The Supreme Court just announced that Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. has reentered the closely watched case of Stoneridge Investment Partners v. Scientific-Atlanta, which will be argued Oct. 9. He and Justice Stephen Breyer had recused in the case, undoubtedly because they owned stock in Cisco Systems Inc., the parent company of Scientific-Atlanta, according to their financial disclosure forms. The news almost certainly means that Roberts has sold the stock to cure the conflict of interest.
In this Legal Times story last month, we reported on the possibility that one or more of the justices would "unrecuse" to insure that the case is decided by more than a seven-member Court. Roberts made a similar move last term in the case of Credit Suisse v. Billing.
The case has drawn wide attention from the business community since it could increase the libaility of law firms and other "third parties" in investor class action suits alleging fraud. The Securities and Exchange Commission wanted to side with the investors, but Solicitor General Paul Clement filed a brief on the other side urging the Court not to expand liability for secondary actors. During speculation over whether Roberts and/or Breyer would "unrecuse" it was generally agreed that if one or both did rejoin the case, it would help the cause of businesses seeking to limit liability.