In a terse, unsigned one-sentence April 23, 2019 per curiam opinion, the U.S. States Supreme Court has just one week after oral argument dismissed the grant of certiorari in the case of Emulex Corporation v. Verjabedian as “improvidently granted.” The Court had granted cert in the case in order to address a circuit split on the question of whether or not a claimant in must plead scienter in order to establish a tender offer misrepresentation claim under Section 14(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, or whether allegations of negligence are sufficient. In the merits briefing and at oral argument, the question arose whether or not there is even a private right of action under Section 14(e) at all. As discussed below, the Court’s dismissal leaves all of these questions unaddressed.  The April 23, 2019 opinion in the case can be found here.
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In a June 21, 2018 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the SEC’s administrative law judges (ALJs) are not merely “employees” but rather are “officers” who must be appointed to their position by the “Heads of Departments” under the Constitution’s Appointments Clause. The Court’s decision at one level represents a rather straightforward application of the Court’s existing case law regarding ALJs. However, the decision raises a number of troublesome issues for the SEC, and leaves a number of other important questions unanswered. The decision also raises a number of questions for other agencies as well.  The ultimate questions in the wake of Lucia v. Securities and Exchange Commission may be whether and to what extent the SEC (and even perhaps other agencies) will continue to use administrative processes to pursue enforcement action. The Court’s opinion in the case can be found here.
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In a long line of cases, the U.S Supreme Court has grappled with the question of who can be held liable under the federal securities laws for fraudulent misrepresentations. Most recently, in the Janus Funds case, the Court has said that only a “maker” of a misrepresentation can be held liable in a private securities lawsuit. On June 18, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a writ of certiorari to examine whether a person who did not “make” a misrepresentation can nevertheless be held liable under the securities laws on a theory of scheme liability.

The case involves an SEC enforcement action in which the defendant, Francis Lorenzo, sent prospective investors emails at the direction of his boss and with content that he had not created. Lorenzo’s actions were held insufficient to support fraudulent statement liability because he did not “make” the misrepresentations, but Lorenzo nevertheless was held liable for the misrepresentations on a scheme liability theory. The case presents an interesting opportunity for the Court to consider the requirements to establish scheme liability and in particular to determine whether a financial misrepresentation alone is sufficient to support a scheme liability claim. The Supreme Court’s June 18, 2018 order granting the writ of certiorari can be found here.
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supreme courtOctober 3, 2016 is the first Monday in October, and that means that on that date the U.S. Supreme Court, as it has on the first Monday of every October since 1917, will begin its new term. While the Court will begin its term this year as it traditionally has in the recent past, it will also be operating on an unusual basis. For the first time in almost 30 years, the Supreme Court will begin its new term will only eight justices.
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