Plaut v. Spendthrift Farm, Inc., 514 U.S. 211, 3 (1995)

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Cite as: 514 U. S. 211 (1995)

Opinion of the Court

Theodore B. Olson argued the cause for respondents. With him on the briefs were Larry L. Simms, Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr., John K. Bush, D. Jarrett Arp, Barbara B. Edelman, Barry Friedman, James E. Burns, Jr., Kevin Muck, William E. Johnson, Robert M. Watt III, Robert S. Miller, and L. Clifford Craig.*

Justice Scalia delivered the opinion of the Court.

The question presented in this case is whether 27A(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, to the extent that it requires federal courts to reopen final judgments in private civil actions under 10(b) of the Act, contravenes the Constitution's separation of powers or the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

I

In 1987, petitioners brought a civil action against respondents in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. The complaint alleged that in 1983 and 1984 respondents had committed fraud and deceit in the sale of stock in violation of 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The case was mired in pretrial proceedings in the District Court until June 20, 1991, when we decided Lampf, Pleva, Lipkind, Prupis & Petigrow v. Gilbertson, 501 U. S. 350. Lampf held that "[l]itigation instituted pursuant to 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 . . . must be commenced within one year after the discovery of the facts constituting the violation and within three years after such violation." Id., at

*Briefs of amici curiae urging reversal were filed for the National Association of Securities and Commercial Law Attorneys by James M. Finberg and Paul J. Mishkin; for the Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Co. by Richard G. Taranto, H. Bartow Farr III, and Stewart M. Weltman; and for Michael B. Dashjian, pro se.

Joseph E. Schmitz, Zachary D. Fasman, Judith Richards Hope, Charles

A. Shanor, Daniel J. Popeo, and Paul D. Kamenar filed a brief for the Washington Legal Foundation as amicus curiae urging affirmance.

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