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False Financial Guidance

Companies routinely publish financial guidance. Such guidance (or forecasts) include predictions of future net income, revenue, or costs, as well as many other financial and non-financial measures. The securities laws forbid companies from publishing false or misleading financial guidance.

Because guidance is (in part) a prediction of future events, and claims about future events are, by nature, typically indeterminate, the securities laws provides special protection for companies and additional hurdles for plaintiffs alleging that the company published false or misleading guidance. The special protection is referred to as the “forward-looking statements safe harbor.” In order to overcome the protections of the safe harbor, plaintiffs are forced to satisfy heightened pleading standards. As such, forecasts may considered false or misleading if company insiders knew that the company would not achieve them. Guidance may also be false or misleading if, though achievable, it was based on knowingly false assumptions.

For example, suppose a company publishes guidance that its fiscal year end revenue will be $100 million, and that $50 million of that revenue will be attributable to a contract with a large customer. If the customer informs the company that it will probably not go through with the contract, or that the customer intends to push the contract into the next fiscal year, then the important assumption underlying the $100 million revenue guidance—that the contract would be executed in the present fiscal year—would be false. In such a case, the company may be held liable to investor for losses associated with the share price decline when the company finally announced that its fiscal year revenue would be only $50 million, rather than $100 million.

The special protections to companies afforded by the forward-looking statement safe harbor, in addition to the legal challenges that accompany all securities fraud claims, require the skill of an experienced investment lawyer. The securities fraud attorneys at GPM possess the skill and experience necessary to effectively prosecute such cases.

If you believe a company has issued false or misleading financial guidance, please contact GPM.

Court Recognition

“And without question, the Court is of the opinion that the value of benefit that’s been conferred to the class is extremely sizable and that this Court is certainly aware that the skill and efficiency of plaintiff’s counsel is what attributed to this settlement, and they are learned securities counsel. The Court is mindful of that, and as a result they were able to sort of weed their way through the complex issues in this case, and also to bring this about — bring about a settlement rather in short order as these matters go. So the Court certainly attributes that to counsel’s skill and efficiency, as well as the ability to work with the adversaries in this matter.”

–Hon. Susan D. Wigention, U.S. District Judge, District of New Jersey

“Class Counsel has conducted the litigation and achieved the Settlement in good faith and with skill, perseverance and diligent advocacy”

— Hon. Donovan W. Frank, U.S. District Judge, District of Minnesota

“The court finds that the Settlement Fund… created by Class Counsel is an exceptional result… The settlement is significantly above the average securities class action settlement when measured as a percentage of losses recovered… The court finds that Class Counsel, particularly Co-Lead Counsel, exerted tremendous effort on behalf of the class in the prosecution of this action… The Court finds that Class Counsel skillfully prosecuted this action, particularly given that this case was unusually complex relative to most securities fraud class actions. ”

–Hon. Dickran M. Tevrizian (Ret.), U.S. District Court Judge, Central District of California

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