A scrum of litigators filled the courtroom Tuesday for what is an exceedingly rare event in the Northern District of California: a securities class action actually making it to trial.

The case before Judge Claudia Wilken in Oakland involves JDS Uniphase Corp., a telecom equipment company whose high-flying stock fell off a cliff in 2001. Plaintiffs lawyers contend that JDS executives knew demand for their products had begun to slacken in spring 2000, but instead of coming clean, the executives made deceptive statements about the health of the business while selling millions of their own stock that August, thus betraying shareholders.