By Pam Fulmer
On May 9, 2022, Judge Freeman of the Northern District of California granted the lead Plaintiff's Union Asset Management Holdings AG's Motion for Class Certification in the Sunrise Firefighter's Class Action against Oracle and several members of its senior management. This is certainly bad news for Oracle.
Readers of our blog will remember that the class action lawsuit alleges that Oracle and its management committed securities fraud when they omitted to inform the investing public that Oracle's increase in sales of Oracle's cloud software products was fueled in part by predatory audits of Oracle customers, rather than the quality of the Oracle cloud software. Judge Freeman ruled previously that such a theory states a claim for securities fraud by omission.
Rather than get into the weeds of the Court's ruling which was a huge win for the Plaintiffs, readers of our blog may be wondering what happens next in the litigation? Often once a class is certified, Defendants will settle the lawsuit rather than proceed to discovery and later trial. It will be very interesting to see whether Oracle settles here or will still continue to litigate the lawsuit. Should the parties continue to litigate, we predict some very interesting discovery disputes as Plaintiffs potentially seek additional discovery on Oracle's predatory audit practices, and Oracle seeks to limit such discovery as much as possible.
Should the case not settle, and after taking discovery, class action defendants sometimes move to de-certify the class if Plaintiffs have been unable to support their damages model or other theories through evidence obtained in discovery. So it is possible that Oracle may decide to attack Plaintiffs' case again later after the close of discovery.
Oracle customers who under audit by Oracle made cloud purchases to get out from under the audit and alleged large non-compliance findings, may have remedies against Oracle. Our lawyers at Tactical Law advise Oracle customers regarding potential claims they may have against Oracle to recoup some of those losses due to past Oracle audit overreaches.
The case is Sunrise Firefighters v. Oracle in the Northern District of California. We will continue to monitor the case. Check back for updates.
By Tactical Law Attorneys and From Time to Time Their Guests