Saturday, June 17, 2006

"Passive Voice Press Releases" and the "Vigorous Defense"

You've seen them discussed separately, but now we have them together. A complaint about a so-called "passive voice press release" and a vigorous defense proclamation by a defendant.

Passive voice press releases are those issued by law firms that have not yet filed a complaint. They typically announce that a securities class action "has been filed." This is distinguished from the active voice releases, which state things such as "[the firm] filed a complaint" or "[the firm] has filed a complaint."

The practice is most often pointed out by one of the firms that filed a complaint, not by the defendant corporation, as we have here.

Earlier this week, InfoSonics Corporation issued a press release, stating:
While at least seven law firms have publicly disseminated press releases over the past few days implying that they have filed lawsuits against InfoSonics Corporation, the Company's preliminary investigation has revealed that two lawsuits seeking class action status have been filed (by three of the firms that issued press releases this week). The remaining four law firms that implied in their press releases that they also filed lawsuits had not done so at the time of their releases and the Company has no knowledge that they have since filed actual lawsuits.
This is the classic passive voice press release issue, discussed by The 10b-5 Daily here and here and by Securities Litigation Watch here and here.

InfoSonics couldn't resist the lure of the vigorous defense language having read in these pages earlier in the week about a recent successful use of that phrase, and went on to state:
The Company believes its actions raised in the lawsuits were appropriate and intends to vigorously defend them.
Now if only we could find a passive voice press release that indicated the law firm intended to "vigorously pursue" the claims that they have not yet alleged.

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