When SCOTUS Attacks

The U.S. Supreme Court has turned its gaze to securities litigation and does not appear to like the circuit splits it is seeing. This week features an unprecedented amount of Supreme Court activity on securities issues, with two arguments and a noteworthy grant of certiorari.

An early report on today’s argument in the Credit Suisse case suggests that several justices were skeptical about applying antitrust law to the same allegations raised in the IPO allocation cases. Meanwhile, oral argument in the Tellabs case on scienter pleading is scheduled for tomorrow. Previews of the two cases can be found in the Wall Street Journal (subscrip. req’d), Bloomberg, and the Financial Times.

On Monday, the Supreme Court also granted cert in the Charter Communications case from the Eighth Circuit that addresses scheme liability. The timing could hardly have been better. As discussed in this recent post, the circuit split on the issue expanded just last week when the Fifth Circuit declined to grant class certification in the securities fraud case brought against Enron’s banks.

The question presented in Charter Communications is: “Whether this Court’s decision in Central Bank [], forecloses claims for deceptive conduct under [Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5] where Respondents engaged in transactions with a public corporation with no legitimate business or economic purpose except to inflate artificially the public corporation’s financial statements, but where Respondents themselves made no public statements concerning those transactions.” Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Breyer will not participate in the case (probably because of stock ownership). The Associated Press has an article andSecurities Litigation Watch has a post.

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