ANDERSON, Chief Judge:
This is a securities class action lawsuit brought by shareholders of Apple South, Inc. (now known as "Avado Brands, Inc.") against the corporation and several of its officers. Bryant et al. ("Plaintiffs") allege that Dupree et al. ("Defendants") made false and misleading statements and material omissions in order to inflate the value of the company's stock in violation of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934. The district court denied Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, but because of the novel questions presented under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, 15 U.S.C. § 78u-4 et seq. (West Supp.1999) ("Reform Act"), certified its order for interlocutory review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b). This Court accepted the petition in order to set out the applicable law. We vacate the order entered by the district court and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
Accepting all well-pleaded facts in the complaint as true,
According to Plaintiffs, Apple South's top management knew that these two acquisitions were creating internal problems that would eventually negatively affect the company's Earnings Per Share ("EPS"), but failed to disclose these problems in order maintain Apple South's high stock price and analysts' attendant positive outlook on it. Plaintiffs allege that such concealment was necessary to finance the acquisitions and to reduce bank debt.
According to Plaintiffs, the management problems that accompanied Apple South's expansion into the Midwest resulted in a high rate of turnover, forcing Apple South to transfer experienced managers from its core restaurants in the Southeast to shore up its Midwest operations. The relocated managers were unable to improve profit: margins. Moreover, the core restaurants, now deprived of experienced employees, suffered a decline as well. Apple South allegedly reacted to these adverse developments by firing employees and cutting retail costs in order to meet short-term EPS estimates, causing the overall level of service to decline and the return customer base to diminish, thereby tainting the company's long-term prospects. Plaintiffs contend that despite these problems, of which top management was allegedly aware because of a sophisticated internal information system of daily sales reports, Apple South continued to pursue its growth model aggressively, while concealing the negative material information described above that would have likely jeopardized the continued viability of that growth model.
Moreover, Plaintiffs allege that Apple South not only concealed the problems associated with its expansion strategy but affirmatively misrepresented the direction in which the strategy was taking the company, telling analysts that the new restaurants would positively impact profit margins, raising them as much as 13% to 17%, and that EPS would grow by 30% over the next five years. According to Plaintiffs, Defendants continued to misrepresent the status of the acquired restaurants' operations, maintaining a rosy outlook on growth, enabling Apple South to perpetuate the upward movement of its stock price so as to facilitate the company's expansion without diluting the value of the insider Defendants' holdings. Plaintiffs claim that during the class period, Apple South sold more than 10 million shares, plus $125 million in debt securities, and also allege that Defendants Frazier, Redus, and McLeod sold more than $19.6 million of their personal holdings in Apple South.
Plaintiffs further assert that Defendants' misrepresentations and omissions precipitated the climb of Apple South's stock from $15.25 per share, where it traded on May 26, 1995, the start of the class period, to $28.25 per share, its all-time high, by May of 1996. On September 24, 1996, the close of the class period, as summarized by the district court, see Bryant v. Apple South, Inc., 25 F.Supp.2d 1372, 1375 (M.D.Ga.1998), Defendants announced that: (1) Apple South's acquisition of 18 restaurants and related franchise territories from the Marcus Corporation had negatively impacted Apple South's business; (2) 1996 EPS would not reflect the 30-35% growth forecasted and would likely not exceed 1995 EPS; and (3) Apple South was scaling back its 1996 and 1997 expansion plans. Shortly after the announcement, the price of Apple South stock fell by 40% to $12.25.
Taking these facts as true, the district court concluded that the Plaintiffs had alleged a good claim on both counts enumerated in the complaint pursuant to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934: (1) count one under Section 10(b), 15 U.S.C. § 78j(b), and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, 17 C.F.R. § 240.10b-5; and (2) count two under Section 20(a), 15 U.S.C. § 78t(a). See Bryant, 25 F.Supp.2d at 1383. In so holding, the district court
We address two discrete legal issues in the instant appeal. The first involves the proper scope of materials that a district court may consider in ruling on a motion to dismiss in a securities fraud case. The second involves what standard Plaintiffs must meet in this Circuit in order to plead scienter adequately under 15 U.S.C. § 78u-4(b)(2).
