March 26, 2015
In its much-anticipated decision in Omnicare, Inc. v. Laborers District Council Construction Industry Pension Fund (“Omnicare”), No. 13-435 (Mar. 24, 2015), the United States Supreme Court held that an honestly-held statement of opinion is not actionable as a misstatement of fact under Section 11 of the Securities Act of 1933, regardless of whether the opinion could be characterized as “objectively false.” Recognizing a different form of opinion liability, however, the Court held that a valid Section 11 claim may exist if the omission of material facts relating specifically to the basis for the opinion renders the opinion statement misleading. This latter ruling may, at least until more guidance is provided, invite more Securities Act claims attacking statements of opinion, particularly in jurisdictions, including the Second and Ninth Circuits, where proof of subjective falsity previously was required for all forms of opinion liability.