Law360 Interviews Shook Partner to Explain Second Circuit Ruling’s Impact on Class Actions

A Law360 article titled "2nd Circ. Clarifies Cert. Standard for Stock-Drop Actions," written by Dunstan Prial, reports on the case: In re: Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The Second Circuit has ruled that a court applied the wrong standard of proof when it certified a class of shareholders accusing Goldman Sachs of fraud; the ruling should help clarify the standard needed to rebut allegations that a company’s misstatements directly affected its stock price.

“At least in the Second Circuit, that does provide the district judges with guidance that they need,” said Shook Public Policy Practice Co-Chair Victor E. Schwartz. The Second Circuit is over many district courts, and some key ones. Those district judges have to look to Second Circuit opinions for the clarity they need in complex class action litigations.”

Schwartz told Law360 that clarification of the standard of proof is vital at the certification process because once a securities fraud suit is certified as a class action, most are settled because few companies have the time or the resources to pursue it to the end.

“Everyone knows this fact even though you’ll not find it in any opinion of law. Once a judge certifies these things, it’s over. The checkbooks come out. They don’t fight class actions once they’re certified,” Schwartz explained. “So that certification decision is so paramount, and the judges need guidance as to when to make a certification with these presumptions, which are very tricky.”

The Public Policy Practice Group focuses on integrating litigation, government affairs and public relations. Schwartz also has an active appellate practice and advises product manufacturers on liability prevention, litigation and public relations issues.

The case is In re: Goldman Sachs Group Inc., case number 16-250, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.