A. Scope of Motion to Dismiss in Securities Fraud
The district court, granting in part Plaintiffs' Motion to Strike, ruled that certain exhibits
In so concluding, the district court rejected Defendants' argument that the exhibits could be judicially noticed at the 12(b)(6) stage, an argument based on the Second Circuit's opinions in Kramer v. Time Warner Inc., 937 F.2d 767, 774 (2d Cir.1991), and Cortec Indus., Inc. v. Sum Holding L.P., 949 F.2d 42, 47 (2d Cir.1991). Cortec held that publicly filed SEC documents could be judicially noticed under Fed.R.Evid. 201 at the motion to dismiss stage. Citing Kramer, the Cortec court noted that:
Id. at 47. The district court concluded that because the "rule quoted above has not been adopted by the Eleventh Circuit, and the Eleventh Circuit's opinions on the subject do not leave room to create an exception to the general rule," the court would "not deviate from the general rule by adopting the Second Circuit's rule from Cortec Industries." Bryant, 25 F.Supp.2d at 1376.
Id. at 774. The Fifth Circuit in Lovelace v. Software Spectrum Inc., 78 F.3d 1015, 1017-18 (5th Cir.1996) also permitted relevant documents required by law to be filed and which were actually filed with the SEC to be considered on a motion to dismiss in a securities fraud case, and quoted the reasoning given by the Second Circuit above. Id. at 1018 n. 1. The Fifth Circuit held that "[s]uch documents should be considered only for the purpose of determining what statements the documents contain, not to prove the truth of the documents' contents." Id. at 1018. Several district courts in our Circuit have likewise employed this reasoning in considering defendants' relevant SEC filings at the 12(b)(6) stage. See, e.g., In re Physician: Corp. of Am. Sec. Litig., 50 F.Supp.2d 1304 (S.D.Fla. 1999); Malin v. IVAX Corp., 17 F.Supp.2d 1345, 1351 (S.D.Fla.1998). The Malin court noted that judicially noticing SEC documents at the 12(b)(6) stage in securities fraud suits was consistent with Congress' intent in drafting the Reform Act, that is, weeding out non-meritorious suits at the earliest possible stage, 17 F.Supp.2d at 1351, and further noted that:
Id. at 1351 (citation omitted).
With these principles in mind, and following the foregoing case law, we hold that a court, when considering a motion to dismiss in a securities fraud case, may take judicial notice (for the purpose of determining what statements the documents contain and not to prove the truth of the documents' contents)
Fed.R.Evid. 201(b) provides for taking judicial notice of facts that are not subject to reasonable dispute because they are capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned. When SEC documents are relevant only to determine what statements or disclosures are actually contained therein, there can be little question as to authenticity, nor can the fact that such statements or disclosures were thus publicly filed be reasonably questioned. SEC filings are generally recognized as the most accurate and authoritative source of public information about a company.
Taking judicial notice of relevant SEC filings at the motion to dismiss stage is also consistent with the overall aim of the Reform Act—curbing abusive securities litigation. An important component of achieving this goal was structuring the legislation to permit the dismissal of frivolous cases at the earliest feasible stage of the litigation, thereby reducing the cost to the company, and by derivation, to its shareholders, in defending a baseless action. See H.R. Conf. Rep. No. 104-369, at 31-32 (1995), reprinted in 1995 U.S.C.C.A.N. 679, 730-31. Examples of the foregoing are 15 U.S.C. § 78u-5(e)
We do not believe that permitting judicial notice in this manner is inconsistent with Rule 12(b)(6). The prohibition against going outside of the facts alleged in the complaint protects against a party being caught by surprise when documents outside the pleadings are presented at that early stage. However in the instant case, as in the typical securities fraud case, Plaintiffs were well aware of the SEC filings. Indeed, Plaintiffs expressly state in their Amended Complaint that their allegations are "based upon the investigation of their counsel, which included a review of Apple South's SEC filings." Complaint ¶ 126. Moreover, when Defendants attached the SEC documents to their Motion to Dismiss, Plaintiffs moved to strike the SEC documents. In other words, Plaintiffs had ample notice and opportunity to challenge the propriety of considering the SEC documents at this stage of the litigation. Indeed, Fed.R.Evid. 201(e) assures such an opportunity to be heard with respect to the propriety of taking judicial notice.
