2008 Year in Review: Selected Federal Securities Litigation Developments

February 01, 2009

This is our inaugural annual review of selected decisions from the United States Courts of Appeal addressing private actions under the federal securities laws. We summarize key decisions analyzing claims by private litigants under Sections 10(b), 14(a), and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Sections 11, 12, and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933.

It goes without saying that 2008 was, in many ways, an historic year. The financial markets suffered major disruptions; venerable financial institutions closed and merged; investors in mutual funds, hedge funds, equities, and bonds lost money; a money market fund "broke the buck"; the auction rate market seized; billions of dollars seem to have disappeared in what is alleged to have been the largest and longest-running Ponzi scheme ever; and the federal government pumped hundreds of billions of dollars into the financial sector in an unprecedented effort to prevent further deterioration.

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