Board Diversity Suit Dismissed

A California federal judge has dismissed shareholder derivative claims against NortonLifeLock Inc. that accused the cybersecurity giant’s board of failing to uphold its stated commitment to diversity and inclusion.

U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg acknowledged Monday that his ruling comes after the dismissals of several similar derivative actions filed by the same law firm that accuse a range of name-brand public companies, including Facebook Inc. and Oracle Corp., of falling short on their publicly declared diversity commitments.

The suit accusing NortonLifeLock of refusing to appoint Black or minority individuals to its board “simply does not plausibly plead an actionable false statement,” Judge Seeborg said. The suit also failed to show that its claims couldn’t have been brought directly to the directors before being asserted in a lawsuit.

“Without questioning that there may be systemic under-representation in corporate boardrooms, or plaintiff’s good faith in looking for legal recourse, the flaws in this putative class action complaint require dismissal,” the judge said, giving the plaintiff 30 days to amend the suit.

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