UBS AG Motion to Dismiss Class Securities Case Test’s US Supreme Court’s Ruling Regarding Extraterritorial Transactions

UBS AG has filed a motion to dismiss a class securities case against it. The move is putting the US Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Morrison v. National Australia Bank Ltd. to the test.

In this securities fraud case, four institutional investors—three of them foreign—are charging UBS and a number of individual defendants with violating Section 10(b) of the 1934 Securities Exchange Act. This is based on misstatements that were allegedly made regarding its auction rate securities-related and mortgage-related activities. They are seeking relief for all purchasers of UBS stock on all worldwide exchanges. Most of the statements in question were issued from the bank’s headquarters in Switzerland.

In 2008, the defendants asked the court to dismiss the allegations due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction. They cited the decision made in Morrison by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which had dismissed the action.

Now that the US Supreme Court issued its ruling in Morrison, with the justices concluding that Section 10(b) only applies to securities transactions on domestic exchanges and in other securities, the defendants are attempting to also have the securities case against them dismissed per Morrison’s “bright-line, location-of-the transaction rule.”

The defendants say that the plaintiffs have advised them that they will use the Supreme Court’s use of the word “listed” to end-run Morrison. Per the justices’ decision, Section 10(b) applies to transactions involving securities that are “listed on an American stock exchange.” UBS shares can be found on the NYSE.

However, the defendants are contending that there isn’t any support in the “the test of Section 10(B), its legislative history, or Morrison” for this type of unprecedented interpretation. They say that the word “listed,” as it is used in Morrison is only applicable to two kinds of securities that can be purchased in the US—an unlisted security that trades over the counter in this country and a listed one that trades on a US exchange. The defendants claim that the plaintiffs are misreading the word “listed” in order to authorize international class action lawsuits based on securities purchases on a foreign market and that this “flies in the face of Morrison’s statements that Section 10 (b) doesn’t “regulate foreign securities exchanges.”

Related Web Resources:
Morrison v. National Australia Bank Ltd., Supreme Court (PDF)

1934 Securities Exchange Act

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