Munger, Tolles & Olson represented Edison International and its executives in two key victories this April.
On April 19, 2021, in a published opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a class action under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) against fiduciaries of Edison’s employee stock ownership plan. The plaintiff in the action claimed that the fiduciaries violated ERISA by allowing investments in Edison stock that, according to the plaintiff, was overvalued due to alleged false and misleading statements about the retirement of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station and related regulatory proceedings. Rejecting these allegations, the Ninth Circuit held that the complaint “relies solely on general economic theories and is devoid of context-specific allegations,” and joined other Courts of Appeals “in concluding that the recitation of generic economic principles, without more, is not enough to plead a duty-of prudence violation.”
On April 27, 2021, Judge Consuelo B. Marshall of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California dismissed a securities class action alleging that Edison and its senior executives misled investors in connection with the 2017 and 2018 Southern California wildfires. The plaintiffs in the action claimed that Edison and its executives made false and misleading statements about Edison’s commitment to safety, wildfire risk mitigation efforts and potential liability for wildfire damages. Rejecting these claims, Judge Marshall held that Edison’s “general statements related to prioritization of safety would not mislead a reasonable investor” and that “contrary to Plaintiffs’ contentions, none of the statements made by the Edison Defendants is false or misleading.” Judge Marshall also held that certain claims were barred by the statute of limitations, and dismissed the complaint in its entirety.
The team consisted of partners John Spiegel and John Gildersleeve and associate Lauren Barnett.