The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear Goldman Sachs v. Arkansas next month (oral argument is scheduled for March 29). The questions presented in the case are:
(1) Whether a defendant in a securities class action may rebut the presumption of classwide reliance recognized in Basic Inc. v. Levinson, 485 U.S. 224 (1988), by pointing to the generic nature of the alleged misstatements in showing that the statements had no impact on the price of the security, even though that evidence is also relevant to the substantive element of materiality.
(2) Whether a defendant seeking to rebut the Basic presumption has only a burden of production or also the ultimate burden of persuasion.
If the Second Circuit concludes that, after Kelly, confidential government information does not constitute property, the Court could reverse the convictions on this ground while leaving unaddressed its prior holding that there is no personal benefit requirement in Title 18 insider trader cases. As the petitioners warned the Supreme Court, prosecutors in this scenario would likely treat this silence as a green light to continue to charge insider-trading crimes where there is little to no evidence of a personal benefit to the tipper, or tippee knowledge of that benefit. Of course, under such circumstances, prosecutors would not have the benefit of Blaszczak to rely on, and thus there could be litigation risk to the government depending on the facts of the particular case.
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take up a case that will address a recurring issue that has arisen in the securities class action litigation arena – that is, whether or not the alleged failure to make a disclosure required by Item 303 of Reg. S-K is an actionable omission under Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5.
The Supreme Court agreed to hear another securities case this week. Leidos, Inc. v. Indiana Public Retirement System, No. 16-581. … Leido , a securities class action based on Exchange Act Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, presents the following question, according to the Petition for a Writ of Certiorari: “Whether the Second Circuit erred in holding – in direct conflict with the decisions of the Third and Ninth Circuits – that Item 303 of SEC Regulation S-K creates a duty to disclose that is actionable under the Section 10(b) . . .” of the Exchange Act.
On January 31, 2017, President Donald J. Trump announced his nominee for the Supreme Court seat vacated by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia nearly a year ago: Judge Neil Gorsuch of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Judge Gorsuch has a limited record in private securities litigation cases during his tenure on the Tenth Circuit, but his writing and litigation activity prior to joining the bench give some insight into his views on key issues affecting securities litigants.