Edsaco and Scorpion Technologies Securities Fraud

Result: $170 million jury verdict
Year: 2002

In re Scorpion Technologies, Inc. Securities Litigation I

Lieff Cabraser served as Lead Counsel in class action suits arising out of an alleged fraudulent scheme by Scorpion Technologies, Inc., certain of its officers, accountants, underwriters and business affiliates to inflate the company’s earnings through reporting fictitious sales. In Scorpion I, the Court found plaintiffs had presented sufficient evidence of liability under Federal securities acts against the accounting firm Grant Thornton for the case to proceed to trial. In re Scorpion Techs., 1996 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22294 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 27, 1996).

In 1988, the court approved a $5.5 million settlement with Grant Thornton. In 2000, the Court approved a $950,000 settlement with Credit Suisse First Boston Corporation. In April 2002, a federal jury in San Francisco, California, returned a $170.7 million verdict against Edsaco Ltd. The jury found that Edsaco aided Scorpion in setting up phony European companies as part of a scheme in which Scorpion reported fictitious sales of its software to these companies, thereby inflating its earnings. Included in the jury verdict, one of the largest verdicts in the U.S. in 2002, was $165 million in punitive damages. Richard M. Heimann conducted the trial for plaintiffs.

On June 14, 2002, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston commented on Lieff Cabraser’s representation:

[C]ounsel for the plaintiffs did a very good job in a very tough situation of achieving an excellent recovery for the class here. You were opposed by extremely capable lawyers. It was an uphill battle. There were some complicated questions, and then there was the tricky issue of actually collecting anything in the end. I think based on the efforts that were made here that it was an excellent result for the class… [T]he recovery that was achieved for the class in this second trial is remarkable, almost a hundred percent.