Soto v. Hensler et al
MEMORANDUM ORDER re Judge Burke's 32 Memorandum Opinion is ADOPTED and the Anackers' objections are OVERRULED. Signed by Judge Leonard P. Stark on 11/9/17. (ntl)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE
IN RE HORSEHEAD HOLDING
CORP. SECURITIES LITIGATION
C.A. No. 16-292-LPS-CJB
WHEREAS, on February 14, 2017, Magistrate Judge Burke issued a Memorandum
Opinion (D.I. 32) ("Opinion") and Order (D.I. 33) consolidating C.A. No. 16-292-LPS-CJB and
C.A. No. 16-369-LPS-CJB, designating the group of Dyson Capital Management Ltd. ("Dyson")
and Raymond Cook ("Cook") as Lead Plaintiff, and approving Lead Counsel and Liaison
WHEREAS, on February 28, 2017, John and Mary Elizabeth Moring Anacker (the
"Anackers") objected to the Opinion (D.I. 35), and specifically objected to Judge Burke's
determination that Dyson and Cook are the appropriate Lead Plaintiff, contending that Dyson has
-not proven that it has standing;
WHEREAS, on March 23, 2017, Lead Plaintiff Dyson and Cook responded to the
Anackers' objections (D.I. 41);
WHEREAS, the Court has considered the Opinion and Order for clear errors of law and
clearly erroneous findings of fact, see Leader Techs., Inc. v. Facebook, Inc., 719 F. Supp. 2d 373,
375 (D. Del. 2010); 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(l)(A); Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(a), and has reviewed
discretionary decisions for abuse of discretion, see Quantum Loyalty Sys. Inc. v. TPG Rewards
Inc., 2012 WL 1134779, at *1 (D. Del. Apr. 4, 2012);
NOW THEREFORE, IT rs HEREBY ORDERED that:
The Anackers' objections (D.I. 35) are OVERRULED and Judge Burke's Opinion
(D.I. 32) is ADOPTED. Judge Burke's Order (D.I. 33) remains undisturbed.
Under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act ("PSLRA"), the Court
exercises its discretion to determine the "most adequate plaintiff' by proceeding in two steps.
OF! Risk Arbitrages v. Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., 63 F. Supp. 3d 394, 399 (D. Del. 2014).
First, the Court identifies the presumptive lead plaintiff, that is the person or group that: (1) "filed
the complaint or made a motion" to serve as lead plaintiff; (2) "has the largest financial interest
in the relief sought;" and (3) "otherwise satisfies" Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. 15 U.S.C.
§ 78u-4(a)(3)(B)(iii)(I)(aa)-(cc). Second, the Court determines whether that presumption has
been rebutted. To rebut, "a member of the purported plaintiff class" must provide "proof' that
the presumptive lead plaintiff "will not fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class" or
"is subject to unique defenses that render such plaintiff incapable of adequately representing the
class." Id. § 78u-4(a)(3)(B)(iii)(Il)(aa)-(bb).
Within this framework, Judge Burke reasonably determined that Cook and Dyson
are, together, the presumptive Lead Plaintiff. Cook and Dyson (1) "filed the requisite motio_ns
within the appropriate time frame" (D.I. 32 at 8); (2) together "have the largest financial interest
in the suits," as measured under any rubric supplied by the parties (id.); and (3) "appear to satisfy
the requirements of Rule 23," as they present "claims and legal theories [that] are not 'markedly
different' from those advanced by the putative class," "make out a prima facie case of adequacy,"
and do not present concerns as to their ability to fulfill, as a group, the responsibilities of a Lead
Plaintiff (id. at 10-13).
