Ex Ante Litigation Risk and Firm Restatement Decisions: Evidence from District Courts
Posted: 4 Sep 2020 Last revised: 5 Oct 2022
Date Written: July 27, 2020
This study examines whether ex ante securities litigation risk prompts firms to make more or less voluntary restatements. The litigation risk is captured by a new measure based on the dismissal rate of the district court where the firm is headquartered. We find that misreporting firms headquartered in lenient (high dismissal rate) court jurisdictions are more likely to make voluntary restatements. Using the U.S. Supreme Court’s Tellabs decision as an exogenous shock that reduces the leniency of some district courts, we find robust evidence that higher litigation risk decreases managers’ incentives to admit their misreporting. Our finding sheds new light on the litigation risk-voluntary disclosure paradox by pointing to a positive aspect of court leniency in motivating self-policing behavior such as restatement.
Keywords: Private Securities Litigation, court dismissal rate, Pleading Standard, Accounting Misreporting, Restatement
JEL Classification: M41; K22; G39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation