Matthew O’Hara Quoted in Article on "Fraud-on-the-Market" Case Involving Biotech Industry

June 13, 2012

Matthew J. O'Hara, a Partner in the Chicago office of Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, was quoted in the article, “High Court to Hear Amgen's 'Fraud-on-the-Market' Case,” which appeared in the June 12, 2012, issue of BioWorld. The article discusses Amgen Inc. v. Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds, a case involving the question of whether companies and individuals accused of securities fraud should be permitted to challenge class certification by showing that the alleged misrepresentations were not material. The U.S. Supreme Court has granted certiorari in the case, which is on appeal from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Plaintiffs in the case allege that defendants, a biotech company and its officers, engaged in fraud on the market when they issued misleading statements about the safety of two of the company’s drugs between 2004 and 2007. This allegedly inflated the value of the company’s stock, which ultimately fell once the “truth" was disclosed in 2007. The district court refused to consider, before certifying the class, evidence submitted by defendants to the effect that between 2004 and 2007, “the market was well aware of potential safety concerns with the . . . drugs.”

As described in the article, the Ninth Circuit found that “whether specific information is material to a company's share price is a merits question that shouldn't be considered as part of class certification.” Said Mr. O’Hara, “If the Supreme Court decides that materiality should be considered as part of class certification, it would hand industry a ‘potent weapon’ to defend against shareholder suits, especially if the plaintiffs have to bear the burden of proving a company's alleged misrepresentations affected the stock price.”

Mr. O’Hara concentrates his practice in the litigation and trial of complex commercial matters in both federal and state courts, and at the trial and appellate levels. He has tried cases involving antitrust, the federal securities laws, breach of fiduciary duty, trade secrets, trademark infringement, breach of contract, license agreements, executive employment, warranties under the Uniform Commercial Code and criminal defense. Mr. O’Hara also litigates cases involving private shareholder and partnership disputes, the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act and a variety of other commercial matters.

Access the full online issue of the article, “High Court to Hear Amgen's 'Fraud-on-the-Market' Case.”

Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP is a national law firm with approximately 500 attorneys providing coordinated legal services across the United States and in London. Hinshaw lawyers partner with businesses, governmental entities and individuals to help them effectively address legal challenges and seize opportunities. Founded in 1934, the firm represents clients in complex litigation and in regulatory and transactional matters.