For over 20 years, Susan has represented public companies and their officers and directors in a variety of litigation matters, including securities class actions, shareholder derivative suits and merger related litigation. She also routinely advises clients on electronic discovery best practices. She is a frequent speaker and author on the latest trends in securities litigation and class action practices and strategies in general. Susan is also the editor of the firm’s Annual Report on Securities Litigation.
Susan received her undergraduate degree, summa cum laude, from Vanderbilt University and her J.D. from Vanderbilt University School of Law, where she was the Baker-Worthington Scholarship recipient, on the Dean’s List, a member of the Moot Court Board, student articles editor for the Vanderbilt Law Review, and was elected to the Order of the Coif.
- Successful in achieving early dismissal or substantial limiting of claims on behalf of a variety of public company clients and corporate officers in securities fraud and derivative cases.
- Successful in defeating motions for expedited discovery and requests for injunctive relief in breach of fiduciary duty class actions regarding a proposed merger.
- Counsel of record in Stoneridge Investment Partners LLC v. Scientific-Atlanta, Inc. and Motorola, Inc., before the U.S. District Court, Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court. In what has been called the most important securities case in a generation, the Supreme Court affirmed in Stoneridge the prior decision of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, holding that so-called “scheme liability” claims under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 were properly dismissed with prejudice. See 522 U.S. 148 (2008). Specifically, the Court held that the implied right of action previously recognized under Section 10(b) does not reach non-speaking defendants where the investors at issue could not and did not rely on any statements or representations made by those defendants in their stock purchase or sale decisions.
- Successfully opposed class certification motions on behalf of companies and their officers and directors in putative securities class actions. See, e.g., Richard Beach v. Healthways, Inc. et al., Case No. 3:08-0569 (M.D. Tenn. Oct. 5, 2009); In re HealthSouth Securities Litigation, 213 F.R.D. 447 (N.D. Ala. 2003).
Over the past 30 years, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued a series of opinions which make abundantly clear the court’s view that a district court must engage in a “rigorous” analysis of whether the “predominance” requirement for class certification can be satisfied.
August 20, 2013
On February 27, 2013, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in Amgen Inc. v. Connecticut Retirement Plans & Trust Funds, 133 S. Ct. 1184 (2013).1 The Court affirmed the Ninth Circuit's conclusion that a plaintiff need not prove the materiality of the alleged misstatements in a securities class action to certify a class of inves-tors.2 The Court likewise ruled that rebuttal evidence from the defendants demonstrating a lack of materiality need not be considered at class certification3 The plaintiffs' bar was quick to hail this decision as a victory for their side, but a closer examination of the opinion reveals that the issue decided by the Court was a narrow one and reflets an argument that is seldom made by the defendants in opposition to class certification. Accordingly, it remains to be seen whether this decision will have a meaningful impact on how class certification issues ae litigated in the vast majority of securities cases.
June 13, 2013
This advisory discusses the Supreme Court’s narrow ruling in Amgen Inc. v. Connecticut Retirement Plans & Trust Funds. The Court affirmed the Ninth Circuit’s conclusion that a plaintiff need not prove the materiality of the alleged misstatements in a securities class action to certify a class of investors. The Court likewise ruled that rebuttal evidence from the defendants demonstrating a lack of materiality need not be considered at class certification. The plaintiffs’ bar was quick to hail this decision as a victory for their side, but a closer examination of the opinion reveals that the issue decided by the Court was a narrow one and reflects an argument that is seldom made by the defendants in opposition to class certification. Accordingly, it remains to be seen whether this decision will have a meaningful impact on how class certification issues are litigated in the vast majority of securities cases.
March 1, 2013
This advisory discusses how, on June 11, 2012, the Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal that will present the Court with the opportunity to revisit the fraud-on-the-market theory outlined in Basic Inc. v. Levinson. In Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds v. Amgen Inc., the District Court and the Court of Appeals both held that (1) a class of investors could be certified based on a narrow reading of the requirements for invoking the fraud-on-the-market theory and (2) the issue of whether the presumption of reliance may be rebutted by defendants will not be considered at class certification. Class certification is generally viewed as a critical juncture in the life of a securities case and the inability to obtain class certification often ends the case. With the Amgen appeal, the Supreme Court will be asked to rule on two important issues that could make it harder for securities cases to be certified.
June 28, 2012
July 6, 2011
- Admitted to practice in Georgia