U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh today dismissed a securities class action against Intuitive Surgical, Inc., a leading manufacturer of cutting-edge robotic surgery devices. Plaintiffs alleged that Intuitive Surgical made false statements or omissions regarding the company’s financial results and prospects. Granting Keker & Van Nest's motion to dismiss with leave to amend, Judge Koh found that Intuitive Surgical's statements did not amount to securities violations under the plaintiffs’ allegations
“We are gratified by the Court’s decision to dismiss the case against Intuitive Surgical and its executives,” said Keker & Van Nest partner Michael Celio, lead attorney for Intuitive Surgical. “The reason that the plaintiffs in this case could not adequately allege fraud is because no one at Intuitive Surgical committed fraud.”
The lead plaintiff, a police retirement benefits system, purchased Intuitive Surgical stock between Feb. 1, 2008 and Jan. 7, 2009. Plaintiffs alleged that when asked about the effects of the world-wide economic crisis, several corporate officers at Intuitive Surgical failed to present the full picture of the company’s financial situation. Plaintiffs alleged 19 false or misleading statements covering four analyst calls in 2008. Keker & Van Nest’s team, however, demonstrated that the allegedly false statements were either not misleading, or were explicit predictions made in good faith.
Judge Koh has given plaintiffs until Sept. 12, 2011 to amend their complaint.
Michael Celio handles white collar criminal cases, complex civil litigation, and enforcement actions brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission or the Department of Justice. An experienced trial lawyer, Mr. Celio has tried more than a dozen cases to verdict in state and federal courts. He has significant expertise defending civil and criminal securities cases, having tried the only two U.S. cases involving allegations of stock-options backdating.