Teaching Profession Federal File

In Supreme Court, Pension Funds Join Battle on Fraud

By Mark Walsh — October 16, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A U.S. Supreme Court case about corporate fraud may not seem like a school law matter. But the case the justices heard on Oct. 9 attracted the attention of several of the nation’s largest teacher-retirement funds.

In Stoneridge Investment Partners v. Scientific-Atlanta Inc. (No. 06-43), the high court must decide whether federal securities laws permit private shareholders to sue the business partners of companies engaged in fraud.

The California and New York state teacher-retirement funds, as well as some other large state pension funds, filed or joined friend-of-the-court briefs on the side of shareholders. The shareholders are seeking to hold two big companies that were the business partners of Charter Communications Inc. liable for allegedly helping the St. Louis-based cable-TV company in a fraudulent scheme that helped inflate its cash flow in 2000.

The teacher-retirement funds note that they have become some of the most active institutional investors in trying to improve the integrity of publicly traded companies in the wake of Enron and other recent high-profile corporate-fraud cases.

“The membership of our organization is highly attentive to these frauds and are concerned that ultimately it has an impact on their pensions,” said Jack Ehnes, the chief executive of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System. The teachers’ system, based in Sacramento, has some 800,000 active and retired members and assets of $171 billion, and is the second-largest public-pension fund in the country.

See Also

For more stories on this topic see Law and Courts.

Meanwhile, Wayne T. Schneider, the general counsel of the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System, expressed similar views.

“We’re concerned with the integrity of the stock market,” he said. “There are some risks we can’t control. But being lied to and defrauded [by companies] is not one of the risks we care to take.”

The Albany-based fund has more than $100 billion in assets and serves nearly 400,000 active and retired members, excluding the New York City school system, which has its own retirement funds and also joined a brief in the case.

A ruling is expected by the end of the court’s term next June.

A version of this article appeared in the October 17, 2007 edition of Education Week

Events

Jobs October 2021 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Data Webinar
Using Integrated Analytics To Uncover Student Needs
Overwhelmed by data? Learn how an integrated approach to data analytics can help.

Content provided by Instructure
Classroom Technology Webinar How Pandemic Tech Is (and Is Not) Transforming K-12 Schools
The COVID-19 pandemic—and the resulting rise in virtual learning and big investments in digital learning tools— helped educators propel their technology skills to the next level. Teachers have become more adept at using learning management

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Profession Opinion Advice to New Teachers From a 20-Year Veteran
These seven lessons are especially important during the pandemic, and they will continue to serve you through the rest of your teaching career.
Stephen Guerriero
4 min read
Illustration of hands holding up lightbulbs representing ideas.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Feodora Chiosea/iStock
Teaching Profession Joe and Jill Biden Honor Teachers at Long-Delayed White House Ceremony
The president, with the first lady in attendance, called teachers the "single most consequential people in the world beyond our parents."
4 min read
First lady Jill Biden hugs Juliana Urtubey, 2021 National Teacher of the Year, at a ceremony to honor the 2021 State and National Teachers of the Year, on the South Lawn of the White House Oct. 18.
First lady Jill Biden stands beside Juliana Urtubey, 2021 National Teacher of the Year, at a ceremony to honor the 2020 and 2021 State and National Teachers of the Year at the White House on Monday.
Evan Vucci/AP
Teaching Profession Opinion Wellness Can't Be Just Another Task for Teachers to Do
If we want teachers to remain in the profession, state departments of education, school districts, and parent groups must step up.
Beth Pandolpho
4 min read
Vibrant hand drawn illustration depicting mindfulness concept
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Teaching Profession Thousands of Teachers Who Were Denied Loan Forgiveness Will Get a Second Chance
A settlement between the American Federation of Teachers and the U.S. Department of Education establishes a review process for borrowers.
4 min read