Judge Burke then reasonably determined that the Anackers did not come forth
with sufficient proof that Cook and Dyson, as presumptive Lead Plaintiff, will not adequately
represent the class. Judge Burke found that there was not a manifest conflict between statements
Cook and Dyson made in the Horsehead bankruptcy proceedings and allegations made in the
complaint here. (See id. at 16-18) Judge Burke also found that "there is insufficient evidence
that Cook and Dyson have been 'cobbled together"' as a group simply to gain control of the
litigation. (Id. at 19) Finally, Judge Burke addressed the Anackers' argument that Dyson lacks
standing. Judge Burke noted that "at this stage, it is the Anackers' burden, not Dyson's, 'to show
that standing will be a legitimate issue' so as to rebut the presumption that Cook and Dyson will
be an adequate lead plaintiff." (Id. at 22) Judge Burke further found that "the Anackers d[id] not
put forward any of their own 'proof as to what type of entity Dyson is, how it manages its client
funds or what relationship it has with Horsehead stock." (Id.) While "[a]ll these missing details
could end up being important to the standing inquiry," "this lack of sufficient proof against the
Anackers" resulted in the Anackers having failed to rebut the presumption that Cook and Dyson
are adequate. (Id. at 24)
The Anackers object to Judge Burke's treatment of standing, contending that
"[t]he burden was on Dyson Capital to demonstrate its standing" because "[t]he issue of standing
is antecedent to the jurisdiction of federal courts." (D.I. 35at1-2) In particular, the Anackers
contend that "under established law an investment manager cannot simply claim the financial
interests of its clients as its own to demonstrate an injury-in-fact." (Id. at 1) The Anackers argue
that properly placing the burden on Dyson, an investment manager, would reveal that Dyson
cannot establish standing because "none of the materials.[of record] ... provide any indication
that Dyson Capital held any beneficial interest in the shares purchased, suffered any injury-in-fact
as a result of the stock's price decline, or has the legal authority to sue on behalf of the clients for
which it purchased the stock." (Id. at 4)
The Court finds no error in Judge Burke's exercise of discretion to appoint Dyson
and Cook as Lead Plaintiff under the framework established by the PSLRA. 1 Although Dyson
may later be required to affirmatively establish that it has standing, that is not a task for this point
in the case. Rather, the issue for now is only to identify the Lead Plaintiff; the PSLRA clearly
sets out the structure for that analysis, and Judge Burke followed it. See OF!, 63 F. Supp. 3d at
399. Accordingly, Judge Burke appropriately considered the Anackers' standing challenge as
rebuttal to the determination that Dyson and Cook are the presumptive Lead Plaintiff under the
criteria set forth by the PSLRA- rather than affirmatively requiring Dyson to demonstrate at this
point it has standing. See id. at 402-03 (addressing standing challenge as rebuttal).
In their objections, the Anackers argue primarily that Dyson failed to establish
standing. But, as discussed above, in connection with the Lead Plaintiff inquiry, it is the
Anackers' burden to prove the presence of any standing deficiencies or show that the standing
question subjects Dyson to unique defenses that render it incapable of adequately representing
the class. The Anackers have failed to do so.
Judge Burke considered the Anackers' contention that Dyson does not have
The purpose of a lead plaintiff under the PSLRA is "to ensure that securities litigation
[i]s investor-driven, as opposed to lawyer-driven." In re Initial Pub. Offering Sec. Litig., 214
F.R.D. 117, 123 (S.D.N.Y. 2002) (citing S. Rep. No. 104-98 at 4 (1995)). To accomplish that
goal, the lead plaintiff selects and retains counsel to represent the class. See id. (citing 15 U.S.C.
§ 78u--4(a)(3)(B)(v)). "Nowhere is it suggested that the concept of 'lead plaintiff was intended
to be coterminous with 'named plaintiffs' or 'class representatives,"' suggesting, thus, that the
lead plaintiff may not need to have standing to sue on all causes of action pursued by class
members. Id.; see also In re Oxford Health Plans, Inc., 191 F.R.D. 369, 378 (S.D.N.Y. 2000).
standing, reasonably found that the Anackers failed to carry their burden, and noted that Dyson
submitted some evidence on the issue. Judge Burke acknowledged that there are missing details
about Dyson that may ultimately be dispositive; that is, Judge Burke recognized that Dyson may
not have standing. Judge Burke considered the Anackers' position and reasonably determined
that, despite some uncertainty, Dyson is adequately representative of the class. That the
Anackers can point to cases in which other courts weighed these considerations differently to
determine that an investor manager, such as Dyson, faced significant enough standing issues to
preclude appointment as lead plaintiff does not persuade the Court that Judge Burke abused his
discretion in selecting Cook and Dyson. (See D.I. 35 at 6-7)
While the Anackers suggest that the issue before the Court implicates jurisdiction
(see, e.g., D.I. 35 at 1), the Court disagrees. It is undisputed that Cook has standing (as do other
members of the purported class, presumably including the Anackers).
Given the detailed reasoning provided in the Opinion, the Court finds it
unnecessary to address the Anackers' objection any further. 2
November 9, 2017
HON. LE NARD P. STARK
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
As alternative relief, the Anackers request "limited discovery to determine whether
Dyson Capital has standing to represent the class." (D.I. 35 at 2; see also id. at 7) As Dyson and
Cook point out, this request is untimely. (See D.I. 41 at 3 n.2) Furthermore, given the Court's
analysis, there is no possibility that the discovery sought would alter the Court's resolution of the
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