Auto. Indus. Pension Trust Fund v. Textron Inc., No. 11-2106 (1st Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
In 2007-2008, Textron made public statements assuring investors of the strength and depth of the backlog of orders to carry it through difficult economic times. In January 2008 an officer referred to "unusually low cancellations." Several similar statements followed. In a 2009 analyst report, J.P. Morgan wondered "how we go from 3.5 years of backlog six months ago to a 20% y/y production decline for 2009 that is only 80% sold out." Plaintiffs, purchasers of Textron securities, claim that for more than 18 months, Textron misstated the strength of the backlog. The complaint does not challenge the technical accuracy of most of Textron's statements, but claimed that Textron deliberately omitted material information, that Textron's officers could not have believed the truth of their unrelentingly positive statements, and that certain factual statements about cancellation figures were false when made. The main thrust of plaintiffs' complaint concerned failure to disclose information about the weakness of the backlog due to relaxed financing arrangements and other practices. The district court dismissed. The First Circuit affirmed. The complaint was deficient; the materiality issue was a close call, but the complaint failed to plead facts justifying a reasonable inference of scienter.