The Diminishing Role of the Private Attorney General in Antitrust and Securities Class Action Cases Aided by the Supreme Court
Journal of Business & Technology Law, Vol. 4, p. 167, 2009
20 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2011 Last revised: 10 Nov 2011
Date Written: January 10, 2009
The U.S. Supreme Court's 2008 decision in Stoneridge Investment Partners, LLC v. Scientific-Atlantic, Inc. illustrated a reformulation of the private-attorney-general model for enforcing federal laws. This case, which rejected another attempt to expand scheme liability in private securities actions to create a new class of defendants, recognized the possible harms from private enforcement. At the same time, it described alternative methods of deterring bad behavior – namely, state and government enforcement. Stoneridge thus follows a pattern of recent securities and antitrust Supreme Court cases that have scaled back on the private attorney general method of enforcement in favor of a more nuanced approach that limits the expansion of private litigation where the harms could exceed its benefits. This article won the 2010 Burton Award for Legal Writing Achievement.
Keywords: Securities, Antitrust, Class Action, Private Attorney General, Stonebridge, Attorneys Fees, Scheme Liability, Trinko, Dura, Broudo, Credit Suisse, Billing, Leegin, Twombly, Bell Atlantic, Tellabs
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