagel, Richard K. Reece, & Mark A. Black
    CLASS PERIOD October 7, 2017 to April 3, 2017, inclusive

    This securities fraud class action arises from Acuity’s false and misleading statements regarding its ability to sustain the growth rate it experienced from 2010 to 2015.

    From 2010 to 2015, Acuity experienced a rapid growth rate fueled by the recovery in non-residential construction following the 2008 financial crisis and a wide transition to LED lighting. Acuity’s relationship with The Home Depot created a strong foundation for its extraordinary sales growth, as the Company experienced nine consecutive quarters of record growth. However, by the middle of 2015, competitive pressures in the lighting industry, including increased competition from overseas suppliers, lower LED prices, and a failure to break into the smart lighting solutions market, as well as a dramatic decline in sales to The Home Depot, slowed the Company’s growth considerably. Acuity’s investors were kept in the dark about all of these fundamental developments while the Defendants materially misrepresented Acuity’s ability to maintain the growth rate that it experienced in the previous five years.

    Acuity’s declining growth rate was revealed to the public gradually when the Company reported three consecutive quarters of below-expectation results. Acuity’s stock prices deteriorated, causing massive losses to shareholders.

    Plaintiff filed a Consolidated Amended Class Action Complaint on behalf of a putative class of investors, alleging that Acuity, Vernon Nagel, and Richard Reece violated Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act by making materially false and misleading statements regarding the growth rate of Acuity; and that Nagel, Reece, and Mark Black as controlling persons of Acuity violated Section 20(a) of the Exchange Act. On August 12, 2019, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia granted in part and denied in part Defendants’ motion to dismiss.

    On August 25, 2020, Plaintiff’s motion for class certification was granted, certifying the following class: “All persons who invested in the publicly traded common stock of Acuity Brands, Inc. between October 7, 2015, through April 3, 2017 (the ‘Class Period’) and were damaged thereby.” The Court appointed Plaintiff, the Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi, as Class Representative; and Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check and Labaton Sucharow as Class Counsel.  Defendants have taken an immediate appeal of the class certification order, which is currently pending before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. 

  • CASE CAPTION      Industriens Pensionsforsikring A/S v. Becton, Dickinson and Company, et al.
    COURT United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
    CASE NUMBER 2:20-cv-02155-SRC-CLW
    JUDGE Honorable Stanley R. Chesler and Honorable Cathy L. Waldor
    PLAINTIFF Industriens Pensionsforsikring A/S (“Industriens”)
    DEFENDANTS Becton, Dickinson and Company, Vincent A. Forlenza, Thomas E. Polen, and Christopher R. Reidy
    CLASS PERIOD November 5, 2019 through February 5, 2020, inclusive

    This securities fraud class action arises out of Becton’s alleged misrepresentations concerning its ability to market one of its key products—the Alaris infusion pump system (“Alaris”)—in 2020.

    For years, Alaris has been an important revenue driver for Becton, accounting for hundreds of millions of dollars in annual sales, and the cornerstone product of its main Becton Medical segment. Beginning in November 2019, Defendants stopped shipping Alaris, explaining to investors that the pause related to mere software “upgrades,” would quickly resolve, and would simply push Alaris sales into the final three quarters of Becton’s fiscal 2020, allowing for strong Company-wide 2020 earnings growth. In reality, however, the problems with Alaris were much more severe than Defendants let on, as the product had been beset with undisclosed defects, safety and compliance issues, and unremediated regulatory failures for months, and in some cases, years, prior to late 2019. When Defendants revealed the full sweep of these issues in February 2020, and the fact that Alaris would be pulled from the market for an indefinite number of months—causing earnings guidance for 2020 to be slashed—Becton’s stock price dropped over $33.00 in a single day of trading.

    Industriens filed an amended complaint in February 2021 on behalf of a putative class of investors alleging that Becton and former executive Forlenza, as well as current executives Polen and Reidy, violated Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act by making false and misleading statements about Alaris and the issues the product faced. As alleged, Defendants downplayed and outright misrepresented the severe safety and regulatory problems Becton knew troubled the Alaris product line, and assured investors that Becton was on track to meet its earnings guidance for 2020, anchored by Alaris revenues, through a series of false or misleading statements. Meanwhile, Forlenza and Polen enriched themselves by together selling over $58 million worth of their personally-held shares of Becton stock between November 2019 and February 2020. The February 2020 revelation of the truth about the Alaris issues led directly to the sharp decline in Becton’s stock price noted above, causing significant losses and injury to the Company’s investors.

