Ninth Circuit Holds that District Courts May Reject, But May Not Select, Lead Plaintiffs' Counsel in Class Actions Brought Under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act

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In In re Cohen, No. 09-70378, 2009 WL 3681701 (9th Cir. Nov. 5, 2009), the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed an order by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California that rejected co-lead plaintiff's selection of counsel and instead appointed a firm selected by the district court. Calling the district court?s selection of counsel “clearly erroneous,” the Ninth Circuit took the unusual step of issuing a writ of mandamus vacating the district court's appointment of counsel and holding that, under the plain language of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (“Reform Act”), the district court has the power to reject, but not to select, lead counsel in a securities fraud class action.

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