When is an opinion that turns out to be wrong an untrue statement of fact? Only when it is not sincerely held, the Supreme Court ruled last week in a securities fraud case. The Court's decision in Omnicare v. Laborers District Council Construct Industry Pension Fund, overturned a recent Sixth Circuit holding and reconciled a split between the Sixth and other circuits.
Omnicare had been sued for securities fraud stemming from a statement that it believed it was complying with the law. The Sixth Circuit had ruled that plaintiffs did not have to allege that the belief was not sincerely held; that it was false was good enough. That didn't work for the Supreme Court, which chided the circuit for failing to sufficiently distinguish between fact and opinion.