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Breaking: 5-3 decision against plaintiffs in Stoneridge v. Scientific-Atlanta



SCOTUSblog has downloaded the opinion and has a good post. Steve Shapiro, who argued the case for the winning side, says in a press statement, �The Supreme Court today handed down a major victory for the U.S. economy and investor welfare. The Court understood that the trial lawyers� theory of �scheme liability� was simply a scheme to rake in billions of dollars for themselves at the expense of the investors they purported to represent.� Justice Kennedy:

In effect petitioner contends that in an efficient market investors rely not only upon the public statements relating to a security but also upon the transactions those statements reflect. Were this concept of reliance to be adopted, the implied cause of action would reach the whole marketplace in which the issuing company does business; and there is no authority for this rule.

Earlier on POL: Epstein, Frank, much else.

In Blue Chip, the Court noted that extensive discovery and the potential for uncertainty and disruption in a lawsuit allow plaintiffs with weak claims to extort settlements from innocent companies. Id., at 740�741. Adoption of petitioner�s approach would expose a new class of defendants to these risks. As noted in Central Bank, contracting parties might find it necessary to protect against these threats, raising the costs of doing business. See 511 U. S., at 189. Overseas firms with no other exposure to our securities laws could be deterred from doing business here. See Brief for Organization for International Investment et al. as Amici Curiae 17�20. This, in turn, may raise the cost of being a publicly traded company under our law and shift securities offerings away from domestic capital markets. Brief for NASDAQ Stock Market, Inc., et al. as Amici Curiae 12�14.

The Stevens dissent (joined by Ginsburg and Souter) contains a dramatic plea for the right of the judicial branch to fashion remedies when the legislature did not create one.

NB the biases of the press coverage: AP reports it incorrectly as "Supreme Court Rules Against Investors," when, in fact, investors are ex ante better off with this ruling. (Update: Carter Wood sure notices.)

Update: John Carney gets it right, as does Larry Ribstein. Other bloggers: Bainbridge, Lacroix, and debate in the Volokh comment section.

 

 


Isaac Gorodetski
Project Manager,
Center for Legal Policy at the
Manhattan Institute
igorodetski@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Press Officer,
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.