Business Roundtable, et al. v. SEC, No. 10-1305 (D.C. Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Petitioners, each of which had corporate members that issued publicly traded securities, petitioned for review of Exchange Act Rule 14a-11. At issue was whether the Securities and Exchange Commission promulgated the rule in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 551 et seq., because, among other things, the Commission failed adequately to consider the rule's effect upon efficiency, competition, and capital formation, as required by Section 3(f) of the Exchange Act and Section 2(c) of the Investment Company Act and Section 2(c) of the Investment Company Act of 1940, 15 U.S.C. 78c(f) and 80a-2(c). The court held that the Commission acted arbitrarily and capriciously for having failed once again to adequately assess the economic effects of a new rule. The court also held that the Commission inconsistently and opportunistically framed the costs and benefits of the rule; failed adequately to quantify the certain costs or to explain why those costs could not be quantified; neglected to support its predictive judgments; contradicted itself; and failed to respond to substantial problems raised by commenters. Therefore, the Commission's decision to apply the rule to investment companies was also arbitrary. Because the court concluded that the Commission failed to justify Rule 14a-11, the court need not address petitioners' additional argument that the Commission arbitrarily rejected proposed alternatives that would have allowed shareholders of each company to decide for that company whether to adopt a mechanism for shareholders' nominees to get access to proxy materials. Accordingly, the petition was granted and the rule was vacated.