Not So Fast

As it turns out, the defense is on a winning streak in securities class action trials. Although the jury verdicts in the recent JDS Uniphase (for defendants) and Apollo Group (for plaintiffs) trials were split, the Apollo Group defendants achieved a post-trial victory yesterday when the court ruled that the plaintiffs had failed to prove loss causation.

The Apollo Group case was based on the company’s failure to disclose the existence of a government report finding that its wholly-owned subsidiary, the University of Phoenix, had violated Department of Education regulations. In its decision overturning the jury verdict, the court found 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.” The analyst reports merely repeated information about the government report already known to the market or provided information about the University of Phoenix that was factually wrong (and therefore could not have been corrective).

The plaintiffs plan to appeal the decision, which could lead to an interesting 9th Circuit opinion on loss causation. The WSJ Law Blog and Reuters have additional coverage.

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