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《考研英语阅读理解100篇 高分版》 Unit 8 - TEXT THREE

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2019年02月04日

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It is, by general consent, the most important securities-litigation clash for a generation. A case now before the Supreme Court, Stoneridge v Scientific-Atlanta, is shaping up to be a key test of attitudes towards shareholder class actions. A decision in favour of aggrieved investors would greatly increase the number of companies on which trial lawyers could train their sights. A ruling the other way would be a crushing defeat for the plaintiff's bar. Adding to the suspense, the government bodies with an interest in the case cannot agree on a common position.
The case involves a cable company, Charter Communications, which used a transaction with two suppliers of set-top boxes to inflate its revenues. Shareholders sued not only the company but the vendors, too, claiming that they participated in the fraud, even though they may not have been aware of the misreporting. Led by the legendary Bill Lerach, plaintiff lawyers have lobbied ferociously for the principle of going after third parties, known as “scheme liability”.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is backing Mr. Lerach's lot, thanks to a change of heart by its Republican chairman, Christopher Cox, traditionally no friend of the plaintiff's bar. Mr. Cox urged the Department of Justice to fall in behind it, but this week it declined to do so. It has a month to decide whether to support the defendants or offer no opinion.
The Treasury is at odds with the SEC, too, fearing that a ruling in favour of investors would further damage American competitiveness. Many foreign firms that choose to list their shares elsewhere point to America's litigation lottery as the principal reason. Although filings of securities class actions have been falling since 2005, the overall value of settlements has continued to rise.
Bankers and accountants are watching just as closely as cable-box makers. In a similar case, Mr. Lerach's firm sued Enron's financial advisers on behalf of shareholders, claiming that they facilitated the book-keeping shenanigans at the now-defunct energy trader. He lost—though not before collecting billions from banks that settled early. He has lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court and wants the case joined with Stoneridge. Business is encouraged by its track record: a steady pruning of plaintiffs' rights since the 1970s. A number of its justices are thought to sympathise with the view that scheme liability is best left to the SEC, which has the power to pursue aiders and abettors under its Rule 10b-5.
Some lawyers in Washington even suggest that Mr. Cox only sided with investors because he was convinced that they had almost no chance of support from the Supreme Court. But with numerous fine legal points at issue, the outcome is uncertain. An unfavourable ruling would send a chill through boardrooms, and not only in America.
If suppliers and advisers can be dragged into class actions, it would no longer even be necessary to issue shares in the United States to incur securities liability, points out Peter Wallison of the American Enterprise Institute, a think-tank. Any firm, anywhere, doing business with American companies would have to live with the risk that the transaction could later be portrayed as fraudulent or deceptive. And painting such pictures is what trial lawyers do best.
1. What will probably happen if the final decision is in favor of investors?
[A] More companies will decide to move to other countries for business.
[B] The government bodies will lose their popular trust.
[C] More companies will be involved in legal actions.
[D] American companies will lose most of its competitiveness.
2. Which one of the following statements is NOT true of “scheme liability”?
[A] The Department of Justice will decide whether to implement this principle in this case in a month.
[B] The principle is raised by the plaintiff's bar to settle the case.
[C] The principle has damaged the trust of foreign companies.
[D] The SEC was originally against using this principle in this case.
3. The Treasury is against the SEC's proposal because _____.
[A] the attitude of the Department of Justice is unclear
[B] it is afraid that this proposal may arouse securities class actions
[C] it holds the view that the scheme liability is unreasonable
[D] it thinks this proposal will further discourage foreign firms from listing shares in America
4. Mr. Cox changed his mind finally because _____.
[A] he is bribed by the investors to work in favor of them
[B] he sympathizes with the shareholders
[C] he disagrees with the Supreme Court's principles and attitudes
[D] he dedicated himself to the defense of American investors' right
5. Towards the actions of plaintiff's lawyers, the author's attitude can be said to be _____.
[A] negative
[B] positive
[C] indifferent
[D] biased

