July 16, 2010

The Reversal, The Affirmance, and The Remand

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has been busy over the past few weeks.

(1) In the Apollo Group case, the court reinstated the $277.5 million verdict obtained by the company's investors. The trial court, in a post-verdict decision, had found that the investors failed to prove loss causation. In particular, the court concluded that the two analyst reports relied upon by the plaintiffs as "corrective disclosures" that led to a stock price decline "did not provide any new, fraud-revealing analysis." Although The 10b-5 Daily suggested that the trial court's decision could lead to an interesting appeal, the actual opinion is quite anticlimactic. In an unpublished memorandum, the court simply held that "the jury could have reasonably found that the [analyst] reports following various newspaper articles were ‘corrective disclosures’ providing additional or more authoritative fraud-related information that deflated the stock price." The D&O Diary has extensive coverage, including a guest commentary.

(2) In In re Cutera Sec. Litig., 2010 WL 2595281 (9th Cir. June 30, 2010), the court joined all of the other circuits that have considered the issue (Fifth, Sixth, and Eleventh) in finding that the PSLRA's safe harbor for forward-looking statements "is written in the disjunctive as to each subpart." As a result, the "defendant's state of mind is not relevant" in determining whether a forward-looking statement is protected from liability because it is accompanied by "sufficient cautionary language." Over the years, The 10b-5 Daily has posted frequently on this issue (most recently here).

(3) Many commentators believed that the U.S. Supreme Court would grant cert in the Trainer Wortham case to address the running of the statute of limitations for securities fraud. As it turned out, the Court took the Merck case instead and issued a decision earlier this year. The Court then remanded the Trainer Wortham case for reconsideration. Back in the Ninth Circuit, in Betz v. Trainer Wortham & Co., Inc., 2010 WL 2674442 (9th Cir. July 7, 2010), the court has decided that it would be better for the district court to consider the statute of limitations issue in the first (or, more accurately, second) instance.

Posted by Lyle Roberts at July 16, 2010 9:52 PM | TrackBack
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