The securities law blogospheres may have lit up last December after the Nugget reported Judge Kent A. Jordan’s (D. Del.) comment that "it is time to decide which of the plaintiffs' law firms will win the money race," but it turns out Judge James L. Robart (W.D. Wash.) had already beat everyone to the punch -- by nearly five months (the opinion popped up online yesterday).
You see, in deciding the lead plaintiff issue in the Watchguard Technologies securities class action, Judge Robart (who refers to proposed lead plaintiffs as "contestants") said that "three contestants" "are vying for the lead plaintiff position," so "the court now turns to the rules that govern this competition." "As the leading Ninth Circuit authority observes, ‘this is not a beauty contest.’" Instead, as Judge Robart put it, "it is a contest over money, and which contestant stands to gain more of it." Well, OK then.
The Nugget HATES generalizations about judges based on their appointments alone, as it is a simplistic, naïve, and downright foolish practice. But some (not the Nugget of course) might point out that both Judges are recent Bush appointees. Whether or not that means anything at all, well, you can decide. After all, Judge Michael M. Baylson (E.D. Pa.) is a Bush appointee too, and look what he’s saying. So is Judge Diane S. Sykes (7th Cir.), and she was hardly hostile in her latest opinion.
You can read In re Watchguard, issued July 13, 2005, at 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40923.
Nugget: "The PSLRA contemplates a quick selection of a lead plaintiff near the outset of a case, without opportunity for discovery on likely damages or losses."