1. What will probably happen if the final decision is in favor of investors?
[A] More companies will decide to move to other countries for business.
[B] The government bodies will lose their popular trust.
[C] More companies will be involved in legal actions.
[D] American companies will lose most of its com-petitiveness.
1. 如果最后的裁决有利于投资者,以下哪种情况会发生?
[A] 大多数公司会决定搬到其他国家做生意。
[B] 政府团体会失去公众的信任。
[C] 会有更多的公司被卷入诉讼。
[D] 美国公司会丧失其大部分的竞争力。
答案:C 难度系数:☆☆☆
分析:推理题。第一段提到,如果最终的裁决有利于投资者的话,辩护律师就会关注更多的公司了。言外之意就是,会有更多的公司被卷入诉讼中。文章第四段也指出,如果投资者胜诉,那么会使得美国的竞争力下降。因此,选项C符合题意。
2. Which one of the following statements is NOT true of “scheme liability”?
[A] The Department of Justice will decide whether to implement this principle in this case in a month.
[B] The principle is raised by the plaintiff's bar to settle the case.
[C] The principle has damaged the trust of foreign companies.
[D] The SEC was originally against using this principle in this case.
2. 关于“方案责任”,下列哪一项陈述是错误的?
[A] 司法部将在一个月内决定是否在本案中实施该原则。
[B] 该原则是由原告律师团提出,以解决该案件的。
[C] 该原则已经损害了外国公司的信任。
[D] 证券与货币兑换委员会最初是反对将该原则用于该案件的。
答案:A 难度系数:☆☆
分析:推理题。选项A,第三段提到,司法部已经拒绝施行这项原则,并且将在一个月内决定是否支持被告。选项B,第一段提到,该原则是由原告律师团提出的。选项C,第四段提到,许多外国公司选择在其他国家上市,就是因为该原则,因此可以推断,该原则损害了外国公司的信任。选项D,第三段提到,多亏Christopher Cox改变了主意,最终该委员会才同意了这个提议,因此可以推断,最初他们是持反对态度的。所以,正确答案为A。
3. The Treasury is against the SEC's proposal because _____.
[A] the attitude of the Department of Justice is unclear
[B] it is afraid that this proposal may arouse securities class actions
[C] it holds the view that the scheme liability is unrea-sonable
[D] it thinks this proposal will further discourage foreign firms from listing shares in America
3. 财政部反对证券与货币兑换委员会的提议,是因为 _____。
[A] 司法部的态度不明朗
[B] 它害怕该提议会引起证券行业共同起诉
[C] 它认为该原则是不合理的
[D] 它认为该原则会进一步阻碍外国公司在美国上市
答案:D 难度系数:☆☆☆☆
分析:细节题。文章第四段提到,财政部担心,如果裁决有利于投资者,就会进一步削弱美国的竞争力,因为许多外国公司选择了到别的国家上市就是因为这个原则。因此,主要原因还是担心该原则会进一步阻碍外国公司在美国上市,从而损害美国的竞争力。所以,选项D为正确答案。
4. Mr. Cox changed his mind finally because _____.
[A] he is bribed by the investors to work in favor of them
[B] he sympathizes with the shareholders
[C] he disagrees with the Supreme Court's principle and attitudes
[D] he dedicated himself to the defense of the American investor's rights
4. Cox先生最终改变了主意,是因为 _____。
[A] 他接受了投资者们的贿赂来帮助他们
[B] 他同情那些股东
[C] 他不同意最高法院的原则和态度
[D] 他致力于对美国投资者权利的保护
答案:B 难度系数:☆☆☆
分析:细节题。文章第三段提到,Cox先生不是原告律师团任何人的朋友;而第五段又提到,华盛顿的一些律师暗示,Cox先生只站在投资者一边,是因为感觉最高法院不可能支持他们。因此,可以看出他这样做是出于对这些投资者的同情。答案为选项B。
5. Towards the actions of plaintiff's lawyers, the author's attitude can be said to be _____.
[A] negative
[B] positive
[C] indifferent
[D] biased
5. 对于原告律师团的行为,作者的态度可以说是 _____。
[A] 否定的
[B] 肯定的
[C] 不感兴趣的
[D] 有偏见的
答案:A 难度系数:☆
分析:态度题。文章的前半部分,作者都是以一种非常客观的态度来叙述的,但是在文章最后一段,作者提到,任何公司要和美国公司做生意,都必须面临有可能被认为存在欺诈行为的危险,而律师向来都是描黑的能手。由此可以看出,作者对律师还是持否定态度的。因此,答案为A。

人们普遍认为,本案是这一时代最大的一起证券诉讼冲突。现在最高法院正在审理的一个案子——Stoneridge v Scientific Atlanta发展成为试探共同起诉股东的重要个案。如果决议有利于那些权利受到不法侵害的投资者,那么就会有更多的公司找律师来起诉。而不利于投资者的裁决对于原告律师团则会是一个致命的打击。除了这个悬念之外,关心该案件的政府机构也不能达成一致意见。
该案件涉及一个电报公司——Charter Communications,该公司利用与两个机顶盒供应商进行交易来增加其收入。股东们不仅起诉了这家公司,而且也起诉了供应商,称他们参与了诈骗行为,虽然他们可能并没有意识到那些误报。以富有传奇色彩的Bill Lerach为首的原告律师团强烈要求施行寻找第三方的原则,即“方案责任”。
证券与货币兑换委员会赞成Lerach先生抓阄的建议,这主要是因为该委员会的共和党主席Christopher Cox改变了主意,此人与原告律师团没有任何关系。Cox先生敦促司法部同意该提议,但是这周司法部却予以拒绝。司法部有一个月的时间来决定,是支持被告还是不提供任何意见。
财政部也和证券与货币兑换委员会有分歧,财政部担心,如果裁决有利于投资者,会进一步削弱美国的竞争力。很多国外的公司选择在其他地方上市,其主要原因是美国很多诉讼案件的结果都是无法保证的。尽管证券行业共同起诉的案件自2005年以来一直在减少,裁决所牵涉的整体价值却一直在上升。
和电报盒制造商一样,银行家和会计一直在密切关注这起案件。之前也有一起相似的案件,Lerach先生的公司代表股东们起诉了Enron公司的金融顾问,称他们促成了现已不存在的能源商的虚假交易账目。Lerach败诉,虽然之前因裁决从银行取到了几十亿美元。他向最高法院提出了上诉,希望这个案件可以加入Stoneridge中。纪录可以刺激生意,这是自20世纪70年代起对原告权利逐步修改的成果。人们认为,一些法官同意“方案责任”最好交由证券与货币兑换委员会来负责的观点,该委员会有权根据其《10b-5法规》来追踪资助人和教唆者。
华盛顿的一些律师甚至暗示,Cox先生只站在投资者一边,因为他相信,投资者们几乎不可能从最高法院获得任何支持。但是由于有太多的法律事项都不能达成一致,结果还是个未知数。不利的裁决会让股东们的会议室充满寒意,而且这不仅仅限于美国。
美国的智囊机构美国企业协会的Peter Wallison指出,如果供应商和顾问也被卷入共同起诉中,那就不再需要在美国发行股票来招致证券债务。任何地方的任何公司,只要和美国公司做生意,就必须承担这些交易以后可能会被认为有欺诈性的风险,而这向来是律师们的拿手好戏。
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