Supreme Court

Last week, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in NVIDIA Corp. v. E. Ohman J:or Fonder AB to address two important questions on the standard for pleading securities fraud claims under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (“PSLRA”): (1) whether plaintiffs seeking to allege scienter under the PSLRA based on allegations about internal company documents must plead with particularity the contents of those documents, and (2) whether plaintiffs can satisfy the PSLRA’s falsity requirement by relying on an expert opinion to substitute for particularized allegations of fact.Continue Reading Supreme Court to Review Securities Pleading Standard

On Tuesday May 16th, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a federal district court does not have discretion to dismiss a case where all claims are subject to arbitration and a party has requested a stay. This resolves a long-standing circuit split. Continue Reading Supreme Court Says Courts Cannot Dismiss Claims Pending Arbitration When Stay is Requested

On April 15, the U.S. Supreme Court declined a request by Visa and Mastercard to review a D.C. Circuit decision that appeared to add to a circuit split about how lower courts are to determine whether common issues predominate under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3). 

The case, Visa Inc. v. Nat’l ATM Council, Inc., Case No. 23-814, was part of a long-running dispute between the card companies and ATM operators about ATM fees.  In July, the D.C. Circuit upheld the certification of three different Plaintiff classes over the card companies’ argument that the district court had failed to perform a “rigorous analysis” about whether class-wide issues predominated.  Nat’l ATM Council, Inc. v. Visa Inc., 2023 WL 4743013 (D.C. Cir. 2023).  Although it noted that the district court’s analysis was “notably terse,” the D.C. Circuit found no error in the lower court’s holding that Plaintiffs need only demonstrate a “colorable” method of proving class-wide injury and that the Plaintiffs’ evidence satisfied that test.  Rejecting the card companies’ argument that Plaintiffs’ class-wide injury methodology failed to weed out uninjured class members, the court observed that “Defendants’ contention that their model showing unharmed members is more accurate and credible than Plaintiffs’ different models showing that all members were harmed is … precisely the kind of material factual dispute” that should be resolved at the merits, not class certification, stage.  Id. at *11.    Continue Reading Supreme Court Declines to Wade into Class Certification “Predominance” Issue

In a short, unanimous opinion on April 12, 2024, the Supreme Court shut the door on “pure omission” claims under Rule 10b–5 and made clear that the Rule is limited to claims based on false or misleading statements.

The case, Macquarie Infrastructure Corp. v. Moab Partners, L.P., concerns alleged omissions in Defendant Macquarie’s SEC filings related to its subsidiary’s operation of bulk liquid storage terminals.  In 2016, the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization issued a regulation limiting this subsidiary’s ability to store high-sulfur fuel oil, its single largest product. Though the regulation was set to take effect in 2020, Macquarie did not discuss the regulation in its public filings.Continue Reading Supreme Court rejects pure omission claims under SEC Rule 10b–5

Pennsylvania law requires foreign corporations to register to do business in the Commonwealth and provides that all registrants are subject to suit on “any cause” in the Commonwealth’s courts, regardless of a connection to the jurisdiction. In a split decision, the Supreme Court reversed a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision finding that this general jurisdiction provision violated the Due Process Clause. Mallory v. Norfolk So. Railway Co., 600 U.S. __ (2023) (slip op. available here).Continue Reading Split Supreme Court Weighs in on Corporate Consent to Personal Jurisdiction

The Supreme Court, in a 5–4 ruling, has resolved a circuit split on the issue of litigation stays pending appeal of denials of motions to compel arbitration.  In the underlying putative class action, Bielski et al v. Coinbase, Inc., 3:21-cv-07478 (N.D. Cal.), Coinbase moved to compel arbitration of the plaintiffs’ claims, but the motion was denied by the district court.  The Ninth Circuit—in a split from several other Circuits—declined to stay the district court proceedings while the appeal was pending.  The Supreme Court now has ruled that a district court must stay proceedings while an interlocutory appeal on the question of arbitrability is ongoing.  The decision means that defendants should be able to minimize ongoing litigation costs while an appeal of an adverse arbitration decision is pending.Continue Reading Supreme Court Resolves Circuit Split to Require Stays Pending Appeal of Refusals to Compel Arbitration

We previously covered the Eleventh Circuit’s decision in Johnson v. NPAS Solutions, LLC, 975 F.3d 1244 (11th Cir. 2020), in which the Eleventh Circuit relied on two Supreme Court decisions from the 1880s to prohibit courts from awarding incentive or service awards to class representatives in class settlements.  Id. at 1255 (citing Trustees v. Greenough, 105 U.S. 527 (1881), and Cent. R.R. & Banking Co. v. Pettus, 113 U.S. 116 (1885).  Although the Eleventh Circuit was the first federal appellate court to bar these awards in all circumstances, a recent Second Circuit decision agreed that these awards are “likely impermissible” under Supreme Court precedent, while observing that it would take the entire Second Circuit to overturn prior precedent upholding incentive awards.  See Fikes Wholesale, Inc. v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A., 62 F.4th 704, 721 (2nd Cir. 2023).  The Department of Justice has likewise implied that it agrees with the Eleventh Circuit’s position, relying on the Johnson decision in an effort to block incentive awards from a class settlement in a District of Columbia court.  Continue Reading Supreme Court Denies Cert on Incentive Awards

In a one-line order issued last week, the Supreme Court dismissed In Re Grand Jury, No. 21-1397, one of the most significant cases about the attorney-client privilege in decades.  The dismissal came just two weeks after oral argument.  The Court explained that the writ of certiorari had been “improvidently granted,” meaning the Court should

The Supreme Court recently granted certiorari in a case to resolve a circuit split that has serious implications for companies who are unsuccessful in their efforts to enforce arbitration provisions in federal district courts. 

In Coinbase, Inc. v. Bielski, No. 22-105, the defendant moved to compel arbitration in two putative class actions.  The motions to compel were denied, and the defendant sought stays while it appealed the denials—which the Federal Arbitration Act gives defendants an automatic right to do.  See 9 U.S.C. § 16.  Both motions to stay were denied, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed both decisions.Continue Reading SCOTUS Set to Resolve Circuit Split over Stays Pending Arbitration Appeal