August 31, 2011
Frank Quattrone is Still A Defendant
Posted by Christine Hurt

Believe it or not, there is still ongoing litigation over analyst reports clouded by conflicts of interest by former superstar investment banker, now superstar consultant, Frank Quattrone from about a decade ago.  You may remember that the DOJ tried Quattrone twice for allocating hot IPO shares to clients to get investment banking business, then decided not to retry a third time after a settlement was reached.  (Blog post backstory here.)  This week, a district court judge refused to grant the defense a motion for summary judgment in a case alleging 10b-5 liability for knowingly false statements in AOL research reports prepared by analysts Quattrone may have supervised.  (Opinion available at link.)

The case seems really interesting for a number of reasons, not least of which is how long it has lingered in litigation.  First, cases against analysts were generally unsuccessful.  (Jill Fisch and Hilary Sale have a great 2003 paper on the analyst conflict cases, 88 Iowa L. Rev. 1035.)  Second, Quattrone didn't prepare the reports.  He is alleged to have used his power to get the analysts to maintain a rosy view of AOL for his own career purposes, however.  Third, the court refused to grant SJ on loss causation, and seemed to say that this defense required a Daubert hearing.  Nice.

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