When can a company’s silence support a Rule 10b-5 claim? The U.S. Supreme Court will consider that question next term in Leidos Inc. v. Indiana Public Retirement System. The case is generating buzz because it could expand the universe of omissions actionable under the judicially created private right of action for securities fraud.
The class action bar eagerly awaited the U.S. Supreme Court’s January opinion in Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez. At issue was what happens when a defendant makes a settlement offer or Rule 68 offer of judgment that would give the lead plaintiff full relief on his or her individual claims, but the lead plaintiff does not accept the offer. Does an unaccepted offer of full relief mean, as the defendant-petitioner argued, that a case or controversy no longer exists concerning the lead plaintiff’s individual claims, thereby divesting the district court of Article III jurisdiction, mooting the case and, in turn, mooting the putative class action? Or does the case simply continue because the court may not force a plaintiff to accept a settlement, as the plaintiff-respondent argued? The court had the potential to clarify a defendant’s ability to dispatch individual and class claims early, even when the lead plaintiff won’t take “yes” for an answer, to use the chief justice’s colorful quip.
Mr. Rella is a contributing author of the Annual Broker Dealer Survey, American Bar Association (2014-2015). This Survey identifies significant court decisions and administrative proceedings before the SEC and FINRA, which involve issues relevant to broker-dealers and investment banking firms during the year 2014. Although the Survey does not purport to necessarily be comprehensive, it is intended to include all notable decisions and proceedings during 2014.
You represent a defendant in a putative class action in federal court. The lead plaintiff’s potential damages are de minimis, although lead plaintiff’s counsel is seeking millions on behalf of the putative class. You believe that if you can defeat the lead plaintiff’s motion for class certification, the (soon-to-be former) lead plaintiff will lose settlement leverage and quickly settle its claim for a trivial amount. After all, you think, now that class certification has been denied, your client no longer has to worry about classwide damages, right? If only it were that easy.
'Halliburton II,' soon to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, has sparked speculation about the future of the "fraud on the market" presumption of reliance in private, civil federal securities fraud cases based on affirmative misrepresentations. Commentators have suggested that if the court dispatches that presumption, plaintiffs might fill the void by invoking the so-called Affiliated Ute presumption of reliance—a rebuttable presumption that arises in cases based on material omissions in breach of a duty to disclose.
NEW YORK CITY BAR ASSOCIATION COMMITTEE ON SECURITIES LITIGATION - The U.S. Supreme Court‟s November 15, 2013 decision granting certiorari in Halliburton Co. and David Lesar v. Erica P. John Fund has captured the imagination of the securities bar and economists alike. (contributing author)