The battle to win the hearts and minds of the American people (or at least the SEC) on the issue of scheme liability, which is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court in the Stoneridge (a.k.a. Charter Communications) case, shows no signs of slowing down. This week has seen three publications of note:
(1) In its Tuesday edition, the Wall Street Journal had a feature article (subscrip. req’d) on the pressure being put on the SEC to side with the plaintiff investors.
Quote of note: “[A plaintiffs attorney] won the support of aspiring Democratic presidential candidate and former plaintiffs lawyer John Edwards, who said: ‘I urge the SEC to fulfill its historic mission of protecting investors. Silence, or even worse, siding with fraud participants, would be a betrayal of that mission.'”
(2) The Wall Street Journal also has an op-ed (subscrip. req’d) in today’s edition urging the SEC to support the defendant corporations.
Quote of note: “Unfortunately, we cannot be certain why the Supreme Court has taken the case, or if it will do the right thing. While Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Stephen Breyer have spoken of the need for judicial modesty, both have recused themselves from the case. All the more reason for Treasury and the SEC to stand firm and ask the solicitor general to urge the Supreme Court to keep liability circumscribed.”
(3) Finally, the Legal Times has an op-ed, written by attorneys who represent investors in a scheme liability case against Enron’s banks, urging the Supreme Court to adopt a broad interpretation of the relevant statutes.
Quote of note: “At bottom, Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 have long proscribed any scheme or artifice to defraud, as well as any conduct that operates as a fraud on investors. Enron’s banks worked hand-in-hand with Enron to design and implement sham transactions with the sole purpose of hiding debt and generating fake revenue. If that’s not participating in a scheme to defraud, what else can we call it?”