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Fenwick & West was founded in 1972 in the heart of Silicon Valley—before “Silicon Valley” existed—by four visionary lawyers who left a top-tier New York law firm to pursue their shared belief that technology would revolutionize the business world and to pioneer the legal work for those technological innovations. In order to be most effective, they decided they needed to move to a location close to primary research and technology development. These four attorneys opened their first office in downtown Palo Alto, and Fenwick became one of the first technology law firms in the world.  MORE >

From our founding in 1972, Fenwick has been committed to promoting diversity and inclusion both within our firm and throughout the legal profession. For almost four decades, the firm has actively promoted an open and inclusive work environment and committed significant resources towards improving our diversity efforts at every level.  MORE >

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Fenwick & West handles significant cross-border legal and business issues for a wide range of technology and life sciences who operate internationally..  MORE >

At Fenwick, we are proud of our commitment to the community and to our culture of making a difference in the lives of individuals and organizations in the communities where we live and work. We recognize that providing legal services is not only an essential part of our professional responsibility, but also an excellent opportunity for our attorneys to gain valuable practical experience, learn new areas of the law and contribute to the community.  MORE >

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  • Nearly 20 percent of Fenwick partners are ranked by Chambers
  • Consistently ranked among the top 10 law firms in the U.S. for diversity
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Securities Litigation Alert: Stoneridge Investment Partners LLC v. Scientific-Atlanta, Inc.

On October 9, 2007, the United States Supreme Court heard oral argument in Stoneridge Investment Partners, LLC v. Scientific-Atlanta, Inc., which centers on how wide a net plaintiffs may cast in securities class action suits. In particular, the issue in Stoneridge is whether shareholders can bring suit against third parties who are alleged to have made no misstatements themselves, but rather are claimed to have engaged in deceptive conduct in furtherance of a fraudulent scheme (i.e., by supposedly helping the issuer make false and misleading statements).

The bulk of the justices' questioning focused on two broad issues: 1) whether there exists an implied private right of action under Section 10(b) to pursue damages for deceptive conduct intended to further a fraudulent scheme (or whether enforcement of such a cause of action was limited to the government); and 2) whether, and to what extent allegedly deceptive conduct by a party that did not issue a misstatement could be differentiated from "aiding and abetting" liability, which was eliminated by the Supreme Court's decision in Central Bank, N.A., v. First Interstate Bank, 511 U.S. 164 (1994).

A number of justices appeared reluctant to find or create a private right of action for the deceptive practices at issue, deeming such action to be more properly in the realm of Congress. Several justices also questioned whether the deceptive practices alleged were in actuality aiding and abetting claims that were barred under Central Bank, and expressed skepticism as to whether any meaningful distinction could be drawn between the two. Only Justice Ginsberg seemed to suggest that there may be a third category of liability that falls between primary liability and aiding and abetting liability, that nonetheless remains actionable by shareholders under Section 10(b). (Justice Breyer recused himself from the case.)

Kevin P. Muck, Co-Chair, Securities Litigation Group,, 415.875.2384

Emmett C. Stanton, Co-Chair, Securities Litigation Group,, 650.335.7175

Felix S. Lee, Associate, Litigation Group,, 650.335.7123

©2007 Fenwick & West LLP. All Rights Reserved.

This update is intended by Fenwick & West LLP to summarize recent developments in the law. It is not intended, and should not be regarded, as legal advice. Readers who have particular questions about these issues should seek advice of counsel.