Monday, June 21, 2021

Yoga, Materiality, and the 2021 National Business Law Scholars Conference

So much going on today . . . .   Rather than choose one focus, I will offer three.  Each is near and dear to my heart in one way or another.

Happy International Yoga Day to all.  This year's theme is "Yoga for well-being" or "Yoga for wellness." The Hindustan Times reports: "On International Yoga Day on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said yoga became a source of inner strength for people and a medium to transform negativity to creativity amid the coronavirus pandemic." The United Nations's website similarly adds that:

The message of Yoga in promoting both the physical and mental well-being of humanity has never been more relevant. A growing trend of people around the world embracing Yoga to stay healthy and rejuvenated and to fight social isolation and depression has been witnessed during the pandemic. Yoga is also playing a significant role in the psycho-social care and rehabilitation of COVID-19 patients in quarantine and isolation. It is particularly helpful in allaying their fears and anxiety.

Yes!  I am so grateful for yoga, including asanas and meditation, and other mindfulness practices at this time--for their positive effects on me, my faculty and staff colleagues, and my students.  ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ  Namaste, y'all.

I know from her Twitter feed today that co-blogger Ann Lipton will have much to say on today's publication of the U.S. Supreme Court's opinion in Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., at al. v. Arkansas Teacher Retirement System, et al.  I will just note here two of the more prominent statements made by the Court in this Section 10(b)/Rule 10b-5 class action.  They relate to the common ground between materiality determinations (a doctrinal love of mine and Ann's), which are matters for resolution at trial, and the establishment of a price impact of alleged misstatements and omissions, which is a matter for consideration at the class certification stage.  The Court first concurs with the parties' agreement "that courts may assess the generic nature of a misrepresentation at class certification even though it also may be relevant to materiality, which Amgen reserves for the merits."  Then, in footnote 2, the Court states the following:

We recognize that materiality and price impact are overlapping concepts and that the evidence relevant to one will almost always be relevant to the other. But โ€œa district court may not use the overlap to refuse to consider the evidence.โ€ In re Allstate, 966 F. 3d, at 608. Instead, the district court must use the evidence to decide the price impact issue โ€œwhile resisting the temptation to draw what may be obvious inferences for the closely related issues that must be left for the merits, including materiality.โ€ Id., at 609. 

I am not a litigator, but it would seem to be a challenge to thread that needle . . . .

Finally, I want to note the successful conclusion of the 2021 National Business Law Scholars Conference last Friday.  Despite our best efforts, there were a few technical glitches, fixed by the University of San Diego School of Law, the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, and the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, each of which assumed unplanned roles as meeting hosts for one of our sessions.  (Thanks, again, to Jordan Barry, Mike Simkovic, and Will Thomas for making those arrangements.)  But the range and quality of presenters and projects was impressive, and the sense of community among the attendees was--as it always is--a highlight of this conference.  The conference tends to bring together a spectrum of international business law teacher/scholars at different stages of their academic careers, all of whom contribute to the productive, supportive, ethos of the event.  My business law colleague George Kuney described the conference well in his opening remarks.

I am grateful to so many at UT Law--including especially George (who directs our business law center) and the faculty and staff who pitched in to host virtual meeting rooms with me.  Their support was invaluable in hosting a virtual version of the conference two years in a row.  I also want to share appreciation for the members of the National Business Law Scholars Conference planning committee (a shout-out to each of you, Afra, Tony, Eric, Steven, Kristin, Elizabeth, Jeff, and Megan) for their collaboration and encouragement, as well as the abundant trust they placed in me these past two years. 

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." ~ Helen Keller

Conferences, Joan Heminway, Securities Regulation, Wellness | Permalink


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