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Murphy v. Precision Castparts Corp.

United States District Court, D. Oregon

June 6, 2018

KEVIN MURPHY, Individually and On Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
PRECISION CASTPARTS CORP., MARK DONEGAN, and SHAWN R. HAGEL, Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION

          STACIE F. BECKERMAN United States Magistrate Judge

         AMF Pensionsförsäkring AB (“AMF”) and the Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System (“Oklahoma Firefighters”) (collectively “Lead Plaintiffs”) filed an amended class action complaint on behalf of all persons or entities who purchased or otherwise acquired the publicly traded securities of Precision Castparts Corporation (“PCC”) between May 9, 2013 and January 15, 2015, seeking to pursue remedies under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”), as amended by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (“PSLRA”). (ECF No. 61.) Specifically, Lead Plaintiffs brought this action against PCC, a manufacturer of complex metal components, Mark Donegan, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PCC, and Shawn R. Hagel, the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of PCC (collectively, “Defendants”), alleging violations of sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Exchange Act and Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder.

         Lead Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Class Certification and Appointment of Class Representatives and Class Counsel (“Motion to Certify”) (ECF No. 134). Defendants filed a Statement of Qualified Non-Opposition to Lead Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification (ECF No. 140), taking no position on Lead Plaintiffs' Motion to Certify, but reserving “the right to challenge at later stages of this litigation any of Plaintiffs' claims in this matter . . . .” (Defs.' Resp. 1-2.) For the reasons that follow, the district judge should grant Lead Plaintiffs' Motion to Certify.

         LEGAL STANDARD

Rule 23 governs class certification and permits a class action if:
(1) [T]he class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable; (2) there are questions of law or fact common to the class; (3) the claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class; and (4) the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a). In addition to satisfying the Rule 23(a) criteria of numerosity, commonality, typicality, and adequate representation, a class action may be maintained only if one of the Rule 23(b) criteria is met. Here, Lead Plaintiffs rely on Rule 23(b)(3), asserting “that the questions of law or fact common to class members predominate over any questions affecting only individual members, and that a class action is superior to other available methods for fairly and efficiently adjudicating the controversy.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(b)(3).

         Lead Plaintiffs bear the burden of demonstrating each of Rule 23's requirements. Ellis v. Costco Wholesale Corp., 657 F.3d 970, 979-80 (9th Cir. 2011). Rule 23 “is not a mere pleading standard, ” and a party seeking class certification “must affirmatively demonstrate compliance with the Rule.” Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 564 U.S. 338, 349 (2011).

         DISCUSSION

Lead Plaintiffs move to certify the following class of investors (“Class”):
All individuals or entities who purchased or otherwise acquired common stock of Precision Castparts Corporation (“PCC Common Stock”) during the proposed class period of May 9, 2013 through January 15, 2015, inclusive (“Class Period”) and were damaged thereby.

(Pls.' Mot. Certify 2.)

         I. NUMEROSITY

         The proposed class must be “so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a)(1). Although there is no threshold for numerosity, courts generally find the requirement satisfied with classes comprising 40 or more members. See Jordan v. Los Angeles Cty., 669 F.2d 1311, 1319 (9th Cir. 1982), vacated on other grounds, Fowler v. Tucker, 459 U.S. 810 (1982). “In assessing the number of potential class members, the court need only find an approximation of the size of the class, not an exact number of putative class members.” Howard v. Liquidity Serv. Inc., 322 F.R.D. 103, 117 (D.D.C. 2017) (quotations and citations omitted); see also In re Rubber Chems. Antitrust Litig., 232 F.R.D. 346, 250-51 (N.D. Cal. 2005) ...


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