Two appellate decisions from earlier this year that are worth noting:
(1) In Barrie v. Intervoice-Brite, Inc., 2005 WL 57928 (5th Cir. Jan. 12, 2005), the Fifth Circuit considered a securities fraud claim based on revenue recognition issues at a software company. The defendants argued that a charge the company took against its revenues was caused by the SEC’s issuance of new revenue recognition guidance. To counter this argument, the plaintiffs apparently attached a sworn expert analysis to their amended complaint stating that “Intervoice’s reversal of revenue in the first quarter fiscal 2001 was not a result of SAB 101, but rather was required because Intervoice’s prior revenue recognition practice did not comply with GAAP, specifically SOP 97-2.” The Fifth Circuit reversed the dismissal of the revenue recognition claims, finding that the “accounting questions in this case are disputed” and that plaintiffs’ position “was adequately supported by expert opinion.”
(2) In In re Daou Systems, Inc. Sec. Litig., 2005 WL 237645 (9th Cir. Feb. 2, 2005), the Ninth Circuit clarified its position on confidential witnesses (by adopting the pleading standard used in the First and Second Circuits) and muddied its position on loss causation.
Confidential witnesses – The court held that “[n]aming sources is unnecessary so long as the sources are described ‘with sufficient particularity to support the probability that a person in the position occupied by the source would possess the information alleged’ and the complaint contained ‘adequate corroborating details.'”
Loss causation – The court found that “if the improper accounting did not lead to the decrease in Daou’s stock price, plaintiffs’ reliance on the improper accounting in acquiring the stock would not be sufficiently linked to their damages.” This position is the exact opposite of the one adopted by the Ninth Circuit in the Dura case and recently reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Curious.