Class certification affirmed in securities case

A putative plaintiff class alleged violations of federal securities law by alleged misstatements about asbestos liabilities, the quality of certain receivables and the claimed benefits of a merger.  Erica P. John Fund Inc. v. Halliburton, Inc., No. 12-10544 (April 30, 2013).  Reviewing recent Supreme Court cases about relevant evidence at the certification stage, including one that reversed the Fifth Circuit about proof of loss causation, the Court held: “price impact fraud-on-the-market rebuttal evidence should not be considered at class certification. Proof of price impact is based upon common evidence, and later proof of no price impact will not result in the possibility of individual claims continuing.” (citing Amgen, Inc. v. Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds, ___ U.S. ___ (Feb. 27, 2013))  The Court rejected a policy argument about the potential “in terrorem” effect of not considering such potentially dispositive evidence about the merits at the certification stage.  The district court ruling about this evidence, and the resulting class certification, were affirmed.

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