Crown Cork & Seal v. Credit Suisse First Boston

U.S. DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Business Law

New York Law Journal

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Judge James Graham

Credit Suisse was accused of securities fraud. Despite opposing bifurcation of the issue of apportionment liability from other liability issues, Credit Suisse stated that if the issues were bifurcated, the amount of punitive damages should be determined in a third phase. The court found trifurcation appropriate. Bifurcation of Credit Suisse's liability from the issue of apportionment of liability will aid jury comprehension in litigation expected to take eight weeks, and involve up to 100 witnesses and thousands of documents. Further, the two phases involved different types of evidence, and litigation of Credit Suisse's liability might eliminate the need to litigate apportionment. Concluding that Schipani v. McLeod did not preclude bifurcation, the court found that separation of the apportionment issue would promote juror comprehension and judicial economy. Nor would bifurcation prejudice Credit Suisse's defense. Credit Suisse will be entitled to show during the trial's first phase that plaintiffs did not rely on its alleged misrepresentations when making their investment decisions—that even if plaintiffs received representations form Credit Suisse, other factors caused them to purchase notes.

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