Most securities fraud cases involve allegations that false statements were made to inflate the price of a company’s stock. A case pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois presents the flip side of this situation, where allegedly misleading statements were made to keep the price low in anticipation of a merger.

On July 17, 2007, U.S. District Judge Robert W. Gettleman certified a shareholder class in Levie v. Sears Roebuck & Co.[FOOTNOTE 1] Gettleman’s decision raises interesting issues about the length of a certified class period, as well as the persons included in any class certified.

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