Allowing consideration of relevant SEC filings is also consonant with common notions of fairness. We have already noted the ample opportunity to challenge the propriety of taking judicial notice. As the Second Circuit noted in Kramer, preventing courts from considering the entirety of a company's relevant SEC filings would allow plaintiffs who have done no more than pull snippets from the documents out of context to survive a motion to dismiss, notwithstanding the fact that dismissal would have been appropriate if the statements had been read in context. Kramer, 937 F.2d at 774.
Finally, we are persuaded that the case law of this Circuit does not foreclose the result we reach today. The district court relied on Ware v. Associated Milk Producers, Inc., 614 F.2d 413 (5th Cir.1980), and its progeny, in refusing to consider the SEC filings proffered by Defendants. The court in Ware, citing and quoting from 5A Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1366 at 675 (2d ed.1990) stated that "the conversion of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to a summary judgment takes place `whenever matters outside the pleading are presented to and accepted by the court.'" Ware, 614 F.2d at 414. Concluding that it was bound by this language, the district court refused to consider the SEC records offered by Defendants in connection with their Motion to Dismiss. See Bryant, 25 F.Supp.2d at 1376-77.
We find Ware distinguishable. Ware did not address the concept of taking judicial
A closer case is Kennedy v. Tallant, 710 F.2d 711 (11th Cir.1983), in which this Court commented in a footnote that certain stock prospectuses at issue there were outside the pleadings and not properly considered on a motion to dismiss. See id. at 718 n. 6. We are persuaded, however, that the Kennedy footnote does not prevent courts in this Circuit from judicially noticing relevant public records on file with the SEC, because the judicial notice concept was apparently not argued to the Kennedy panel.
For the foregoing reasons, we hold that the district court was authorized at the motion to dismiss stage to take judicial notice of relevant public documents required to be filed with the SEC, and actually filed, for the purpose of determining what statements the documents contain.
We turn to the second issue addressed in this opinion—what standard Plaintiffs must meet in order to plead scienter adequately under 15 U.S.C. § 78u-4(b)(2) in this Circuit. Plaintiffs in the instant case bring suit under § 10(b) of the Exchange Act, making it unlawful for any person "[t]o use or employ, in connection with the purchase or sale of any security . . . any manipulative or deceptive device or contrivance in contravention of such rules and regulations as the [SEC] may prescribe," 15 U.S.C. § 78j(b), and Rule 10b-5, making it unlawful "[t]o make any untrue statement of material fact or to omit to state a material fact necessary in order to make the statements made, in light of the circumstances under which they were made, not misleading," 17 C.F.R. § 240.10b-5. To allege securities fraud under Rule 10b-5, a plaintiff must show: 1) a misstatement or omission, 2) of a material fact, 3) made with scienter, 4) on which plaintiff relied, 5) that proximately caused his injury. See Ross v. Bank South, N.A., 885 F.2d 723, 728 (11th Cir. 1989)(en banc). In the instant appeal, we address the scienter requirement after the passage of the Reform Act to sustain a private claim under § 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 in this Circuit.
In Ernst & Ernst v. Hochfelder, 425 U.S. 185, 194 n. 12, 96 S.Ct. 1375, 1381 n. 12, 47 L.Ed.2d 668 (1976), the Supreme Court, in holding that negligence was insufficient
Id. Since the reservation of that question and before the passage of the Reform Act, every circuit to address the issue had held that recklessness can serve as an actionable state of mind under § 10(b) and Rule 10b-5, including our own. See McDonald v. Alan Bush Brokerage Co., 863 F.2d 809, 814 (11th Cir.1989). In particular, our Circuit adheres to the rule that a showing of "severe recklessness" satisfies the scienter requirement.
Although it is clear after the Reform Act that scienter can no longer be averred generally, two other questions remain: (1) are well-pled allegations of recklessness sufficient to allege scienter, or, in other words, what qualifies as the "required state of mind" under § 78u-4(b)(2); and (2) are allegations of motive and opportunity to commit fraud sufficient, as they are in the Second Circuit, or did § 78u-4(b)(2) merely borrow the Second Circuit's "strong inference" language without adopting its motive and opportunity test?