    On September 15, 2021, the Court granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss, but granted Plaintiff leave to amend the amended complaint.  On October 29 2021, Plaintiff filed a second amended complaint.

  •   CASE CAPTION                       Delaware County Employees Retirement System, et al. v. Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation, et al.
      COURT  United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
      CASE NUMBER 21-cv-02045
      JUDGE Honorable Lee H. Rosenthal
      PLAINTIFF Delaware County Employees Retirement System; Iron Workers District Council (Philadelphia & Vicinity) Retirement and Pension Plan
      DEFENDANTS Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation (“Cabot” or the “Company”), Dan O. Dinges, Scott C. Schroeder, and Phil L. Stalnaker
      CLASS PERIOD October 23, 2015 through June 12, 2020, inclusive

    This securities fraud class action case arises out of Defendants’ representations and omissions regarding Cabot’s legal compliance, polluting activities and risk.  During the Class Period, Cabot touted its compliance with applicable environmental laws and being a good steward of the environment. Unbeknownst to investors, Cabot’s environmental infractions were so extreme that after a lengthy grand jury investigation Pennsylvania charged Cabot with fifteen crimes, including nine felonies.

    Plaintiffs filed a 102-page complaint in April 2021 on behalf of a putative class of investors alleging that Cabot and its CEO Dan O. Dinges, CFO Scott C. Schroeder, and Senior Vice President Phil L. Stalnaker, violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act by making false and misleading statements and concealing material facts about the Company’s ongoing violations of environmental laws and polluting of Pennsylvania’s waters. As alleged, following revelations about Cabot’s legal compliance and subsequent criminal charges, Cabot’s stock price fell precipitously, causing significant losses and damages to the Company’s investors.

    Defendants filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ class complaint, which is currently pending before the Honorable Lee H. Rosenthal.

  • CASE CAPTION In re Celgene Corporation Securities Litigation
    COURT United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
    CASE NUMBER 2:18-cv-04772-JMV-JBC
    JUDGE Honorable John Michael Vazquez and Honorable James B. Clark, III
    PLAINTIFF AMF Pensionsförsäkring AB (“AMF”)
    DEFENDANTS Celgene Corporation (“Celgene”), Scott A. Smith, Terrie Curran, and Philippe Martin
    CLASS PERIOD April 27, 2017 through April 27, 2018, inclusive

    This securities fraud case involves Celgene’s misrepresentations and omissions about two billion dollar drugs, Otezla and Ozanimod, that Celgene touted as products that would make up for the anticipated revenue drop following the patent expiration of Celgene’s most profitable drug, Revlimid.

    Celgene launched Otezla, a drug treating psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, in 2014. Celgene primed the market that Otezla sales were poised to sky-rocket, representing that Otezla net product sales would reach $1.5 billion to $2 billion by 2017. Throughout 2015 and 2016, Defendants represented that Celgene was on-track to meet the 2017 sales projection. As early as mid-2016, however, Defendants received explicit internal warnings that the 2017 projection was unattainable, but continued to reaffirm the 2017 target to investors. By October 2017, however, Celgene announced that the Company had slashed the 2017 guidance by more than $250 million and lowered the 2020 Inflammatory & Immunology (“I&I”) guidance by over $1 billion. Celgene’s stock price plummeted on the news.

    Ozanimod, a drug treating multiple sclerosis, is another product in Celgene’s I&I pipeline, and was initially developed by a different company, Receptos. In July 2015, Celgene purchased Receptos for $7.2 billion and projected annual Ozanimod sales of up to $6 billion despite the fact that Ozanimod was not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”).

