In Investment fraud Lawsuit Against Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, Court Grants Class Certification

A District Court judge has granted class certification in the securities fraud lawsuit against Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs. The plaintiffs are accusing the broker-dealers of putting forth misleading analysts reports about RSL Communications Inc. for the purposes of maintaining or obtaining profitable financial and advisory work from RSL. Per Judge Shira Sheindlin, the class is to be made up of all parties that bought RSL Common stock between April 30, 1999 and December 29, 2000.

RSL investors, who are the plaintiffs, contend that the defendants artificially inflated the market price of RSL common stock, which injured them and other class members.

In July 2005, the court had certified a class that included anyone who had bought or acquired RSL equity shares between the dates noted above after determining that the plaintiffs had made “some showing” that Rule 23 requirements had been satisfied. The broker-dealer defendants appealed.

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit vacated the class certification order and remanded the action for reconsideration. It’s decision in e Initial Public Offering Securities Litigation, 471 F.3d 24 had clarified class certification standards.

Two years later, pending the outcome In re Salomon Analyst Metromedia Litigation, the court issued a stay. Following its opinion, which held that market presumption includes securities fraud allegations against research analysts, the Court lifted the stay, allowing the plaintiffs to renew their motion for class certification. The court granted the motion and noted that the defendants have been unable to “rebut the fraud on the market presumption by the preponderance of the evidence on the basis that the analyst reports” are missing certain key pieces of information. Per their securities fraud claim, plaintiffs can therefore avail of the “fraud on the market presumption to establish transaction causation.”

The court said that the plaintiffs have succeeded in proving that loss causation can be proven on a “class-wide basis.”

Related Web Resources:
Court OKs Class Cert. In Fraud Suit Against Lehman, Law360, August 5, 2009
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (PDF)

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