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Halliburton Securities Lawsuit Goes to Supreme Court

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Washington, DCSome securities fraud lawsuits can feel as though they take forever, and for plaintiffs who file securities fraud litigation against large corporations, the time from the start to the end of the lawsuit can be years. One lawsuit, involving Halliburton stocks and securities seeks to represent investors who bought stock in Halliburton between June 1999 and December 2001.

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal by shareholders who hold stock in Halliburton but the Supreme Court will not be deciding on the merits of the case. Rather, it will decide whether or not the lawsuit can proceed as a class action. In other words, once the Supreme Court makes its ruling in this case, then the lawsuit itself will move ahead.

The lawsuit alleges that Halliburton artificially inflated stock price by understating liability for asbestos litigation, inflating profits from construction and engineering units and overstating the benefits of a merger. The lawsuit was filed in 2007 and claims that once Halliburton made corrections, its stock price fell.

An appeals court ruled that the evidence did not show that Halliburton's alleged misrepresentations had any impact on stock price and denied the lawsuit class-action status.

If the lawsuit were granted class-action status, it would allow investment funds, retirement plans and individuals to join the lawsuit against Halliburton. The Supreme Court will hear the case later this year.

Meanwhile, the New York comptroller has settled a securities fraud lawsuit filed against Merrill Lynch & Co. and two former Merrill Lynch officials. The lawsuit, which was settled for $4.25 million, was filed on behalf of the New York State Common Retirement Fund. The comptroller alleged that the New York State Common Retirement Fund was misled about Merrill Lynch's participation in the subprime mortgage crisis.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the comptroller alleged that the cover-up artificially inflated the value of the company's stock, which dropped drastically once the true nature of Merrill Lynch's participation in the subprime mortgage crisis became known.

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