    Celgene told investors that it would file a New Drug Application (“NDA”) for Ozanimod with the FDA in 2017. Unbeknownst to investors, however, Celgene discovered a metabolite named CC112273 (the “Metabolite”) through Phase I testing that Celgene started in October 2016, which triggered the need for extensive testing that was required before the FDA would approve the drug. Despite the need for this additional Metabolite testing that would extend beyond 2017, Defendants continued to represent that Celgene was on track to submit the NDA before the end of 2017 and concealed all information about the Metabolite.  In December 2017, without obtaining the required Metabolite study results, Celgene submitted the Ozanimod NDA to the FDA. Two months later, the FDA rejected the NDA by issuing a rare “refuse to file,” indicating that the FDA “identifie[d] clear and obvious deficiencies” in the NDA.  When the relevant truth was revealed concerning Ozanimod, Celgene’s stock price fell precipitously, damaging investors.   

    On February 27, 2019, AMF filed a 207-page Second Amended Consolidated Class Action Complaint against Celgene and its executives under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act. On December 19, 2019, U.S. District Judge John Michael Vasquez issued a 49-page opinion sustaining AMF’s claims as to (1) Celgene’s and Curran’s misstatements regarding Otezla being on track to meet Celgene’s 2017 sales projections, and (2) Celgene’s, Martin’s, and Smith’s misstatements about the state of Ozanimod’s testing and prospects for regulatory approval.

    On November 29, 2020, Judge Vasquez certified a class of “All persons and entities who purchased the common stock of Celgene Corp. between April 27, 2017 through and April 27, 2018, and were damaged thereby” and appointed Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check as Class Counsel. Discovery is ongoing.

  •   CASE CAPTION          In re Ideanomics, Inc. Securities Litigation
      COURT United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
      CASE NUMBER 1:20-cv-04944-GBD
      JUDGE The Honorable George B. Daniels
      PLAINTIFF Rene Aghajanian
      DEFENDANTS Ideanomics, Inc. (Ideanomics or “the Company”), Alfred Poor, Bruno Wu, Connor McCarthy, and Anthony Sklar (“Individual Defendants”
      CLASS PERIOD March 20, 2020 – June 25, 2020

    This securities fraud class action arises out of Defendants’ misrepresentations and omissions concerning the existence and operations of Ideanomics’ flagship electric vehicle (EV) sales hub, dubbed the “Mobile Energy Global (MEG) Center.” During the class period, Defendants issued a deluge of press releases, and made numerous statements on interviews and earnings calls promoting the MEG Center as a one million square foot facility focused on the sale and conversion of EV fleet vehicles.  Defendants also made statements touting the volume of sales attributable to the MEG Center and the associated MEG business unit, claiming that it would account for the majority of Ideanomics’ revenues in 2020.  Concurrent with their promotion of the MEG Center, Defendants entered into numerous equity financing arrangements with a third party to retire existing, underwater, equity debt financing extended by insiders to Ideanomics, including by affiliated companies to Defendant Wu.  These financiers received Ideanomics stock at discounted rates in exchange for loans to the Company.  As Ideonomic’s stock price popped, those shares were traded into the market. 

    On June 26, 2020, in response to a report issued by market analysts the previous day refuting Ideanomics’ claims concerning the existence of the MEG Center and Ideanomic’s presence at the site, Ideanomics admitted that the MEG Center was only a quarter of the size originally claimed, and now claimed that it was supposedly part of a pre-existing used vehicle market, being utilized by Ideanomics through a partnership with the city of Qingdao, China.  Ideanomics claimed to have committed to rename the supposed Qingdao facility as the MEG Center at a later date, thereby further acknowledging that despite what was said in numerous interviews and press releases, there was no 1one million square foot MEG Center at the time Defendants made their inflationary statements to the market.  Plaintiff’s own post-class period investigation on the ground in China has revealed no MEG Center at the site that Defendants claimed a million square foot operation already existed, that the site is occupied by numerous other businesses, and that hastily erected promotional banners inside and outside of the Qingdao facility still claim that the MEG Center is “coming soon.”

    Lead Plaintiff filed an amended complaint on February 26, 2021 alleging violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act against all Defendants, and violations of Section 20(a) of the Exchange Act against the Individual Defendants. As alleged, Defendants’ June 26, 2020 admissions following the previous day’s analyst reports caused Ideanomics’ per-share share price to drop from $3.09 per share to $1.46, a 53% decline.

