[Rushtalk] the-supreme-court-may-soon-take-away-this-important-right

John A. Quayle blueoval57 at verizon.net
Sun Feb 16 18:04:21 MST 2014

At 01:05 PM 2/16/2014, Tom Matiska wrote:
>Halliburton production operations involved little asbestos.  Most 
>asbestos related liability was a previous sin they acquired through 
>the purchase of Dresser.

         Dresser Industries - the folks who made the Jeffrey diesel 
locomotives for underground coal mine usage?!? When did they acquire 
this company? Halliburton has a branch about 35 minutes from here - 
down in Greene County, east of Waynesburg (PA), off of Route 21. I've 
been past it while on my way to umpire high school baseball games.  -  jaq

>Halliburton did pay $5B into the asbestos trust fund. The other 59 
>companies involved in that trust fund aren't mentioned in the 
>article....  hmmm.... go figure... no politics here...  Tom
>From: Paf Dvorak <notmyname at thatswaytoomuch.info>
>To: rushtalk at csdco.com
>Sent: Saturday, February 15, 2014 9:26 PM
>Subject: [Rushtalk] the-supreme-court-may-soon-take-away-this-important-right
>If the controversial oil-services company Halliburton has its way, 
>then small investors may soon lose one of their most potent weapons 
>against corporate fraud: the ability to file class-action lawsuits 
>under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
>At the end of last year, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear 
>Halliburton's appeal in a class-action case brought by investors 
>against it and former CEO David Lesar for "knowingly or severely 
>recklessly misleading" the public more than a decade ago about the 
>company's liability for asbestos claims.
>Indeed, it's no exaggeration to say that the very existence of 
>securities fraud class actions hinges almost entirely on the outcome 
>of this case.
>The facts of the case
>The facts involve statements made by Halliburton in 2001 about the 
>extent of exposure to asbestos litigation assumed in its acquisition 
>of Dresser Industries.
>In January of that year, the company reported that "prospective 
>asbestos liabilities ... should have minimal adverse impact on the 
>company going forward." In August, it claimed that "asbestos 
>exposure concerns appear to be overblown." And in November, it 
>stated that "open asbestos claims will be resolved without a 
>material adverse effect on our financial position or the results of 
>Yet less than a month after the last statement, Halliburton was hit 
>with a $30 million asbestos verdict, causing investors to lose faith 
>in the company's assurances and fear the worst. Shares in the oil 
>services company proceeded to plummet, dropping by 42.7% on the day 
>of the announcement.
>The current class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of investors 
>soon thereafter and has made its way through various courts ever since.
>A critical legal wrinkle
>The specific issue before the Supreme Court is a nuanced one. 
>Halliburton isn't simply professing its innocence or asking the 
>justices to hold that it didn't mislead investors. Instead, it's 
>moving the court to bar plaintiffs from litigating the case as a 
>class action as opposed to separate lawsuits.
>On the surface, this doesn't seem like a big deal. Who cares if 
>investors have to sue Halliburton individually as opposed to as a 
>class? What difference does it make to people who didn't own 
>Halliburton stock when the alleged misrepresentations took place?
>The answer is that it makes a huge difference.
>This is because Halliburton is asking the court to overturn a legal 
>doctrine known as the "fraud on the market" theory, which creates a 
>rebuttable presumption that investors rely on statements of material 
>fact made publicly by corporate executives. Without this 
>presumption, securities fraud cases would be far too complicated to 
>litigate as class actions, leaving individual investors to fend for 
>themselves against deep-pocketed corporations.
>The implications of this would be considerable. Most importantly, 
>for nearly three decades, the securities laws have been predicated 
>on both public and private enforcement -- the former by the SEC and 
>Justice Department and the latter by private class-action lawsuits. 
>Without the latter, in turn, the market would lose a critical 
>overseer and, one can only assume, be far more susceptible to deceit.
>Paf Dvorak
>Rushtalk mailing list
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