Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) does like to have fun. Lately he's had it at the expense of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce set.
A short while ago, Senator Specter put in play an oh-so-brief but mighty potent bill that would revert federal courts to the pre-Iqbal and Twombly standard of pleading claims.
This week, he followed up with a bill that would wipe out two other defendant-friendly Supreme Court rulings. (Hat tip to Joshua Gallu at Bloomberg.) These — Stoneridge and Central Bank, N.A. v. First Interstate Bank, N.A., 511 U.S. 164 (1994) – confined private securities fraud cases to "primary" actors and let mere aiders and abettors off the hook.
The new Specter bill would amend a section (15 U.S.C. 78t(e)) that now allows the Securities and Exchange Commission (but not private parties) to bring A&B cases. The change would add a subsection (2). It would say:
PRIVATE CIVIL ACTIONS.–For purposes of any private civil action implied under this title, any person that knowingly or recklessly provides substantial assistance to another person in violation of this title, or of any rule or regulation issued under this title, shall be deemed to be in violation of this title to the same extent as the person to whom such assistance is provided.
People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like.