    Briefing on Defendants’ motion to dismiss the amended complaint was completed on July 15, 2021. Oral argument for this matter was held on October 12, 2021, before the Hon. George B. Daniels of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Representative Outcomes

  • This securities fraud class action in Manhattan federal court arose out of Pfizer’s concealment of clinical results for two arthritic pain drugs, Celebrex and Bextra. Despite being aware of significant cardiovascular adverse events in clinical trials, Pfizer misrepresented the safety profile of the drugs until the U.S. Food & Drug Administration discontinued a key trial, forced the withdrawal of Bextra from the market, and issued an enhanced warning label for Celebrex. Following a summary judgment order dismissing the case several weeks before trial was set to begin, we successfully appealed the dismissal at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the case was remanded for trial.

    After twelve years of litigation, the case resolved in 2016 with Pfizer agreeing to pay the shareholder class $486 million, the largest-ever securities fraud settlement against a pharmaceutical company in the Southern District of New York.

  • Allergan stockholders alleged that in February 2014, Valeant tipped Pershing Square founder Bill Ackman about its plan to launch a hostile bid for Allergan. Armed with this nonpublic information, Pershing then bought 29 million shares of stock from unsuspecting investors, who were unaware of the takeover bid that Valeant was preparing in concert with the hedge fund. When Valeant publicized its bid in April 2014, Allergan stock shot up by $20 per share, earning Pershing $1 billion in profits in a single day.

    Valeant’s bid spawned a bidding war for Allergan. The company was eventually sold to Actavis PLC for approximately $66 billion.

    Stockholders filed suit in 2014 in federal court in the Central District of California, where Judge David O. Carter presided over the case. Judge Carter appointed the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (“Iowa”) and the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio (“Ohio”) as lead plaintiffs, and appointed Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP and Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann, LLP as lead counsel.

    The court denied motions to dismiss the litigation in 2015 and 2016, and in 2017 certified a class of Allergan investors who sold common stock during the period when Pershing was buying.

    Earlier in December, the Court held a four-day hearing on dueling motions for summary judgment, with investors arguing that the Court should enter a liability judgment against Defendants, and Defendants arguing that the Court should throw out the case. A ruling was expected on those motions within coming days.

    The settlement reached resolves both the certified stockholder class action, which was set for trial on February 26, 2018, and the action brought on behalf of investors who traded in Allergan derivative instruments. Defendants are paying $250 million to resolve the certified common stock class action, and an additional $40 million to resolve the derivative case.

    Lee Rudy, a partner at Kessler Topaz and co-lead counsel for the common stock class, commented: “This settlement not only forces Valeant and Pershing to pay back hundreds of millions of dollars, it strikes a blow for the little guy who often believes, with good reason, that the stock market is rigged by more sophisticated players. Although we were fully prepared to present our case to a jury at trial, a pre-trial settlement guarantees significant relief to our class of investors who played by the rules.”

  • After over five years of hard-fought litigation, on February 19, 2020, Judge Michael M. Anello of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California granted preliminary approval of a class action settlement brought on behalf of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. shareholders.  Since December 2014, Kessler Topaz has served as co-lead counsel in the litigation. 

    The case alleges that SeaWorld and its former executives issued materially false and misleading statements during the Class Period about the impact on SeaWorld’s business of Blackfish, a highly publicized documentary film released in 2013, in violation of Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act of 1934.  Defendants repeatedly told the market that the film and its related negative publicity were not affecting SeaWorld’s attendance or business at all.  When the underlying truth of Blackfish’s impact on the business finally came to light in August 2014, SeaWorld’s stock price lost approximately 33% of its value in one day, causing substantial losses to class members.

    In April 2019, after the close of fact and expert discovery, Defendants moved for summary judgment on all claims—their last and best opportunity to avoid a jury trial on the Class’s claims through a dispositive motion.  After highly contested briefing and oral argument, in November 2019 the Court held in a 98-page opinion that Plaintiffs had successfully shown that the claims should go to a jury.

    With summary judgment denied and the parties preparing for a February 2020 trial, the parties reached a $65 million cash settlement for SeaWorld’s investors.