Since the time of the order appealed from in the instant case, four of our sister circuits, the Second, the Third, the Sixth, and the Ninth, have issued opinions interpreting the Reform Act and specifically addressing its scienter standard.
The question is whether fact-specific allegations of recklessness still suffice under the Reform Act. As noted above, the circuits are not in harmony as to this question. The opinion of the Ninth Circuit in Silicon Graphics would seem to indicate that the Reform Act substantively raised the required level of scienter, while the Second, Third, and Sixth Circuits hold that fact-specific allegations of recklessness are still sufficient. For the reasons stated below, we hold that a complaint alleging with particularity that a defendant acted with a severely reckless state of mind still suffices to state a claim for civil liability under § 10(b) and Rule 10b-5.
When interpreting a statute, we look to its plain language, resorting to legislative history in an attempt to discern congressional intent only when the language of the statute is unclear. See Consumer Prod. Safety Comm'n v. GTE Sylvania, Inc., 447 U.S. 102, 108, 100 S.Ct. 2051, 64 L.Ed.2d 766 (1980). In the instant case, the operative language of the Reform Act is that a plaintiff must "state with particularity facts giving rise to a strong inference that the defendant acted with the required state of mind." 15
Every circuit to address the question before the passage of the Reform Act held that a showing of recklessness was sufficient to allege scienter. See Hollinger v. Titan Capital Corp., 914 F.2d 1564, 1569-70 (9th Cir.1990); In re Phillips Petroleum Sec. Litig., 881 F.2d 1236, 1244 (3d Cir.1989); Van Dyke v. Coburn Enter. Inc., 873 F.2d 1094, 1100 (8th Cir.1989); McDonald, 863 F.2d at 814 (11th Cir. 1989); Hackbart v. Holmes, 675 F.2d 1114, 1117-18 (10th Cir.1982); Broad v. Rockwell Int'l Corp., 642 F.2d 929, 961-62 (5th Cir.1981)(en banc); Mansbach v. Prescott, Ball & Turben, 598 F.2d 1017, 1023-24 (6th Cir.1979); Cook v. Avien, Inc. 573 F.2d 685, 692 (1st Cir.1978); Rolf v. Blyth, Eastman Dillon & Co., 570 F.2d 38, 47 (2d Cir.1978); Sundstrand Corp. v. Sun Chem. Corp., 553 F.2d 1033, 1044 (7th Cir.1977). Congress was certainly aware of this well-established precedent when drafting the Reform Act. Indeed, when Congress codified "the required state of mind," it seems to us very clear that Congress was codifying the well-established law that recklessness was sufficient to allege scienter. See Cottage Savings Ass'n v. Commissioner, 499 U.S. 554, 561-62, 111 S.Ct. 1503, 1508-09, 113 L.Ed.2d 589 (1991) (noting that because decisions establishing particular legal doctrine were part of the "contemporary legal context" in which Congress had acted and because Congress had left undisturbed the legal principle during subsequent reenactments, the Court would presume that Congress intended to codify it) (citations omitted).
This conclusion is confirmed by the fact that in another portion of the Reform Act, Congress expressly employs the "actual knowledge" standard for scienter. See 15 U.S.C. § 78u-5(c)(1)(B)(safe harbor does not apply to statements that plaintiff proves were made by the defendant with "actual knowledge" that they were false or misleading). Thus, had Congress wished to replace recklessness with actual knowledge with respect to the quantum of scienter required by § 78u-4(b)(2), it could have done so expressly, as it did with the statutory safe harbor provision mentioned above, 15 U.S.C. § 78u-5(c)(1)(B), instead of merely reciting that the "required state of mind" must be plead with particularity. As noted, at the time Congress drafted the Act, it was well-established that the "required state of mind" included some form of reckless behavior. If Congress desired to require some other state of mind, that is, other than the reckless state of mind then uniformly held sufficient by the federal courts, we believe that Congress would have done so in explicit terms.
While § 78u-4(b)(2) clearly clarifies the pleading requirements for alleging scienter, mandating that facts be stated "with particularity" showing a "strong inference" of scienter, it does not substantively change the actionable level of scienter. Rather, it refers to the "required state of mind," which, at the time the Reform Act was drafted, had been clearly defined by the federal courts to encompass reckless behavior. We are persuaded that the plain text of the statute makes it clear that recklessness was not eliminated as a basis for liability under the Reform Act, and therefore resort to legislative history is unnecessary.
