As in prior years, Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP is live blogging from the PLUS D&O Symposium. There were several interesting points discussed during the first panel discussion, including the following:

  • As a result of the decision in the Merck case, plaintiffs will have a longer period of time within which to file securities cases as defendants will have a harder time demonstrating that the statute of limitations has begun to run. This means that cases that otherwise might not have been filed will now have some settlement value since just over 60 percent of securities cases settle.
  • Recently-filed securities class action cases are more likely to involve allegations of product deficiency, while the traditional model based on financial restatements is waning.
  • The median settlement value of securities cases that settled during 2011 was a record $11.1 million; the average settlement value (taking out high and low outliers) was also a record $42 million.
  • A key issue in the wake of Dodd-Frank will be whether or not a whistleblower will be required to report to an internal compliance committee before filing with the SEC. Since the SEC is facing significant budget constraints, it will be interesting to watch how this develops as this may cause difficulties in implementing Dodd-Frank.
  • Halliburton is the “case to watch” in the upcoming term of the U.S. Supreme Court. The question presented in the appeal is whether loss causation must be demonstrated at the class certification stage. If that question is answered affirmatively, this will change the landscape of how these cases are tried as the expert costs will be front-loaded and the judge, rather than a jury, will decide complex loss causation issues.