Alison Frankel (behind Westlaw firewall):
Last week, I told you about Sean Griffith, a law professor from Fordham who is quite literally putting his money where his mouth is when it comes to M&A class action settlements that result only in additional deal proxy disclosures(and fees for plaintiffs lawyers). Since the beginning of the year, Griffith has invested in shares in 30 newly acquired companies - the very corporations that are likely to be targeted in shareholder M&A class actions. Griffith, who coauthored a 2015 paper for the Texas Law Review casting doubt on the benefits to shareholders from disclosure-only settlements, told me he acquired the stock portfolio with the express purpose of establishing standing to object to class action deals he considers inadequate.
Go get 'em, tiger, I'd say, as would any other right thinking person. ... But wait, the trial bar strikes back:
"Make no mistake," the brief [filed by Gucci-clad trial lawyers in the first suit in which Griffith filed an objection] said. "The objector's brief is not a disinterested amicus submission from a neutral academic. It is a slanted, partisan piece of advocacy that relies on half-truths, exaggerations and misleading omissions." Griffith's "scheme" of acquiring shares in recently acquired companies is "an attack on core Delaware policies" against buying shares in order to sue, plaintiffs said. And the professor's filing is part of "a promotional campaign ... to force a debate on his policy ideas (and, perhaps, to highlight his expert-witness credentials and fortify a supplemental income stream)."
Me thinks the sharks doth protest too much.
Personally, I'm rooting for Sean and I hope more people decide to start taking on the trial lawyers pezzonovante. They're been on Easy Street far too long.