(ii) Motive and Opportunity to Commit Fraud
Plaintiffs, and the SEC, as amicus curiae, argue that § 78u-4(b)(2)'s scienter standard not only retains liability for recklessness, as we have held above, but also codifies the Second Circuit's holding that scienter can be adequately pled: 1) by alleging facts constituting strong circumstantial evidence of recklessness or conscious misbehavior by the defendant; or 2) by alleging facts which show a motive and opportunity to commit fraud on the part of the defendant. See Shields, 25 F.3d at 1128 (2d Cir.1994). The district court agreed with Plaintiffs, concluding that:
Bryant, 25 F.Supp.2d at 1381 (footnote omitted).
For the reasons that follow, we reject the notion that allegations of motive and opportunity to commit fraud, standing alone, are sufficient to establish scienter in this Circuit. In so holding, we are persuaded by the reasoning of the Sixth Circuit, and that of various district courts within our own Circuit. See In re Comshare Sec. Litig., 183 F.3d 542 (6th Cir. 1999); Carley Capital Group v. Deloitte & Touche, L.L.P., 27 F.Supp.2d 1324, 1339 (N.D.Ga.1998); Malin v. IVAX Corp., 17 F.Supp.2d 1345, 1357 (S.D.Fla.1998).
The Reform Act, or more specifically 15 U.S.C. § 78u-4(b)(2), governing the requisite scienter in actions filed pursuant to § 10(b) and Rule 10b-5, makes no express mention of the motive and opportunity test developed in the Second Circuit, and certainly does not expressly codify it. Instead, § 78u-4(b)(2) requires that a plaintiff "state with particularity facts giving rise to a strong inference that the defendant acted with the required state of mind."
We interpret this language to mean that a plaintiff must plead with particularity facts which give rise to a strong inference that the defendant acted in a severely reckless fashion—"the required state of mind" in our Circuit for many years. See McDonald, 863 F.2d at 814 (collecting cases permitting allegations of recklessness to suffice for securities fraud liability). While allegations of motive and opportunity may be relevant to a showing of severe recklessness, we hold that such allegations,
We agree with the rationale of Judge Thrash in rejecting the motive and opportunity test:
Carley Capital Group, 27 F.Supp.2d at 1339. Thus, because the clear purpose of the Reform Act was to curb abusive securities litigation, and because we believe that the motive and opportunity analysis is inconsistent with that purpose, we decline to adopt it.
Moreover, unlike the well-established and uniformly recognized precedent holding that recklessness was an actionable state of mind under Rule 10b-5, the motive and opportunity analysis was not well-established throughout the circuits at the time that the Reform Act was passed. Indeed, our research indicates that the motive and opportunity test has never been utilized by our Circuit in the Rule 10b-5 context. Our research shows that only the Second and Ninth Circuits employed the motive and opportunity analysis before the passage of the Reform Act. See, e.g., In re Wells Fargo Sec. Litig., 12 F.3d 922, 931 (9th Cir.1993); In re Time Warner Inc. Sec. Litig., 9 F.3d 259, 270 (2d Cir.1993). Moreover, even within the Second Circuit, the wellspring of the analysis, the status of the motive and opportunity test was somewhat uncertain, having been applied in a seemingly inconsistent fashion. Compare Time Warner, 9 F.3d at 259, with Shields, 25 F.3d at 1128. Thus, at the time the Reform Act was enacted, the motive and opportunity analysis was certainly not so well-established that it was codified sub silentio. While we are persuaded that the Reform Act, by referring to the "required state of mind," meant to codify recklessness as an actionable level of scienter, as recklessness was then uniformly recognized to be by the circuits, we conclude that it did not intend to codify the lesser-known, lesser-accepted, and certainly not well-established notion that allegations of motive and opportunity to commit fraud are sufficient to show scienter. Accordingly,
We conclude that in the Eleventh Circuit, a securities fraud plaintiff must plead scienter with particular facts that give rise to a strong inference that the defendant acted in a severely reckless manner. We reject Plaintiffs' invitation to adopt the Second Circuit's motive and opportunity analysis; we hold that a showing of mere motive and opportunity is insufficient to plead scienter. We also hold that in ruling on the propriety of such a 12(b)(6) dismissal, a court may take judicial notice of relevant, publicly-filed SEC documents for the purpose of determining what statements those documents contained.
