Securities Fraud Plaintiffs Don’t Have to Show Loss Causation to Obtain Class Action Status, Rules US Supreme Court

In Erica P. John Fund Inc. v. Halliburton Co., the US Supreme Court said that securities fraud plaintiffs don’t have to demonstrate loss causation to receive class certification. The unanimous ruling reinstated claims made by investors that defendant Halliburton Inc. (HAL) made material misrepresentations and misstatements.

In its securities complaint, Archdiocese of Milwaukee Supporting Fund Inc.—now known as Erica P. John Fund Inc.—wanted to certify as a class all investors who had obtained Halliburton stock between June 3, 1999 and December 7, 2001. The plaintiff contends that investors in the proposed class lost money because of securities fraud committed by the defendant, including making material misstatements about litigation expenses, a merger’s benefits, and accounting methodology changes, making misrepresentations in order to up Halliburton stocks’ price rise, and making corrective disclosures to make the price fall.

The district court, however, refused to give class certification on the ground that the plaintiff did not demonstrate loss causation regarding the claims it made. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed that ruling.

The Supreme Court, however, said that even though private securities plaintiffs must show that the defendant’s misconduct was the cause of their economic loss, loss causation does not have to be demonstrated to obtain class certification. Chief Justice John G Roberts authored the decision, which also said that the court didn’t have to address questions related to its in 1988 ruling Basic Inc. v. Levinson, 485 U.S. 224.

Related Web Resources:
Erica P. John Fund Inc. v. Halliburton Co. (PDF)

Basic Inc. v. Levinson

More Blog Posts:

Securities Fraud: Mutual Funds Investment Adviser Cannot Be Sued Over Misstatement in Prospectuses, Says US Supreme Court, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, June 16, 2011

Number of Securities Class Action Settlements Reached in 2010 Hit Lowest Level in a Decade, Says Report, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, March 31, 2011

Sonoma Valley Bank Shareholders File Both a Class Action Lawsuit and An Insurance Claim Seeking to Recoup Millions, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, June 30, 2011

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