Robbins Geller Secures Class Certification in Securities Class Action Against Prudential Financial, Inc.

August 31, 2015

On August 31, 2015, the Honorable Madeline Cox Arleo of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey certified a class of investors who purchased or otherwise acquired common stock of Prudential Financial, Inc. (“Prudential”) between May 5, 2010 and November 4, 2011. Importantly, the court denied defendants’ request to exclude the opinion of lead plaintiffs’ expert, Professor Steven P. Feinstein.

The case alleges that Prudential and certain of its officers and directors violated federal securities laws by issuing materially false and misleading statements concerning the company’s current and future financial condition, including its reserves and its potential liability to policyholders, their beneficiaries or relevant state authorities for millions of dollars in benefits that should have been paid out to policyholders or escheated to the states. The complaint alleges that these misrepresentations caused Prudential’s stock price to trade at artificially inflated levels. Prudential is a financial services company that offers a wide array of financial products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds, investment management and real estate services.

In granting class certification, the court noted that lead plaintiffs “have produced evidence showing statistically significant changes in Prudential’s stock price following important financial disclosures. In the face of these, Defendants have not successfully proven lack of price impact.” 

The court also rejected defendants’ Comcast-based damages argument, noting that Comcast “was an antitrust case in which there was only one viable theory of antitrust impact and the plaintiffs’ damages model did not measure damages in accordance with that theory,” and thus “did not stand for the general proposition that in all class actions, a plaintiff must prove that damages are calculable on a class-wide basis before class certification can be granted.” 

Robbins Geller attorneys litigating the case are Shawn A. Williams, Aelish M. Baig, Armen Zohrabian, David W. Hall and Sunny S. Sarkis.

City of Sterling Heights Gen. Emps.’ Ret. Sys. v. Prudential Fin., Inc., No. 2:12-cv-05275-MCA-LDW (D.N.J.)

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