On February 27, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a pair of important securities-law decisions, one requiring the SEC to act more swiftly in pursuing fraud charges, and the other making it significantly easier for private plaintiffs to pursue securities fraud claims on a class-wide basis.In Gabelli v. Securities and Exchange Commission, a unanimous Supreme Court established a five-year deadline for the SEC to pursue claims after the occurrence of an alleged fraud. The SEC had argued that the five-year clock should not start ticking until the date on which it discovered the alleged fraud, which may be significantly after the date on which the defendant’s misconduct took place. The Supreme Court rejected this argument. Unlike private plaintiffs, the SEC is not entitled to rely on the “discovery” rule to extend its limitations period.In Amgen Inc. v. Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds, the Supreme Court held that plaintiff shareholders of Amgen Inc. could pursue securities fraud claims against the biotechnology company on a class-wide basis, without first having to prove that the company’s alleged misrepresentations materially inflated its stock price. The 6-3 ruling resolves a circuit split over whether the element of “materiality” should be considered at the class… Read full this story
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