United States District Court, S.D. New York
May 3, 2004.
IN RE WORLDCOM, INC. SECURITIES LITIGATION, This Document Relates to: ALL ACTIONS
The opinion of the court was delivered by: DENISE COTE, District Judge
Fact discovery has been ongoing for approximately one year and is
scheduled to end on June 18, 2004. Witnesses testifying in depositions on
behalf of the Underwriter Defendants and the SSB Defendants have
repeatedly asserted that they relied upon counsel when determining the
due diligence to be conducted in connection with the May 2000 and May
2001 bond offerings and the disclosures to be made in the offering
materials prepared for these offerings. Despite inquiries by counsel for
the Lead Plaintiff since at least March 25, 2004, counsel for these
defendants have refused to affirm or deny that they intend to rely at
trial on the defense of reliance on advice of counsel. The plaintiffs
will be severely prejudiced without immediate and unambiguous notice of
an election by these defendants. Having considered the submissions of the
parties on this issue, the authorities on which they rely, and their oral
argument of April 30, 2004, it is hereby
ORDERED that the parties in the Securities Litigation may pursue
discovery concerning the advice of counsel provided to the Underwriter
Defendants and the SSB Defendants related to the due diligence for the May 2000 and May 2001 bond offerings and the
disclosures in the offering materials for those offerings.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, to avoid such discovery, the Underwriter
Defendants and the SSB Defendants have until 5:00 p.m. on May 4, to
notify the Lead Plaintiff in writing, explicitly and unambiguously, that
they do not intend to rely on an advice of counsel defense. In the event
such notice is not given, the Lead Plaintiff may redepose any witness who
failed on April 30, May 3, or May 4, to respond completely to the
questions permitted by this Order. Such additional deposition time shall
not be deducted from the time the plaintiffs in the Securities
Litigation have been allotted for depositions.
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