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The Downside of Judicial Restraint: The (Non-)Effect of Jones V. Harris

8 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2010  

John C. Coates, IV

Harvard Law School

Date Written: October 26, 2010


In Jones v. Harris, the Supreme Court rejected Judge Easterbrook's decision for the Seventh Circuit to narrow the grounds on which a mutual fund shareholder could win a fiduciary duty case against a mutual fund adviser under the Investment Company Act. In this article, I assess the likely impact of Jones and evaluate the Supreme Court's decision to exercise what might be called "judicial restraint" in its analysis. I show that the decision is unlikely to have a significant impact on fiduciary duty cases, and present preliminary data consistent with the idea that such cases are currently being brought against the wrong defendants (advisers to large funds) and not against the right ones (advisers charging extraordinarily high fees). I suggest that the "judicial restraint" exercised in Jones is in fact pernicious in this context, one in which courts must necessarily interpret a vague statute.

Suggested Citation

Coates, IV, John C., The Downside of Judicial Restraint: The (Non-)Effect of Jones V. Harris (October 26, 2010). Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy, Vol. 6, 2010. Available at SSRN:

John Coates (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts
Hauser 406
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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