Supreme Court will decide whether Halliburton can try to block class action lawsuit

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court will hear an appeal by Halliburton Co. seeking to block a class-action lawsuit claiming the company inflated its stock price.

Justices agreed Friday to hear the corporation’s attempt to stop legal action from shareholders who bought stock between June 1999 and December 2001.

The shareholders claim Halliburton deliberately understated its liability in asbestos litigation, inflated how much money its construction and engineering units would bring in and overstated the benefits of a merger with Dresser Industries. The lawsuit says Halliburton’s corrective disclosures made the stock price drop and investors lost money.

Justices threw out the company’s attempt to block class-action certification in 2011. Now Halliburton lawyers are asking again, saying those seeking class-action status must first prove the alleged misrepresentations distorted the stocks’ market price.