As word, web-wide, leaks out -- from the live-blawgers -- of the "Kentucky windage", via the questions asked by various Supreme Court Justices at oral argument this morning at 11 am EST, I will add word of the same, with analysis, here.
Per Oyez.com's fine United States Supreme Court web-collection:
. . . .Investors brought a securities fraud class action suit against Merck & Co. in a New Jersey federal district court. They alleged the company had misled investors about the drug Vioxx's safety and commercial viability. Merck moved to dismiss the claim arguing that the investors had been put on "inquiry notice" more than two years before they filed suit, and thus the statute of limitations had run. The federal district court agreed and dismissed the suit.
On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed. It recognized that under the "inquiry notice" standard, plaintiffs are put on notice for the purpose of the statute of limitations in federal securities fraud litigation at the "possibility" of wrongdoing. Moreover, the court held that the investors had not been put on "inquiry notice" more than two years before they filed suit, and thus the statute of limitation had not run.
Did the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit err in its application of the "inquiry notice" standard?. . . .
The answer to this inquiry will likely also impact the statute of limitations defenses being raised in the Hassan-Cox securities fraud class action (while leading Pharmacia -- an early 2000s-era case background, here, and earlier background may be found, by clicking the Celebrex image, at right), called Alaska Electrical Pension Fund, et al. v. Hassan, Cox, Pharmacia, et al. (3d Circ. Appeal No. 07-4500). Additional action on that matter has been stayed, pending the outcome of this Merck appeal, filed as a writ of certorari, back in January 2009.