United States v. O'Hagan, 521 U.S. 642, 21 (1997)

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Opinion of the Court

Chiarella thus expressly left open the misappropriation theory before us today. Certain statements in Chiarella, however, led the Eighth Circuit in the instant case to conclude that § 10(b) liability hinges exclusively on a breach of duty owed to a purchaser or seller of securities. See 92 F. 3d, at 618. The Court said in Chiarella that § 10(b) liability "is premised upon a duty to disclose arising from a relationship of trust and confidence between parties to a transaction," 445 U. S., at 230 (emphasis added), and observed that the printshop employee defendant in that case "was not a person in whom the sellers had placed their trust and confidence," see id., at 232. These statements rejected the notion that § 10(b) stretches so far as to impose "a general duty between all participants in market transactions to forgo actions based on material, nonpublic information," id., at 233, and we confine them to that context. The statements highlighted by the Eighth Circuit, in short, appear in an opinion carefully leaving for future resolution the validity of the mis-appropriation theory, and therefore cannot be read to fore-close that theory.

Dirks, too, left room for application of the misappropriation theory in cases like the one we confront.10 Dirks involved an investment analyst who had received information from a former insider of a corporation with which the analyst had no connection. See 463 U. S., at 648-649. The information indicated that the corporation had engaged in a massive fraud. The analyst investigated the fraud, obtaining corroborating information from employees of the corporation. During his investigation, the analyst discussed his findings with clients and investors, some of whom sold their holdings in the company the analyst suspected of gross wrongdoing. See id., at 649.

10 The Eighth Circuit's conclusion to the contrary was based in large part on Dirks's reiteration of the Chiarella language quoted and discussed above. See 92 F. 3d 612, 618-619 (1996).

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