Shareholders of Halliburton filed a class action lawsuit arguing that Halliburton falsified its financial statements and misrepresented projected earnings, invoking a “fraud on the market” theory to demonstrate class reliance on Halliburton’s statements. The “fraud on the market” theory assumes that investors have relied on any material misstatements when they purchase a security. The federal district court certified the class and did not allow Halliburton to introduce evidence that the statements did not affect its stock prices. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed. Will the Supreme Court continue to recognize the fraud on the market theory? If so, will the Court allow introduction of evidence that a defendant’s statements did not affect the price of its stock to rebut the presumption of reliance?
Federal convict Conrad Lord Black argued at National Review Online last fall in "Blind Justice" that America's system of broad prosecutorial discretion routinely undermines defendants’ constitutional rights -- largely through a criminal justice system that's designed in acquiescence to this discretion by those who fear being seen as "soft on crime.” The system's defenders respond that criminal defendants enjoy numerous and generous constitutional protections (some at the expense of a textual constitutional reading), and that prosecutorial discretion -- though perhaps subject to discrete, if infamous, abuse -- is overwhelmingly used properly against the legitimately guilty. With the rise of debates over the role of the federal government in criminal law, these divergent views will be debated thoughtfully by our expert panelists on this previously recorded conference call.
True or false: attorney-client communications, simply speaking, are privileged? False, both under law and—more importantly—in practice. That answer may surprise clients and even many lawyers. If it does, these clients have a problem: sensitive communications transmitted on the assumption of confidentiality may one day be ordered produced under a multitude of exceptions that now exist under the law. As the law has developed to erode the privilege, lawyers and clients—and especially insurance companies and their lawyers—may decide to operate on the assumption they will one day be compelled to produce their communications. They may prefer to avoid frank communication out of concern for creating written communications that could be troublesome in future litigation... [Read more!]
Over the last thirty years, the number of federal criminal laws has increased by one-third. This expansion, combined with the fact that many of these laws are broadly written and lack traditional criminal mens rea requirements, has given rise to a debate about "over-criminalization." The federal government's raids of Gibson Guitar factories intensified the debate, drew national attention to the issue, and prompted calls for reform. Critics of these developments argue that they are inconsistent with federalism principles, undermine individual liberty, and threaten our nation’s prosperity by providing another major way for the federal government to regulate the private sector. Skeptics dispute various aspects of these criticisms and argue that much of modern federal criminal law provides essential tools for maintaining order, protecting consumers, and reining in fraud. Has over-criminalization had an impact on our economy? What reforms could Congress consider? How does the public perceive these issues and proposals for reform? On this previously recorded conference, the experts explore these questions and share the results of a nationwide public opinion survey.