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Before Filing A Lawsuit, You May Want To Review Your Offering Documents

This post by John O'Brien for Legal Newsline is a reminder to securities issuers that they might want to review their prior offering documents before filing a lawsuit in which they make inconsistent allegations and disclose facts omitted from the offering documents.

"I command you, then, not to flow over my land . . . ." 
King Canute 

For example, the San Mateo County Joint Powers Financing Authority issued an official statement in 2016 that included this disclosure regarding global warming:

The County is unable to predict whether sea-level rise or other impacts of climate change or flooding from a major storm will occur, and if any such events occur, whether they will have a material adverse effect on the business operations or financial condition of the County and the local economy.

There is nothing ambiguous about this statement.  The County disclaims any ability to predict whether sea level rise "will occur".  Only a year later, however, the County files this lawsuit against number of fossil fuel companies.  Remarkably, the County is now certain that the sea level had already risen and the defendants "actually and proximately caused the sea levels to rise".  Did the County in its official statement misstate its uncertainty about whether sea levels will rise or did it omit to state that the sea level had already risen? 

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