Having thus set out the law, both as to the pleading of scienter under the Reform Act in this Circuit, and as to the judicial notice of SEC documents at the motion to dismiss stage, we remand the case to the district court for proceedings consistent with this opinion.
VACATED AND REMANDED.
COOK, Senior District Judge, concurring in part and dissenting in part:
I concur with the majority's holding that, pursuant to the judicial notice provision in Fed.R.Evid. 201, company disclosure documents publicly filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) may be considered on a Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. I also concur with the majority on the fundamental issue presented by this appeal, namely that allegations of recklessness continue to meet the scienter requirement under Section 10(b)
However, I dissent on the last issue the majority addresses because I would not reach the question of whether motive and recklessness satisfies the scienter factor since I believe our recklessness holding is sufficient to dispose of this appeal.
Exhibit Description K Statements of Changes in Beneficial Ownership, Form 4s, dated September 1, 1995, and March 7, 1996 L Apple South's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ending June 30, 1996 M Apple South's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ending March 31, 1996 N Apple South's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ending July 2, 1995 O Apple South's Quarterly Report on form 10-Q for the quarter ending October 1, 1995 P Letter to Apple South's Shareholders dated October 19, 1995, and Notice of Special Meeting of Shareholders to be held November 17, 1995 Q Apple South's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ending December 31, 1995 R Apple South's Prospectus Supplement dated May 23, 1996
Bryant, 25 F.Supp.2d at 1375.
Thus, statements in the nature of economic forecasts, such as those listed above, are considered "forward-looking" and may garner the protection of the statutory safe harbor, 15 U.S.C. § 78u-5(c): 1) if they are identified as forward-looking statements and are accompanied by the appropriate cautionary language, see 15 U.S.C. § 78u-5(c)(1)(A)(i); 2) if such statements are immaterial, see 15 U.S.C. § 78u-5(c)(1)(A)(ii); or 3) if the plaintiff fails to prove that the statements were made with actual knowledge of their falsity. See 15 U.S.C. § 78u-5(c)(1)(B).
The "bespeaks caution" doctrine, the safe harbor's judicially created counterpart, operates similarly, protecting statements in the nature of projections that are accompanied by meaningful cautionary statements and specific warnings of the risks involved, so as to "bespeak caution" to investors that actual results may differ, thereby shielding the statements from § 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 liability. See Saltzberg v. TM Sterling/Austin Assoc., 45 F.3d 399 (11th Cir.1995)(per curiam)(holding that explicit cautionary language in private placement memorandum rendered alleged misstatements immaterial and made them not actionable under "bespeaks caution" doctrine).
In other words, presenting matters outside the pleadings converts the Rule 12(b)(6) motion into a motion for summary judgment.
Id. at 814 (quoting Broad v. Rockwell International Corp., 642 F.2d at 961-62 (5th Cir. 1981)(en banc) (citation omitted)).
The form of recklessness recognized in the well-established case law at the time of passage of the Reform Act was a "stringent formulation of the term `recklessness' that does not allow for recklessness as a form of negligence." Comshare, 183 F.3d at 550. As noted above, this Circuit had recognized "severe recklessness" as an actionable state of mind. See note 18, supra. The "severe recklessness" recognized by our Circuit, like the actionable level of scienter in most other circuits, was based on the Seventh Circuit's formulation of recklessness in Sundstrand Corp. v. Sun Chem. Corp., 553 F.2d 1033, 1044 (7th Cir.1977)(holding that recklessness amounted to "an extreme departure from the standards of ordinary care . . . present[ing] a danger of misleading buyers or sellers that is either known to the defendant or is so obvious that the actor must have been aware of it").
To the extent that the effort in Silicon Graphics is an attempt to import into the law a new and uncertain super-recklessness, see 183 F.3d at 550("deliberate or conscious recklessness"; "degree of recklessness that strongly suggests actual intent"), we believe that the attempt is inconsistent with the plain statutory language. Further, we doubt that the attempt would be worth the additional uncertainty that would be introduced.