A securities class action lawsuit enables a single or limited group of investors, to file claims against an entity on behalf of all of similarly injured investors. In addition, a consumer class action combines claims of several similarly injured consumers into a single legal action against an entity. In either case, the claims may be pursued in a court of law or in a securities regulator. The class actions and regulatory filings are often intertwined, so it’s necessary to understand them both.
The underlying premise of the securities class action lawsuit is that a corporate or entity has engaged in fraudulent and negligent behavior that has injured or harmed many of its shareholders, partners, employees, and/or customers. The shareholders include individual citizens as well as business entities. The injured parties include creditors, employees, and/or customers. Thus, each claim involves multiple entities and multiple injuries.
Common plaintiffs in these lawsuits are corporations, unincorporated partnerships, limited liability companies, partnerships, joint ventures, and government institutions. If a defendant is found to have engaged in fraud or a negligent act in violation of federal securities laws, then that entity can be held personally liable for the damages. However, in order for this to occur, a defendant must be able to prove that there was a breach of warranty or a misrepresentation of material facts, which required that they knew or should have known that their conduct was dangerous or that their conduct was likely to cause injury or damage. The defendant also needs to show that they had a personal liability to the plaintiff in violation of the securities laws.
In addition to providing the basis for securities class actions lawsuits, they provide the framework for resolving disputes regarding alleged violations of the securities laws. Therefore, if one case proceeds to trial, there is generally a number of issues to be resolved at that time. One of those issues involves determining what legal rights the plaintiff has to bring a securities class action lawsuit. Another issue will be whether the defendant has been properly served with the complaint in the state court.
Most securities attorneys favor allowing their clients to file a securities class action lawsuit in state court because plaintiffs will have more success in that venue. Moreover, plaintiffs are not likely to be harmed by filing their lawsuit in state court if the defendant fails to answer or ignore the complaint. However, there are some securities class action lawsuit plaintiffs who prefer to file their lawsuits in federal court because they believe that federal courts are less harsh than state courts. Moreover, many securities attorneys do not feel comfortable proceeding with state court cases unless they have first used the services of a glancy prongay litigator.
When a complaint has been filed in state court, the defendant is not necessarily given notice of the lawsuit. A securities class action lawsuit can only be filed within a certain period of time after the date on which the complaint was filed. This date is referred to as the “class period.” The date of the class period begins at the point of the lawsuit is filed and extends until the date that the plaintiff receives his/her payment from the defendant’s insurance claim.