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Securities Litigation: The Next Booming Practice Area?

Publication Date: 
July 30, 2008
The Wall Street Journal Law Blog
Ashby Jones

Professor Joseph A. Grundfest, co-director of the Rock Center for Corporate Governance, is referenced in a Wall Street Journal Law Blog post about a "mini-boom" in securities class actions:

The fact that there is a boom is based in part on a new report released by Cornerstone Research and Stanford Law’s Securities Class Action Clearinghouse. The report describes a mini-boom in securities litigation, especially those pertaining to the beleaguered financial-services sector. In the first six months of 2008, according to the study, the financial services sector produced 63 class-action filings, more than the total number from all of last year.

“Pretty much all of the big players have been sued,” Stanford law professor Joe Grundfest (pictured) told Legal Times. His advice to lawyers: “Tool up on your knowledge of credit markets.”


Grundfest downplays the significance of the last year’s Tellabs ruling to the current crop of suits, feeling that a case with tough facts (from the defense’s perspective) a year ago might still survive a motion to dismiss. He concedes, though, that the recent behavior of the overall market may aide defense attorneys. Given that financial institutions tanked in quick succession, he feels plaintiffs may have more trouble demonstrating that losses were the result of deception.

“These losses were market-wide phenomena,” Grundfest says. “The fact that a lot of people did not understand the risks they were taking will be used to argue that mistakes were made but fraud was not committed.”