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The recent havoc in the markets might make it seem a propitious time to be a securities lawyer. However, plummeting stock prices present their own set of challenges to plaintiffs pursuing fraud claims under the federal securities laws. Even when there appears to be ample evidence that executives misled investors about business prospects, market-wide share price declines can make it difficult to prove that the revelation of the truth about these deceptions caused the losses suffered by shareholders. As a result, lawyers and the courts are increasingly focused on the proper methodology for determining whether investor losses are caused by fraud. This new scrutiny has highlighted the benefits—and significant limitations—of the event study, long the mainstay for loss causation analysis.

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