Two years ago, I wrote about the difficulties defendants face when securities plaintiffs invoke confidential witnesses in their complaints. The case that prompted that discussion, City of Livonia Employee Retirement System v. Boeing Corp., now has a sequel. As it turns out, both parties appealed the opinion below: the plaintiffs because the court below had dismissed their case with prejudice, and the defendants because the court had not imposed sanctions consistent with the PSLRA.

Judge Posner wrote the opinion for the three-judge panel. He began with a brief (and very informative) summary of the relevant provisions of the PSLRA. In … Continue Reading

E-discovery: a term that has evolved from an interesting sidenote to something that can strike fear into the hearts of the most hardened defense lawyers. The Wall Street Journal Law Blog covered this issue a few weeks ago, pointing to a recent study by several King & Spalding lawyers published in the Duke Law Journal: Sanctions for E-discovery Violations: By the Numbers. The article is an excellent source for cases involving e-discovery sanctions. While it doesn’t specifically mention class actions, there is no question it applies to this field of litigation. Discovery is often a one-sided affair in Continue Reading

Back in 2001, Bruce G. Murphy, a California attorney, contacted the San Diego office of then-firm Milberg Weiss. He claimed to have several clients who had bought stock in Tut Systems, a technology company that had announced it was not going to meet its earning estimates for the fourth quarter of 2000. Murphy, who had provided clients for Milberg’s securities class actions before, wanted to know if the firm wished to pursue the case and pay him his customary 10% referral fee.

Four years later, Lerach Coughlin (which had broken off from Milberg) settled a securities class action … Continue Reading

Class actions don’t necessarily look like emotional contests from afar, but they can be. Plaintiffs’ counsel is risking work and capital with no certain return on their investment. The defendant has been placed in high-stakes litigation based on what appear (to it) to be baseless allegations. As a result, it can be hard for each side not to take things personally. But how hard should a defendant hit back against unscrupulous plaintiffs’ counsel? Especially if – from the defendant’s standpoint – they all look unscrupulous?

I can’t think of another question that begs so much for the answer "it depends." But there is … Continue Reading