Litigation Forum: Skadden votes ‘foe’

John Malpas, Legal Week’s editor-in-chief, reviews his publication’s recent Litigation Forum in this post on his Editor’s Blog. He there quotes Andrew L. Sandler of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP who didn’t pull his punches during the panel session on the topic of whether class actions are friends or foes: “In the US it is more the exception than the rule that members of the class end up with meaningful recovery.”

WV&Z here adds the reference Sandler made to the approach to taking jurisdiction by US courts - ’schizophrenic’ and Vivendi was mentioned - and the likening of importing US-style class actions into Europe as ‘McDonald’s to Paris’.

Securities class actions are “flawed, subject to rampant abuse and are lawyer-generated for the purpose of large fees”. On the upside (depending on which side of the fence you’re on), he did cite the familiar list of reasons why here the “real danger is somewhat limited”, among them the lack of contingency fees, opt-in versus opt-out and cost distribution.

What when where: RiskMetrics Group - the new parent of Institutional Shareholder Services (renamed ISS Governance Services) and its Securities Class Action Services - hosts a two-day conference for its clients in Paris this week, on Wednesday 3 (Governance) and Thursday 4 October (Risk). (event details)

One of the Governance presentations is on the topic of the ‘Increasing Role European Institutional Investors are Playing in Securities Class Actions’, by a panel of among others Frédérik-Karel Canoy of the Association des Actionnaires Actifs, Stuart M. Grant of Grant & Eisenhofer PA and David Paterson of the UK’s National Association of Pension Funds.

Other speakers include Dr. Antiono Borges of Goldman Sachs International and the European Corporate Governance Institute and Peter Montagnon of the Association of British Insurers.

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