United States Supreme Court Clarifies Statute Of Limitations For Private Securities Fraud Actions

In Merck & Co. v. Reynolds, No. 08-905, 2010 U.S. LEXIS 3671 (Apr. 27, 2010), the Supreme Court of the United States held that a private securities fraud claim accrues for statute of limitations purposes at the earlier of when (1) the plaintiff does in fact discover, or (2) a reasonably diligent plaintiff would have discovered, “the facts constituting the violation.” The Supreme Court held further that “facts constituting the violation” include the “fact” of defendants’ scienter, i.e., “a mental state embracing intent to deceive, manipulate, or defraud.” This unanimous clarification by the Supreme Court of the how lower courts should apply the statute of limitations for private securities fraud claims provides a bit more breathing room for would-be plaintiffs.

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