March 17 College of Law Panel to Discuss the Supreme Court’s Ruling in Halliburton and the Possible End of Securities Class Actions

On March 5, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Halliburton Co. v. Erica P. John Fund. At stake is whether the longstanding “fraud-on-the-market presumption” will survive in securities class actions. Supporters argue that this form of litigation provides a necessary check on corporate misconduct, while critics charge that it is a costly management distraction.  Both agree, however, that Haliburton is a potentially watershed case that could signal the end of securities class action as we know it today.

On March 17, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., a panel at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law titled “Modern Securities Litigation and Halliburton,” will discuss the important issues in the Halliburton case, the arguments before the Supreme Court, and the current climate for securities litigation. The event, to be held in Room 107 at the College of Law, is free and open to the public. One hour free CLE credit is available. Prior to the event, there will be a 5:00 p.m. reception in the Rosenblatt Foyer outside the moot courtroom.

“The ‘fraud-on-the-market’ theory enables plaintiffs to form a class without having to prove that each investor independently relied on an alleged misstatement,” explained Jeff Schwartz, an Associate Professor at the College of Law who organized the event and will serve as a panelist. “Undoing this presumption would destroy the securities class action as we know it today. This CLE Panel will provide insight on this potentially watershed case in the immediate aftermath of oral arguments from people who are not only experienced practitioners, but who come to the case from different vantage points.  It should make for an informed and rousing discussion.”

“This case raises the fascinating and important jurisprudential issue whether existing law will be changed based on changes in economic theory or socio-political ideology,” added Clinical Professor Jim Holbrook, who will moderate the panel.

In addition to Schwartz and Holbrook, other panelists include Karen Martinez, director of the Salt Lake Regional Office of the Securities & Exchange Commission; as well as securities attorneys Erik Christiansen, and John Rich.

The event is co-sponsored by the Securities Section of the Utah State Bar.

For more information, contact Miriam Lovin.