M & A Law Prof Blog

Editor: Brian JM Quinn
Boston College Law School

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Changes in the shareholder litigation landscape

Boris Feldman at Wilson Sonsini points out in a short paper that the bipolar world of shareholder litigation with familiar players and strategies has changed beneth our feet:

Those patterns have been disrupted and perhaps discarded in recent years. The reason should not be surprising: the bipolar world of shareholder litigation is no more. For many years, the dominant plaintiffs’ securities law firm was Milberg Weiss. After it split into East and West coast firms, they nevertheless together remained the 800-pound gorilla of the shareholder litigation jungle. A few other firms earned a seat at the table and became powers in their own right. But the fundamental patterns of behavior continued. A defense lawyer could predict, with some confidence, the likely response to this or that tactical move. Moreover, the dominant plaintiffs’ firms exercised some discipline on their side of the curtain; they had substantial influence over small firms and parvenus

All that?  Gone.  Feldman points out some trends, some of which we have previously noted here at landmarks in this new period.  They include: 1. Venue wars and multi-forum litigation problems. That was the subject of a recent paper of mine; 2. Demand letters in advance of shareholder litigation; 3. Ubiquitous derivative suits; 4. Automatic merger suits - Steven Davidoff's recent paper observes that in recent years in excess of 80% of mergers are accompanied by shareholder litigation; and finally, 5. Section 220 books & records actions are now more common, probably because judges have been pushing litigants to go that route.

-bjmq

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/mergers/2012/01/changes-in-the-shareholder-litigation-landscape.html

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