Conn. Retirement Funds Can Sue Amgen

March 1, 2013 ( The Supreme Court of the United States issued an opinion allowing the Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds to assert claims in a securities fraud case against Amgen.

The opinion affirmed a lower court order certifying that the Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds can assert claims in the case on behalf of a class of injured investors. Writing for the six-justice majority, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg rejected Amgen’s arguments that the District Court was required to resolve at the class certification stage the issue of whether Amgen’s alleged misrepresentations were “material” to investors, according to an announcement by State Treasurer Denise L. Nappier and Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen. The court held that this is an inquiry into the merits of the case that more properly should be resolved on a motion for summary judgment or at trial.    

The decision clears the way for the Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds to return to the Central District of California and continue pursuing claims against Amgen on behalf of all investors injured by Amgen’s alleged fraud.   

The funds allege that California-based biotech giant Amgen Inc. (AMGN) and certain of its former executives contrived to mislead the investing public about the true value of Amgen stock through a series of mis-statements and omissions about two of Amgen’s flagship products, Epogen and Aranesp. The case was first filed in 2007, following a series of public disclosures of negative information about the products that caused significant decreases in the price of Amgen’s stock.  

Former participants of the Amgen Retirement and Savings Plan and the Retirement and Savings Plan for Amgen Manufacturing Ltd. filed a lawsuit with similar claims in 2010. That case was dismissed (see “Court Dismisses Claims against Amgen in Stock Drop Case”).