AstraZeneca Prevails In COVID-19 Vaccine Shareholder Lawsuit
According to a report from Reuters, AstraZeneca—the multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company based in Cambridge, England—has prevailed in a shareholder lawsuit. The shareholder claim was centered around alleged lack of disclosures regarding the company’s COVID-19 vaccine. In this blog post, our Miami shareholder dispute attorney provides a more detailed explanation of the dismissal of the lawsuit.
Background: The AstraZeneca Vaccine Was Never Authorized for Use in the United States
Along with other major pharmaceutical companies (Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, etc), AstraZeneca undertook trials to get a COVID-19 vaccine approved in the United States. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) never approved the AstraZeneca vaccine. The shareholder lawsuit in this case is focused on the lack of approval. Specifically, the plaintiffs in the shareholder class action argued that the company’s corporate leadership materially misled its investors.
Note: In late 2020 and early 2021, the AstraZeneca stock price fell in the United States as it became clear the company was not going to get FDA approval for its COVID-19 vaccine. In contrast, Pfizer and Moderna saw sharp increases in their share price.
Shareholder Lawsuit: Failure to Disclose Negative Information
The plaintiffs in the class action shareholder lawsuit claim that AstraZeneca corporate executives violated their duty to share “negative information” with investors. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that the company was aware that its COVID-19 vaccine trials were “mis-designed” and “unlikely to result in FDA approval” long before that information was actually disclosed to the public.
Federal Court Rules for AstraZeneca, No Violation of Shareholder Rights By Executives
A federal judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled in favor of AstraZeneca in the class action shareholder lawsuit. Over the course of nearly two dozen pages, the federal judge explained that AstraZeneca did not have a specific duty to disclose negative information about the clinical trials to its investors before such trials were complete.
The federal court also determined that certain general statements made by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AstraZeneca—such as that the company will “follow the science” and try to move quickly without “cutting corners”—did not give rise to any viable claim on the part of the shareholders.
Notably, the class action shareholder lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice by the federal judge. As a result, this shareholder lawsuit cannot be filed again in the future. AstraZeneca has prevailed on this particular matter. When a claim is dismissed it denies the plaintiffs an opportunity to try to resolve potential material defects in an amended complaint.
Get Help From a Shareholder Litigation Lawyer in Southeast Florida
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our South Florida shareholder attorneys are skilled, experienced, and reliable advocates for clients. We handle all aspects of shareholder litigation. If you have any questions about your rights or your options, please contact us today for a confidential consultation. From our offices in Miami, West Palm Beach, and Wellington, we handle shareholder litigation throughout all of Southeastern Florida, including in Fort Lauderdale, Miami Beach, and Hialeah.