Monday, February 20, 2006

Judge Wrestles Brontosauraus

Sometimes Judges lambast Defendants, and sometimes they lambast Plaintiffs, so say what you will, but the Nugget prides itself in being an equal-opportunity-reporter-of-lambasting. So pull up a seat, get comfy, and check out Judge Lewis A. Kaplan’s (S.D.N.Y.) conclusion in the Parmalat securites class action after partially granting/denying BoA's motion to dismiss.

“The Court wishes to comment on the extraordinary burden that plaintiffs have placed on the Court and all of the parties to this case. The SAC (second amended complaint) is 389 pages and 1,323 paragraphs long - certainly the very antithesis of the "short and plain statement of the claim" that the authors of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure had in mind. Naturally, the Court is well aware of the fact that the PSLRA and Rule 9(b) require particularity in pleading some aspects of plaintiffs' claims, thus requiring a more expansive complaint than the one- and two-page form complaints appended to the Federal Rules. It is quite aware also that this is a particularly complicated case.”

“Nevertheless, having struggled through this brontosaurus of a pleading, the Court doubts that a complaint even approaching this length was needed. Indeed, it is concerned that the complexity and length of the pleading may not serve the interests of the alleged class. It already has delayed, and may continue to delay, resolution of the action. It may well multiply the extent and cost of discovery. It has required, and may continue to require, attention to claims against defendants who may be unlikely ever to make any meaningful contribution to settlement or payment of any judgment. And if this case ever were tried to a jury, the potential for confusion and the difficulties of comprehension would be epic in proportions. If indeed the grievous and extensive fraud alleged by plaintiffs actually occurred, there doubtless are ways to focus more on the forest and less on every single tree.”

Sort of reminds you of this recent Nugget article, doesn’t it? Plus, this isn't the first time Judge Kaplan has criticized the length of the Parmalat complaint. Oh, and by the way, bet you didn’t know that there never was such a thing as a Brontosaurus, did you? It’s true, see here and here. Unless you count the one filed in SDNY that is....

You can read In re Parmalat, issued February 9, 2006, at 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5419.

Nugget: “Should there ever be a fee application in this case, the efficiency and dispatch with which counsel have handled the case are likely to be prominent considerations.”

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