Stoneridge: A Review of News Coverage

By August 16, 2007Briefly Legal

So early in the morning to be in high dudgeon, but really, this Washington Post story about the Stoneridge filings is…just…well…

The Bush administration yesterday sided with accountants, bankers and lawyers seeking to avoid liability in corporate fraud cases, arguing that investors must show they lost money after relying on deceptions by third parties in order to proceed with private lawsuits.

Really? How about an alternative: “The Bush administration yesterday sided with U.S. manufacturers and their 14 million employees, arguing against a reinterpretation of securities law that could lead to an explosive rise in litigation.” Or: “In a key securities fraud case, the Bush administration came out Wednesday strongly for legal precedence, arguing against novel theories being pushed by vulpine lawyers.” There are hundreds of choices.

But we’ll be fair. Stoneridge Investment Partners v. Scientific-Atlanta is complex, with lots of parties, and it’s not as if securities law is simple to begin with. Reporters have to pick some angle, by definition simplifying. (The NAM’s news release is here.)

The AP lede seems about a clear as you can hope for:

WASHINGTON (AP) –The Bush administration on Wednesday took the side of defendant companies in a Supreme Court case that could determine the fate of other investor lawsuits including one stemming from the Enron scandal.

At issue in the case before the high court is whether third parties such as investment banks, accountants, lawyers or vendors can be found liable in shareholder lawsuits for scheming with companies accused of deceiving investors.

And Bloomberg, via the Chicago Tribune. And the Houston Chronicle:

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration, weighing in on a case before the Supreme Court that could have broad ramifications for lawsuits stemming from Enron’s collapse, threw its support Wednesday behind companies under attack from investors.

But shareholders who sued the banks that helped finance Enron’s dealings were heartened by the Justice Department’s seeming acceptance of at least some of their arguments.

Another complexity.

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