A securities fraud suit against insurance giant Aetna Inc. fell flat on Wednesday when a federal appeals court refused to revive claims by investors who said the company made false statements about its “disciplined” pricing strategies that were designed to drive up the stock price so that three top executives could cash in and sell $61 million in stock.
The unanimous three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that all of the allegedly misleading statements were protected by the “safe harbor” in securities law because they amounted to nothing more than “forward-looking” statements that were accompanied by “meaningful cautionary” statements that put investors on notice of the risk.
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